The Sonoma County Gazette: Community News Magazine
Sonoma County Gazette
| more

Photo Gallery

Plant Redwood Seedlings in the New Year


Plant Redwood Seedlings in the New Year 

Nature lovers looking to kick off 2017 with a good deed might consider volunteering to plant redwood seedlings for Forest Unlimited’s annual reforestation project.

The Forestville-based nonprofit is dedicated to protecting and enhancing forests and watersheds in Sonoma County. In addition to acting as a watchdog for local logging operations, its members have been organizing tree plantings at select locations around Sonoma County for over 20 years.

This year, the group will plant seedlings Friday and Saturday, January 6th and 7th, at St. Dorothy’s Rest in Camp Meeker, a protected 580-acre retreat center originally intended for terminally ill children to spend time in a healing environment of a “magical” forest community. Most of the land that was acquired recently had been badly logged. The redwood planting will help reforest these areas.

“It’s really a community effort,” said Carl Wahl, a volunteer for Forest Unlimited who managed the project for over fifteen years.

Wahl said Forest Unlimited tries to choose areas that are protected from development and logging by conservation easements, so that volunteers aren’t planting trees that “could be cut down in 40 years”. They also look for places where the redwoods and oaks they plant will thrive.

“We can’t just plant pell-mell,” Wahl said. “We make sure the seedlings are planted in a location where they can basically survive unattended by humans.

Over the years, Forest Unlimited has organized plantings at private properties off Coleman Valley Road near Occidental, at Graton’s wastewater treatment plant, at SRJC’s Shone Farm near Forestville, St. Dorothy’s Rest in Camp Meeker, Wildwood in Guerneville, and in the hills of Cazadero.

In total, the group has installed more than 27,000 trees around the county.

Starting on Friday, they’ll be at St. Dorothy’s Rest in Camp Meeker again, to plant 1400 more redwood seedlings to improve the redwood forest community.

The organization needs about 50 volunteers each day to accomplish the task.

Over the past decade or so, about 20 students from a Santa Rosa Junior College environmental class have pitched in both days and this year should as well.

Volunteers will be busy from  about 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, one or both days, helping to dig holes for the 2-foot seedlings and tucking them into the dirt.

All supplies will be provided,  as will a free, warm meal catered by St. Dorothy’s Rest.

Cazadero resident Ricky Kellar has been volunteering with his family at the plantings  for about seven years. He and his daughter and son look forward to it each year.

They like the experience of planting trees, going about it the right way, feeling a sense of accomplishment,” he said. It’s also nice doing a good thing with a lot of people. There’s a nice community to it.”

To sign up or for more information, email Elaine Wellin, Reforestation Project Manager,