Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Good work: Planting trees and legacies
The older I get, the more clearly I see that the most valuable legacies are not monetary, but gifts of personal qualities that are best passed on by example. My late parents showed me how to lead a good life—Dad, who was my shining beacon of honor and integrity, and Mom, whose life spoke of giving, friendship, and the importance of the small, personal gesture.
This past weekend, I saw how a legacy could grow—literally. Deep inside Humboldt Redwoods State Park in the wilds of Northern California, a group of us gathered to help replant a forest. It wouldn’t have happened without the one man who was the sole link between our diverse group —the late Bill Lane, former co-owner and publisher of Sunset Magazine. Along with the Save the Redwoods League, Lane’s daughter Sharon, organized the event to memorialize her Dad in a beautiful and meaningful way.
It was a day he would have loved. The morning of the planting, we all gathered to pass around a tiny redwood seedling and say a few words about the man we had known. Bill Lane, publisher, was so much more: family man; former ambassador to Australia; defender of the environment and the West; donor to Yosemite National Park, Stanford University, state and national park foundations, and so many other causes. The words integrity, passion, generosity, and giant, were used often to describe Bill Lane. I could see then that the Lane Family’s legacies and lessons were here in this room, in every one of us and in all of those people whose lives were touched in a significant way. And they spread across the West, in trails blazed and parklands saved.
How better to honor this larger-than-life man than to plant a tree that may grow to become one of the tallest living things on the planet? And so out we went, in the teeth of a rather epic storm. By day’s end we had planted 125 redwoods and pulled out piles of invasive broom plants, helping to restore a former logging road.
Someday, giants will grow there.
Join Save the Redwoods League: since 1918, Save the Redwoods League has worked to save, restore, and protect ancient redwood forests and redwood ecosystems. Membership from $19; or have a redwood seedling planted in one of California's redwood parks in honor of an individual or organization or in memory of a loved one; a seedling will be planted for each $50 donation. Or dedicate a tree or grove to a loved one or group in exchange for contributions ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. For more information, contact Membership Department at (415) 820-5800 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit Humboldt Redwoods State Park: See awe-inspiring trees, fish for fighting steelhead in the waters of the wide Eel River, hike, bike, or camp in more than 250 camp sites. For current information about the park, call (707) 946-2263.