By Gabe Meline
A west Sonoma County nonprofit group is seeking volunteers to help plant redwood trees in four separate locations throughout the West County area. Forest Unlimited, a 501c3 based in Cazadero, is planning two planting days, Friday–Saturday, Jan. 9–10. Volunteers are encouraged to attend, regardless of their planting skills, and even if they can only help for half the day.
Approximately 1,500 two-year-old bare-root redwood seedlings will be planted over the course of both days for reforestation and erosion control. The sites for planting include Sunset Beach Regional Park, Steelhead Beach Regional Park, Shone Farm and St. Dorothy's Rest. On each day, volunteers will meet at 9am, with a break for lunch, and with work ending around 4:30pm. At least two-dozen volunteers are needed.
Forest Unlimited Board president Larry Hanson says that volunteers require no special skills, although navigating steep terrain is a plus. "We had a great turnout last year," Hanson says, "and it's a wonderful thing to do for the New Year. It's some very beautiful property, and there's usually a nice little mist in the morning."
The Jan. 9 planting will focus on St. Dorothy's Rest, an Episcopal retreat center and camp of the Diocese of California located near Camp Meeker. Jan. 10 will see planting at the county parks and at Shone Farm, the agricultural educational facility of the Santa Rosa Junior College. Lunch is provided to volunteers, with vegetarian options available.
The redwood seedlings, about 18 inches high, come from the California Department of Forestry and are easy to plant. All locations are protected by either an easement or land trust, so "after we spend all this time and effort to plant trees," Hanson says, "we can be sure they're going to be around for a while." To volunteer, call project manager Carl Wahl at 707.874.9268.
Volunteers are also needed for the annual gala benefit for a nonprofit that serves the mental health needs of Sonoma County. Moon Over Mardi Gras raises funds for Family Service Agency, which provides low-cost mental health services to families and individuals. The Family Service Agency has been in existence since 1966.
Moon Over Mardi Gras features live music and both a live and silent auction. Young volunteers are needed to help set up and serve food. It takes place March 28 at the Friedman Center in Santa Rosa. To volunteer, call Shan Magnuson at 707.545.4551, ext. 211.
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