Celebrating Independence and Honoring Interdependence

Photographer: A.P. Hill, Sempervirens Fund

We need nature and we need each other.

This past Saturday we celebrated our country’s independence from the tyranny of a far-away British monarch. We at Sempervirens Fund are also taking a moment to reflect on our country’s interdependence. That is, the essential connections linking all Americans to one another and to our natural world. We need nature and we need each other.

Sempervirens Fund was founded more than a century ago in response to an explosive growth in logging that was devastating the once-vast redwood forests that blanketed our Pacific Coast.

Our founders recognized that the extreme levels of timber exploitation threatened to break the link between people and nature in ways that would be harmful to people, as well as the plants and animals that depend on redwood forests.

Our organization’s response was to purchase redwood forest land to preserve the nature within for the benefit of people, plants, and animals. That approach remains our organizational strength, and it is expressed first and foremost in our mission: to protect and preserve redwood forests in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

We believe that this work remains essential for nature to thrive, for our climate to be resilient, and for the people who live in the communities of this region to benefit from clean air and water, and resplendent wilderness to explore nearby. When nature thrives, people thrive.

Our work, historically and to this day, has included the creation of state parks and other places where people can experience the wonders and inspiration that can be found in healthy, vibrant redwood forests. This is also expressed in our mission: to encourage public appreciation and enjoyment of this environment.

Recently, we expressed our organization’s solidarity with the pursuit of racial justice in America. You can read our statement here. We believe our interdependence on each other and on nature means that our state parks, and all public land, should be safe, welcoming, and rewarding to explore, for everyone. This vision has not yet been fully realized.

For Sempervirens Fund, fostering this interdependence means having more diverse representation within the Sempervirens Fund family and working to ensure equitable access to nature for all. It also means listening to, lifting up, and amplifying the voices and stories of people of color in our community who are stewards of the land, champions for conservation, and explorers of nature.

We would like to hear from you. Please share with us your stories and diverse perspectives of experiences in nature that reflect both the troubles and triumphs in that pursuit, and the efforts to improve access to nature that are inspiring you in this time.

July 6, 2020

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