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2010 RFFI Annual Meeting

July 2010

The Redwood Forest Foundation (RFFI) held its Annual Meeting and Barbecue on July 24, 2010 in Branscomb, CA. President Kathy Moxon welcomed the more than eighty people who attended. After introductions, the official business meeting was held and Heidi Knott Gundling, a long-time RFFI Advisory Committee member, was elected to the RFFI Board. The RFFI Officers were elected as follows: Kathy Moxon - President; Donald S. Kemp - Vice President; John Rogers - Secretary and Candace Skarlatos - Treasurer.

Don Kemp presenting an award to Sharon Edell
Don Kemp presenting an award
to Sharon Edell

Vice-President Don Kemp honored RFFI volunteers. Don thanked the more than 90 volunteers who were involved in transporting, distributing and planting the thousands of trees that RFFI rescued last winter. He also thanked the many other volunteers who have provided RFFI with invaluable service.

Three individuals were singled out for special recognition as "RFFI Volunteer of the Year:" Sharon Edell, who has served on the Advisory Committee since 2004 and is the editor of the RFFI bi-annual newsletter; Heidi Knott Gundling, who has served on the Advisory Committee for close to ten years and has produced films on RFFI's work and serves as Assistant Editor of the RFFI Newsletter, and Edward Duarde who has conducted two art-related fundraising campaigns for RFFI and has created numerous graphic designs for RFFI brochures, website and fliers.

Don Kemp presenting an award to Heidi Knott Gundling
Don Kemp presenting an award
to Heidi Knott Gundling

Don Kemp presenting an award to Edward Duarde
Don Kemp presenting an award
to Edward Duarde

RFFI Board Members, staff and two guests provided updates about RFFI's many efforts in and around the Usal Redwood Forest. Chris Kelly, California Program Director of The Conservation Fund, presented an update on the Fund's progress in securing state and federal funding to purchase a conservation easement over the Usal Forest. He applauded RFFI's success in securing strong local government support for the project and said he was optimistic that significant funding commitments will be made this year.

Chris Kelly presentation at 2010 RFFI annual meeting
Chris Kelly presentation at 2010 RFFI annual meeting

Art Harwood described the current upslope and aquatic restoration projects RFFI has underway with their contractor, Campbell Timberland management. In addition to its restoration work on the Usal Redwood Forest, RFFI is, through Redwood Futures, partnering with other timber companies and restoration groups to coordinate a region wide restoration plan. This plan is designed to attract the resources to do the restoration work necessary to rebuild our natural capital and re-establish a future vibrant resource-based economy in the Redwood Region.

Sharon and Dean Edell
Sharon and Dean Edell
Lin Morgan Barrett described the community outreach and planning that involved over 300 community members and professional advisors culminating in two major grant requests to State Parks for Prop 84 Parks and Nature Education Facility funds. Both grants for $5,000,000 and $7,000,000, respectively, propose using mainly the McCoy Creek tract, west of Highway 101 and south of Piercy, for public recreation and a Native American and Nature Study Center. The Nature Study Center grant has many exciting technological components that would be designed and installed by consultants from UC Berkeley and the National Center for Earth Surface Dynamics.

John Rogers brought those present up-to-date with RFFI's outreach to community members on issues surrounding hardwood management. Recent field trips with local foresters and fuels reduction experts resulted in recommendations for non-herbicide tanoak treatments to maintain and extend the Yokahama Fuel Break in the Usal Forest. Proposed treatment sites will be marked and the broader community invited to comment on these alternative hardwood management techniques later on this summer.

Steve Smith described the work and eventual impact of developing an "Option A plan" for Usal Redwood Forest. An Option A is a sustained yield plan which balances timber cut with timber growth. Through it, we declare a management regime before we can even put in a harvest plan. It addresses major concerns including wildlife, fish, owls, cumulative impacts in watersheds and how to harvest timber to meet financial requirements without impacting wildlife and watersheds. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification is what RFFI wants to do as a minimum management prescription. We knew we'd acquire land that had issues, so we want to be very transparent with how we address them. FSC comes in as third party to evaluate how RFFI is dealing with the 3 E's (economic sustainability, environmental sustainability, providing for social equity). Pre-scoping has been done for the management company, advisory board and board members.

Pete Mattson and Chris Kelly
Pete Mattson and Chris Kelly
Richard Gienger explained that the Stewardship Plan must embody the highest ideals of RFFI's principles for a community-based forest and forestry. "The daunting challenge that we face is to make this Stewardship Plan actually work in a real way for the benefit of the related communities, and that models of respectful relationships with the forest realm are established that will endure for generations."

Kathy Moxon spoke briefly about RFFI's role in the developing the Redwood Futures initiative. Redwood Futures is envisioned as an actionable plan that brings players throughout the redwood bioregion together to address work at the intersection of economy, environment and communities. The Redwood Futures leadership team has requested that RFFI take a leadership role in moving the Redwood Futures initiative forward. This work entails staff working collaboratively with others on planning, fundraising, regional outreach and forest and stream restoration. This work dovetails with RFFI's mission as it takes RFFI's work to a regional scale.

Pete Mattson encouraged folks to support RFFI financially, pointing out that RFFI is an extremely lean operation that is bringing tremendous benefit to the region's environment and economy, having injected more than $4,000,000 into the local economy in the past two years.

"Remember - RFFI needs your financial support. We get no funds from our Usal Forest operation. Our $68 Million purchase was 100% funded though the generosity of the Bank of America . . . HELP!"

Pete and Patty Mattson teamed up with anonymous donors to issue a challenge to RFFI supporters. The Mattson team has pledged $10,000 in support of RFFI's operation if RFFI can raise a matching $10,000 in donations. In other words, if RFFI can raise $10,000 by November 1, 2010 from supporters like you, the generous donors will match it for a total $20,000 gain for RFFI.

Assemblymember Wes Chesbro with Kendall Smith and Richard Gienger
Assemblymember Wes Chesbro with
Kendall Smith and Richard Gienger

Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro made a guest appearance to express his respect and support for RFFI'S work. He described bills that he is sponsoring to improve forest conservation. For example, he stated that AB 2575 is somewhat modest, but is similar to what RFFI is doing in promoting the use of 'patient' and flexible financing to create a financial structure that allows for implementation of sustainable harvest practices. AB 2575 focuses on pilot projects that will be used to monitor and make decisions about cumulative impacts. Big companies are beginning to support more regulations. He closed with, "Keep up the good work, and I love what you're doing!"

At 12:30 p.m. the formal meeting adjourned to presentation tables where graphics and fliers provided a colorful portrayal of RFFI's work in the forest and in the community. RFFI supporters then enjoyed a delicious salmon and tri-tip barbecue with beverages donated by Parducci Winery.

Board of Directors and Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro at 2010 RFFI annual meeting
Board of Directors and Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro at 2010 RFFI annual meeting
L to R: Greg Giusti, Kathy Moxon, Pete Mattson, Steve Smith, John Rogers, Kendall Smith, Assemblymember Wes Chesbro, Richard Gienger, Heidi Knott Gundling
Not pictured: Don Kemp, Candace Skarlatos, Joe Euphrat.

Board of Directors (partial) at 2010 RFFI annual meeting
Board of Directors (partial) at 2010 RFFI annual meeting
L to R: Don Kemp, Pete Mattson, Kendall Smith, Richard Gienger,
Kathy Moxon, John Rogers, Heidi Knott Gundling

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