Happy winter solstice! As the snow falls on the shortest day of the year and the beginning of winter, let’s not forget about the forest and the trees.
The Sierra Nevada Alliance Forestry Program just wrapped up the year as Brian Pope Kettja Bennett and Luis Vidal graduate from the program. The three graduates along with two other fellows, Jacob Potter and Kelsey Glastetter helped raise over $9 million in grant funding, monitored over 2,000 acres of forests, engaged with hundreds of stakeholder groups, have plans to restore over 55,000 acres of forestland and much more. It’s incredible what a group of highly dedicated and technically proficient forest professionals can do to help the Sierra.
Future work of the Alliance Forestry program is focused on tackling California’s goal to address the four big environmental challenges: extreme heat, drought, catastrophic wildfire and rising sea levels. While there isn’t much we can do about sea level rise in the Sierra, we’re laser focused on addressing the other three. Each of these issues not only impact us here in the Sierra, but all over California.
We advocate for smart forest policy, actively steward healthy watersheds and collaborate on projects that build healthy forests. By working with our partners including the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Cal-Fire and the National Forest Service, the Alliance contributes by lessening the impact of these major environmental challenges.
Not only are healthy forests are essential for a thriving ecosystem but people depend on the Sierra for water and recreation. Those who live in major California metropolitan areas like the Bay Area, San Jos and Los Angeles depend on the Sierra for these resources. California’s central valley depends on Sierra watersheds to feed the state’s food crops. Native tribes and rural communities not only depend on the water, but also healthy forests that have less potential to catch fire and impact their livelihood.
The Alliance is committed to building healthy forests in the Sierra Nevada – forests that lessen drought and extreme heat. These forests are also a place for family to play, learn, explore and build lasting memories. Let’s not forget their economic impact – a place for working people to earn livable wages and contribute positively to society. We’re committed to the trees and people, snow and water, and all humans, plants and animals that critically depend on the Sierra.
As we say farewell to Brian, Kettja and Luis, it is with gratitude we wish them the best of luck on their next adventure. We are confident that we helped paved the way for them to continue to protect and preserve Mother Nature now and for future generations.
Photo Credit: Nam Ing Photography