Redwood Parks Conservancy (RPC) is a non-profit cooperating association established to foster understanding, enjoyment, and stewar
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Check out our past newsletters attached below
Executive Director, Joanna Di Tommaso
A message from Redwood Parks Conservancy’s new Executive Director
Hello Dear Friends, Members, and Donors,
It’s a beautiful day on California’s far north coast. The weather is warming up after a long and wet rainy season. Birds are chirping, wildflowers are blooming, and families have been passing through our parks during their spring and summer breaks. It seems like the perfect time to share with you that RPC has undergone a major transition. As of January, I have stepped in as the new Executive Director of Redwood Parks Conservancy. Although this message is meant to be an introduction, you may not know that we’ve actually met before.
In my previous position, I served as the Development Director for RPC. I led our outreach and fundraising efforts, which means that you’ve likely received several emails, newsletters, and letters from me in the past. I’ve been working hard to keep in touch with you over the last three years. You and I have worked together to raise funds for important park projects, like the restoration of the Grove of Titans and the prevention of illegal burl poaching. We share a passion for our redwood coast and the public lands that we’re so lucky to explore and enjoy. That passion shines through in everything we've accomplished together.
Over the last few months, you may have noticed that we've been sharing fewer updates than normal. That's because our Development Director position was temporarily vacant. I'm excited to announce that our new Development Director, David Reed, has officially joined us.
Thank you for your continued support as we begin this exciting new chapter together.
Joanna Di Tommaso
RPC Financed Equipment Aids in Burl Poaching Arrest
The Result of Illegal Poaching
Over the last eight years, RPC has made every effort to help the law enforcement team at Redwood National and State Parks prevent illegal redwood burl poaching. In 2016, RPC was awarded a $5000 grant from the Pacific Power Foundation to support surveillance operations within the parks. The equipment purchased has been used in cases of vandalism, discovering illegal dump sites, and has even captured wildlife encounters unseen by the average visitor. In May 2018, law enforcement officers were able to use surveillance footage to aid in an investigation that ultimately led to an arrest in a burl poaching case.
The arrest brought attention from national and international media and was viewed as a huge accomplishment in protecting our natural resources. Due to the success of these efforts, the RPC Board of Directors is awarding an additional $10,000 to the National Park Service for surveillance equipment that will support successes like this in the future. Thanks to your support, we can continue to be a strong force against vandalism in our ancient redwood forests.
Critter Corner: The North American Beaver
National Park Service Photo / Emily Mesner
Shelby Chambers, RPC Staff
Hidden in the creeks and waterways of Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP) lives one of nature’s most essential handymen, the North American Beaver. Equipped with a paddle-shaped tail, webbed back feet, and a second, transparent eyelid for seeing underwater, this semi-aquatic rodent provides shelter and safety to its young while benefiting the surrounding ecosystem. Typically, North American beavers are drawn to the sound of moving water, and will begin building a dam out of the surrounding debris. Sticks, twigs, and mud are used to break up the natural flow of the waterway, providing the ideal habitat for beavers. The pooling of water in these areas helps reduce soil erosion, flooding, and increases biodiversity. While beaver dams are a common way for them to make their mark, most beavers in RNSP stay undercover.
The work done by North America’s largest rodent can impressive, to say the least. The largest beaver dam recorded is more than double the length of the Hoover Dam and can be seen from space. But beavers can also be more discreet with their work, and often keep to themselves in areas they will rarely be seen. While you may not see many dams along the waterways of RNSP, beaver’s front claws and strong front teeth allow them to burrow up into river banks, below the waterline, creating what is known as a “bank lodge.” Often, they create a community of beavers below the bank and move between lodges as they continue to build.
Coming to RPC bookstores: Eager – The Surprising, Secret life of Beavers and Why They Matter by Ben Goldfarb
“After reading this book the world will look different to you. You will see the handiwork of these rodents everywhere. Along the way you will meet a whole cast of ‘beaver believers’ whose stories will inspire you to help make the world a better place for beaver kind. When it comes to nature writing, this is the best of the best. Read it!”
Book review by our friend and member, Gordon Bonser
As you may have heard, RPC has joined California State Parks and Save the Redwoods League in a collaborative effort to restore and protect one of the parks most breathtaking stands of old growth redwoods, known famously as the Grove of Titans. Located deep within Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, the grove was officially discovered and named by forest researchers in 1998. After the GPS coordinates were posted online years later, curious travelers made their way to the grove in search of the colossal trees. Since then, the increased off-trail foot traffic has had severe impacts on the health of the diverse ecosystem living within the Grove of Titans.
When we announced our fundraising campaign for the Grove of Titans in November of 2018, RPC shared that we were attempting to raise $25,000 that would be matched dollar-for-dollar by Save the Redwoods League. Not only did we meet our $25,000 matching challenge from the League, but we raised another $13,000 with an additional match from a generous member of our board of directors. That’s a total of $63,000 dedicated to the Grove of Titans from our end-of-year fundraising. We could not have done this without you. THANK YOU for being a part of the redwood legacy.
To make a special donation to RPC’s Grove of Titans fund visit: www.groveoftitans.org
Meet Our New Development Director
Redwood Parks Conservancy is happy to welcome our new development director, David Reed. David started in May and is getting to know the people and places that make up RPC and our partner organizations.
