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News: How I Spent My Summer – Saving The Redwoods


September 26, 2019

The GCA and STRL Educate the Next Generation

The Garden Club of America and Save the Redwoods League has a long history of collaboration and support. In 1931, the GCA first forged a working relationship with STRL to purchase and permanently protect the 2,552-acre Garden Club of America Grove. Since then, both organizations have been actively engaged in not only protecting the environment, but also growing the next generation of environmentalists, botanists, and horticultural scientists. 

The Garden Club of America accomplishes this through 28 merit-based scholarships and fellowships. Since 1928, The GCA has proudly funded nearly 1400 recipients. In 2019, $377,500 was awarded to 73 scholars. Save the Redwoods League takes a like-minded approach by engaging and supporting students through the employment of Redwoods Rising apprentices as part of their programs. 


Redwoods Rising

Redwoods Rising is a collaborative program established in 2018 to restore Redwood National and State Parks. Together with the National Park Service and California State Parks, STRL embarked on an unprecedented effort to accelerate the pace of recovery in the formerly logged areas to protect the remaining old-growth groves. Redwoods Rising will restore the natural redwood dominance of the forest and vastly improve habitat. 

Summer Vacation

In collaboration with Humboldt State University, 18 students were hired as:

  • Forestry Apprentices—preparing previously harvested stands for restoration thinning. 

  • Rare Plants Apprentices—identifying, geolocating, and flagging off populations of rare plants. 

  • Exotics Management Apprentices—geolocating populations of exotic plant species and removing small infestations.

  • Wildlife Apprentices—assisting park staff with surveys of animals considered endangered or otherwise threatened. 

  • Watershed Rehabilitation Apprentices—reading the landscape with the help of historic aerial photos to identify legacy road features left on the previously logged landscape.

  • Hydrology Apprentices—classifying streams to help guide streamside protections for restoration thinning.

The program engages student apprentices who are working specifically on protecting the parks from the influence of exotic plant species and also protecting rare plant communities. These are goals shared and supported by the GCA Partners for Plants program and the GCA and STRL supported Botany Bill.

With common goals “to restore, improve, and protect the quality of the environment through educational programs and action in the fields of conservation and civic improvement,” the current work of the STRL, particularly the Redwoods Rising program, is well aligned with the purpose of the GCA. Members of the GCA have donated over $1.8 million to protect old-growth redwoods; in 2018, 40 GCA clubs supported the work of the STRL with contributions. The hands-on experience and educational programs and action available for these student apprentices as part of the Redwoods Rising program is a good example of how GCA support is at work.

Above: Two panoramic photos comparing forest conditions between old growth (top) and an adjacent second growth (bottom) in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. The high stem density in the second growth makes it difficult for light to reach the forest floor, and the lush understory visible in the old growth is absent. Photo by Andrew Slack, Save the Redwoods League.

Top: Apprentices and field leaders on a tour of the Greater Mill Creek project area. The tour is part of the apprentices orientation. Photo by Ryan Thompson.


In Other News...

The State of Ohio Designates April as “Ohio Native Plant Month”
GCA club member Nancy Linz coordinated this state-wide support.
September 24, 2019

The Philadelphia Committee of The Garden Club of America
Improving the Quality of Life in the City of Philadelphia for Fifty-Five Years
September 16, 2019

GCA Horticulture Shows
Novices and Accomplished Botanists Welcome
September 18, 2019


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