Over the past two weeks, we've shared some phenomenal conservation news from Sacred Earth Foundation. We're so grateful that SEF had the capacity and good fortune to bring the North Woods and the far side of Rainbow Springs into permanent protection this year. ~And we truly couldn't have done so without your support.~
Acquiring the land is just the beginning. Now we take responsibility for it, for the long haul.
We are committed to listening to the land. Learning from it. Mitigating the impacts of our species. Doing what we can to support it in a time of climate change and big fires. Celebrating and cherishing it. And allowing it to inspire many human hearts along the way. ~Possibly yours, definitely many kids', and the ripples travel far!~
This commitment requires so much hands-on labor, to physically steward the land. It requires knowledge, of the science and climate modelling and observations that help us determine what actions to take. It requires time, to watch and listen, research and network, tend and stay for long enough to know anything and see a project through. ~More of what we're doing below, but we'll get straight to the point.~
None of this would be possible without your support.
Would you join us in stewardship of this land? (And THANKS to those who have already made year-end gifts!)
Stewardship at Sacred Earth Foundation is a very hands-on activity. We believe in doing things by hand, and that our sweat is a blessing for us and for the land. ~And that "we" is a big community of kids, families, volunteers, staff, and YOU!~
We water the native plants establishing along the driveway.
We pull knapweed from the big field, preventing it from taking over the valley.
We remove fences to liberate trees and restore wildlife passage.
We patrol patches of medusahead grass to prevent its spread.
We seed graves and other disturbances with native grasses and forbs.
And we put a huge amount of labor into fire-wise forestry, to improve the health of the forest, help it adapt to climate change, and protect against catastrophic fires.
Since 2007, in partnership with the Department of Natural Resources, ~and the hands-on help of so many of you!~we've completed 180 acres of fuels reduction forestry, with another 20 acres currently in process.
With a careful eye and light touch, we remove the smaller crowded trees, prune the lower branches, and reduce the flammable understory - essentially replicating the effects of a low-intensity fire, which this dryland forest used to see every 10-30 years. We prioritize oak trees, which will be more resilient to climate change than the pines.
We've been at it long enough to see some results. The project we completed in 2007 is a healthy forest of large trees. Across the road, off SEF land, trees are crowded and visibly struggling. Our forester affirms that SEF has less pine beetle activity than most of the region. And the difference is just palpable. ~Can YOU tell the difference when you drive to the ranch?~
In the future, we'd like to reintroduce fire to the landscape, in a careful, deliberate way. We want to learn more about restoration of open meadows and blufffs. We'd like to improve the health of the ponds and waterway of Ekone Creek, that seasonally feeds Rock Creek. There's so much more to learn about the native animals and plants of this land, and how to protect and support them.
Your investment in Sacred Earth Foundation will pay dividends for generations to come, as a healthy, intact ecosystem, a learning landscape, and a place for human transformation.