David grew up on the redwood trails, river banks and beaches of the north coast in Humboldt county. He lives with his wife Cori, and two young daughters, Dani and Katie, just a mile from Fort Humboldt State Park, one of RPC’s partner parks.
David brings more than 20 years of experience working with donors to the Conservancy. Previous to working with RPC, he was the development director for the public radio station KHSU.
He enjoys camping on the Smith River and in the redwoods with his family, taking his daughters on many of the same hikes he went on with his parents and grandparents.
To reach David, email him at [email protected] or call 707-445-6547 xt 16.
Your support of Redwood Parks Conservancy helped fund vital projects at Patrick’s Point State Park. In 2019, the RPC Board approved a $42,000 grant to California State Parks to fund a Park Interpretive Specialist and two Yurok Cultural Interpreters. Without RPC funding these educational and cultural programs would not have been possible.
Day in the Life of a Park Interpretive Specialist at Patricks Point
by Marnin Robbins, California Department of Parks and Recreation, Chief of Interpretation NCRD
With funding from RPC, Patricks Point State Park was able to rehire long-time State Park interpreter Nancy Jo Martin. She provides a vital service to the many hundreds of school children who visit the park in the spring and fall, as well as thousands of visitors from across the country and world who visit over the summer. Here’s an inside peek into her life as a front-line field interpreter:
At the beginning of the year, new programs must be researched and written and new visual aids must be created. Old programs must be upgraded and improved and visual aids must be repaired or replaced.
During most of the school year, (from mid-February until mid-June, and mid-August until the end of October) a variety of educational programs are offered to students, grades K-12. School programs include tours of Sumeg Village, dentalium necklace crafting, exploration of tide pools, forest walks, whale watching, and discovering the local geology. Students have an opportunity to learn about the past and present cultural practices of Yurok people, and the abundant environment they call home.
During summer months, campground programs are presented on a wide range of subjects. On any given day, visitors are treated to evening campfire programs, Jr. Rangers, plant walks, Sumeg Village tours, tidepool exploration, and forest hikes.
Regardless of the audience or type of program, Nancy Jo makes sure that visitors leave Patrick’s Point with a new appreciation for the incredible resources — natural and cultural — that make this small park such a gem.
Nancy Jo Martin, State Park Interpreter - Photo submitted
New Yurok Cultural Interpreters Coming Soon to Patrick’s Point
Two new Yurok cultural interpreters are joining Patrick’s Point this summer thanks, in part, to RPC funding. These interpreters will have a special focus on Sumeg Village and will bring with them a background in, and knowledge of, the cultural practices, history and language of Yurok peoples and tribes throughout northern California. This will be a great opportunity to deepen the park’s commitment to interpreting Sumeg Village through the voices of the people who have called this place home for thousands of years. Expect to see these new interpreters at Sumeg Village by mid-summer.
Sumeg Village - Photo Steve Simmons, RPC Staff
About Patrick’s Point State Park
Patrick’s Point State Park, sits about 30 miles north of Eureka and just south of Redwood National and State Parks. The park is a mix of tree and meadow covered headlands, beaches, tidepools and campgrounds.
Patrick’s Point is home to Sumeg Village, a traditional Yurok village built by an all-Yurok crew in 1990. It consists of three typical redwood plank family houses, a sweathouse and other structures. The village site is used for cultural and educational activities that preserve the heritage of several neighboring tribes: Yurok, Karuk, and Hoopa.
New Chief of Interpretation Hired Within North Coast Redwoods District (NCRD)
In April, NCRD hired its first ever Interpretation and Education Program Manager, Marnin Robbins. Marnin began working as an interpreter at Muir Woods National Monument in 1994. He has also worked as an interpreter with many agencies and non-profit organizations. He completed an MS in Natural Resources Planning and Interpretation from Humboldt State University in 2005. Post-graduation he worked for six years within the NCRD as a seasonal interpreter, Interpreter I, and Interpreter II, where he helped coordinate interpretation/education throughout the district.
In 2013, Marnin was hired by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to serve as statewide outreach coordinator for the California Network of Marine Protected Areas (www.wildlife.ca.gov/MPAs). With his return to the NCRD as Interpretation and Education Program Manager, his work as a “redwood interpreter” has come full circle. He is excited about the opportunity to work with RPC to help educate and inspire visitors to protect our shared resources for future generations.
Marnin Robbins - Photo submitted
2018 Candlelight Walk Illuminates Visitors
Candlelight Walk Trail
On any given day these coastal majesties steal the show, but have you ever thought about redwood trees shining at night? Visitors gathered to see for themselves at the 29th Annual Candlelight Walk, held two nights in December at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Each night, rangers led attendees on a trail through old-growth redwoods lit by over 400 luminaries to the campfire center for storytelling by North Coast Storytellers. The event featured live music, an auction and raffle and raised a record-breaking $18,000 for the parks and public lands RPC serves. Special thanks to the following individuals and donors for helping to make the 2018 Candlelight Walk possible:
6th Annual 5k Run/Walk in the Redwoods - Saturday, October 5, 10:00 a.m., Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
30th Annual Candlelight Walk - Friday, December 6, 5:00-8:00 pm/Saturday, December 7, 5:00-8:00 pm, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park