By Dan Kirk
The following are some images of The Watershed Project staff expressing some love and appreciation to some of their favorite trees.
Kat Sawyer, Greening Urban Watersheds Manager
There is a special place I’ve gone to for many years. It backs up onto a public greenway where people walk dogs and fly model airplanes. This past year, I’ve overheard the sounds of a family with two young girls who climb an oak tree just over the fence.
I always smile when I hear them coming because the girls are so excited. They don’t have any awareness of us, but we know their names and chuckle listening to their adventures in the tree. It’s often late afternoon when the parents are hoping to tire the girls out for a good night’s sleep later. The older sister is bold and confident, claiming her space on the branches, and the younger sister is her happy companion. I hear the parents call out that they’ll have to go home in 5 minutes, but that usually happens a few times before we hear their voices trail off into the distance.
I’ve often thought about this experience from the tree’s perspective as it welcomes these young adventurous kids with its strong arms. I imagine it savoring this brief moment in time that they will spend together. In the 300-year lifespan of a coast live oak, this moment will be fleeting, but for the girls, the experience will be formative as they test their limits between earth and sky at dusk.
Maggie Chen, Education and Outreach Associate
The word February originally came from the Latin word februa, which means “to cleanse.” As the sun stays out longer and the grass grows taller in the Bay, I took a moment to mentally cleanse and appreciate nature in and around the TWP office. This coast live oak is the first tree I’ve hugged, and I would describe the experience as awkward at first but then really comforting at the end .Research suggests that being around nature and trees is good for our mental and social well-being, and after hugging a tree for the first time I can say that I agree. If you’re like me, and house plants give you more stress than relaxation, then these self-sufficient trees that thrive on their own felt like they deserved some love and attention in this month of appreciation.
Juliana Gonzolez, Executive Director
I was walking near the Russian River with my kids last summer, and we found this amazing Redwood specimen. Since then, it has become a tradition to go back and visit with gratitude and our outstretched arms.
Audrey Matusich, Lead Environmental Educator
I never miss a chance to hug a tree, especially a redwood tree. Redwood trees have always had a special place in my heart. Their size and lifespan amaze me, and walking through a grove of redwood trees always makes me feel like I have fallen into a fairytale.
Dan Kirk, Education and Communications Manager
This Sitka spruce lives on the south central coast of Oregon, and is older than all of its neighboring conifers because it was never logged by my grandfather. It’s not a true old growth tree, because our property was probably logged by the settlers who first came to Oregon, but we know it’s over 100 years old even still. A wise old spruce that has seen so much. That is my nephew hugging the tree, but I do the same.