Magazine article American Forests

From the Field

Magazine article American Forests

From the Field

Article excerpt

Shawn Berriman, Account Executive

SAN BERNADINO, CALIF.

IT'S 6:00 AM ON A SATURDAY and while I'm not sitting anywhere that I'd expect Billy Joel's "regular crowd" to shuffle in to, I'm enjoying the opportunity to down several cups of strong coffee before I hit the road.

I've flown all the way from the East Coast to sunny San Bernardino, Calif., to take part in this year's Mountain Communities Wildfire ReLeaf restoration project located in Cedar Glen in the nearby mountains. Due to an unexpected flight snafu a few days earlier, I'm running on very little sleep as I try to prepare myself for the fun day of planting ahead. And it is just that - lots of fun. And it's also very important.

The area of the San Bernardino Mountains that we're restoring has been hit with a number of devastating wildfires over the years. While typically we would expect nature to help out by regenerating portions of the forest from its seed bank, these fires have burned so hot that without some assistance, the only thing that will be growing here is weeds.

It's a very nervous drive up the long and winding mountain road to get to the planting site. I think I'll be OK, but if anyone expects me to go any faster on a tight curve with a 5,000 foot drop on the other side, they are sorely mis- taken. Sorry, experienced locals, there are no mountains for me to practice on in D.C.!

I arrive safely and am pleased to meet the regular tree planters that show up year after year to help make a meaningful difference. Cheryl Nagy, the local project coordinator, has been running this program diligently for the past 10 years. With her are Chief Glenn Barley & Captain Debbie Chapman of Cal Fire and volunteers from the Tzu Chi Foundation and Southern California Edison.

Helping out for the 10th anniversary of this project are some of American Forests' corporate partners - Jambu, an adventure shoe company with a passionate following, and Amour Vert, a high-end fashion clothing company with an environmental focus.

Jambu has sent several of its staff to help plant some of the 50,000 trees they are supporting during 2014. Yetzalee Cubero, their marketing director, is dedicated to helping preserve the great outdoors for future generations. The company uses 100 percent recycled, recyclable and re-usable packaging and their shoe outsoles are made from partially recycled and re-usable compressed rubber. As Yetzalee would say, "Jambu is great for the sole/soul."

As the day draws to a close, I'm impressed at just how many people have chosen to dedicate their weekend to giving back to nature. …

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