Giant Thoughts | The League Blog

This is a place for personal insights into our work by Save the Redwoods League leaders, President and CEO Sam Hodder, General Counsel Harry Pollack, Director of Science Emily Burns and Director of Outreach Jennifer Benito. Please join the conversation by posting your stories and comments.

Yosemite Valley – 1866. Photo by Carleton Watkins

The Power of Photography: Connection and Conservation

For almost a hundred years, Save the Redwoods League has been protecting and restoring redwood forests and enabling people to connect with their peace and beauty. Photographers and painters began connecting people to redwoods decades earlier, beginning with Carleton Watkins’ giant sequoia photographs from the 1850s. At the height of the Civil War, these photos […]

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Bird in hand and two in the bush

Several weeks ago, a wily Steller’s jay outsmarted me while I cooked breakfast under the redwoods in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.  I was about to sit down and eat my scrambled eggs, but decide to first fetch the boiling water off my camp stove to make tea. I turned my back for a second and then to […]

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A giant step for understanding redwood tree rings

Today, Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative scientist, Allyson Carroll, shares her perspective on how she decodes the history of redwoods from tree rings. Imagine finishing a massive puzzle, one involving nearly half a million pieces and taking years to complete… it feels good when that puzzle is done! For this puzzle, the “pieces” are tree rings and […]

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Giant sequoia forest photo by Tom Hilton, Flickr Creative Commons

The Pursuit of Happiness

“There is nothing so American as our parks. The scenery and wildlife are native. The fundamental idea behind the parks is native. It is, in brief, that the country belongs to the people…Parks stand as the outward symbol of this great human principle.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt It seems so natural to us now that […]

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A diagram of marine terraces. Shekk12, Wikipedia Creative Commons

Pygmy Forests Offer a Surprise

On a recent trip to visit some of the amazing redwood parks in Mendocino County, I happened upon a type of forest I had never seen before. A forest where pines, cypress and redwood trees are a mere fraction of the height they would be in a normal forest. Trees that could be hundreds of […]

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This redwood grove on a League-owned Napa County property will get protection from extra-intense wildfires.

Fierce Fires Pose Threats to Forests, Water

It’s fire season again. Last week, the local news reported on a 2,500-acre fire in Napa County, just east of the redwood range and Save the Redwoods League’s property near Bothe-Napa State Park. As I’ve mentioned before in previous blogs, decades of fire suppression have created conditions ripe for catastrophic fires. Our property is no […]

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Drought Distress

  I stumbled across a sea of sword fern that is showing signs of drought during my annual Fern Watch field campaign last month. Along the Damnation Creek Trail at Del Norte Redwoods State Park, the typically green carpet of sword fern was undeniably marked by dried, brown, crispy fern fronds. A typically wet temperature forest […]

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Betty and friends in the town of Weott, where Betty’s father Raymond lived and worked during his time with the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Betty’s Trip to the Redwoods in Photos

In my last blog I introduced you to Betty Thompson, a 66-year-old woman from Georgia with cerebral palsy, who was about to realize her lifelong dream of seeing the redwoods. In June, Betty and her friends embarked on a weeklong road trip from Los Angeles to Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Follow her journey north from […]

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10th Anniversary Climb

This week, I celebrated 10 years of coast redwood forest research and had the pleasure of climbing into an old redwood at the Grove of Old Trees in Sonoma County. This little-known forest is where I learned to climb in 2004 and where I still work today to track the response of sword fern to […]

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Redwood Grove in Heart of S.F. Gives Comfort, Hope

Decade after decade, generation after generation, people have visited the redwoods and found deeply meaningful experiences among the venerable trees. In 1917, when the soon-to-be founders of Save the Redwoods League first walked through a northern California redwood forest, they were inclined to remove their hats and speak in hushed voices. Redwood groves are often […]

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