Women’s Forest Sanctuary

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Women’s Forest Sanctuary

Stewards of The Sacred Grove. Photo by WFS

In 2018, The Women’s Forest Sanctuary realized the complete debt retirement for the purchase of The Sacred Grove; a 14-acre redwood grove on the Mattole River. In March, current board members held an event to honor and appreciate the founders, as well as the long-time supporters of the grove’s protection.

We celebrated their contributions and commitment over the past 25 years that enabled the preservation of the grove—including our recent Indiegogo fundraising campaign. We expressed gratitude for our incomparably alive and evolving relationship with The Sacred Grove and our interconnection and strength as community. In July we collaborated with Youth Spirit Artworks in Berkeley for our Annual Youth Nature Program. This year youth leaders participated in planning and facilitating the program. The youth named and drew a meaningful experience in nature. Elias Gutierrez, youth poet, wrote about his drawing,

“Life is but a wave, exhausted are your efforts if you go against the flow. Stars, galaxies, trees, animals, Earth. All components of nature. Life…in which it all fits.”

Youth also engaged in a day-long experience at Redwood Regional Park in Oakland and commented that:

“I relaxed in the peaceful setting of the Life redwoods. When I sat alone with a tree, I had a heart-to-heart with myself. I had fun connecting with other youth, we became closer and stronger.”

The youth valued relaxing and reflecting within the quiet of the forest, and expressed the desire to return. During our Annual Pilgrimage to The Sacred Grove in July, we gathered with long time local supporters and expressed our appreciation for their care for the land; including the creation of a barrier at the entrance to the grove to deter access for ATV’s. Our pilgrimage included asking the forest for guidance on how to live life. Messages we received included:

“If we live our lives for the good of all, life becomes more fulfilling because we see the interconnectedness of all. Learning to tend to myself, with Stewards of The Sacred Grove, tenderness and not judgment will help me tend to the world. Sharing my suffering liberates.”

In 2018, our activism included support for the Sanctuary Forest Van Arken Community Forest Project and for saving trees in the East Bay. The Women’s Forest Sanctuary remains passionate about continuing to steward The Sacred Grove and to engage in forest preservation.

We are grateful to Trees Foundation’s Cereus Fund for financially supporting our own as well as other organizations’ efforts to preserve the ecological integrity of the California North Coast.

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