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Redwood Forest Foundation
Dedicates Majestic Old Redwoods
to Honor Founders

June, 2013

On June 12, 2013, the Redwood Forest Foundation (RFFI) dedicated five majestic old redwood tree and bestowed its highest honor, that of Founder, on four organizations and two individuals.

Founders Grove

Kathy Moxon, RFFI President, presided over the dedication that honored The Conservation Fund, the Wildlife Conservation Board, Save the Redwoods League, State Coastal Conservancy, and Donald S. Kemp, PhD. and Edgar B. Kemp, Jr.

RFFI reserves the term 'Founder' and the dedication of these old growth redwood trees to those very few individuals and organizations that have played an absolutely crucial and fundamental role in helping the foundation to achieve its important mission of acquiring and conserving California's redwood forests. The dedication took place in Founder's Grove, near the old town of Kenny deep in Usal Redwood Forest. A small group of RFFI supporters including representatives of the Bank of America and Campbell Timberland Management were present.

Founders Dedication Honorees

Save the Redwoods League
• Harry Pollack, Chief Operating Officer

The Conservation Fund
• Chris Kelly, California Program Director

Wildlife Conservation Board
• John P. Donnelly, Executive Director

State Coastal Conservancy
• Sam Schuchat, Executive Officer

Donald S. Kemp, Ph.D. & Edgar B. Kemp, Jr.

Two individuals and four organizations were recognized for their enlightened leadership, extraordinary financial support and long-term professional guidance in helping to fulfill RFFI's mission. Their vision, diligence, and willingness to address complex and sometimes adverse situations demonstrated their deep and abiding interest in the ultimate well-being of the residents of this region and of California as a whole. They collaborated to complete a complex regional conservation transaction valued at $25.5 million that conserved a landscape that covers an area one-and-a half times the size of the city of San Francisco.

Tall redwood in Founders Grove These two transactions served to create the largest working forest easement in California and assure that the 50,000 acre Usal forest will remain, in perpetuity, a working forest for the economic and environmental benefit of our communities. In addition, almost 1,000 acres of Usal Forest's remote coastline and forest were permanently preserved, including 11 acres of old-growth redwoods, and 946 acres of coastal beaches and outlooks, assuring public access and opening up a gateway to thousands of acres of coastal lands, trails and beaches.

President Moxon welcomed the supporters and explained that only two individuals had ever been honored by RFFI as Founders prior to this event.

One is Henry H. Gundling, one of RFFI's original founders. Henry literally founded RFFI with a group of concerned residents in 1997. His unique blend of experience as an investment banker and Senior VP at Paine Webber, as well as, his service as the President of the Napa Land Trust along with serving on a number of timber and forestry related advisory committees in Mendocino county, prepared him to fill the visionary and practical leadership role he assumed.

The other Founder is Henry's good, good friend and professional colleague,
Giles Mead. The late Giles Mead was a respected ichthyologist and curator of the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, who came to know and respect Henry's work in Napa Valley, where they both lived. Mead saw the wisdom of RFFI's approach and provided Henry with $100,000 in unsolicited support- anticipating the needs the organization would confront in order to carry-out its mission. The Mead Foundation continues to provide financial support for RFFI operations to this day.

Tom Tuchmann, RFFI's Acting Executive Director,
made the presentations
State Coastal Conservancy and Save the Redwoods League

RFFI acknowledged the fine work of the State Coastal Conservancy and the Save the Redwoods League who worked in concert to complete a 5.5 million dollar landmark transaction that will benefit California and its residents in perpetuity.

The State Coastal Conservancy provided $3,000,000 of Proposition 84 bond funds to the Save the Redwoods League to acquire in fee the almost 1,000 acre Shady Dell Creek portion of the Usal Forest. While supportive of the overall Usal Forest Conservation Project, the Conservancy focused on the Shady Dell parcel, as it protects 11-acres of old-growth redwoods in the Enchanted Forest, and provides the opportunity to extend public access through the forest and along the coast south of Usal Beach. This transaction compliments another Conservancy project that previously helped conserve the Intertribal Sinkyone Wilderness, which is adjacent to Shady Dell Creek. After the Shady Dell acquisition, the Conservancy provided additional funding to the League to undertake necessary planning and permitting required for approximately 1.5 miles of new coastal trail, and they look forward to the time when this beautiful property will be opened to the public.

Harry Pollack, Save the Redwoods League
Harry Pollack, Save the Redwoods League
The Save the Redwoods League is the present owner of the 957-acre "Shady Dell" Parcel. For more than three years, the SRL staff worked cooperatively with RFFI and the other three agencies honored here today to bring this complex transaction to a close. They raised $2,500,000 in addition to obtaining the bond funding from the State Coastal Conservancy, allowing them to complete the $5.5 million dollar transaction that saves the "Enchanted Forest with its unique Candelabra old-growth Redwoods and opens up 1.5 miles of coastal trail that serves as a gateway to 1,000 of acres of wilderness lands. Save the Redwoods is now working to open the entire 1,000 acres to the public and to improve Coho salmon habitat.

RFFI was pleased to honor the Conservancy and Sam Schuchat, their Executive Officer, and to thank him and his staff, especially Karyn Gear, for the concerted effort they all put forth to complete this transaction successfully for the benefit of the residents of California. In conjunction, RFFI acknowledged Save the Redwoods and their Chief Operating Officer Harry Pollack and his staff for helping to create this benefit for Californians and all who will visit the spectacular Lost Coast area.

Wildlife Conservation Board and The Conservation Fund

RFFI paid tribute to the enormous ecological, economic and social benefits that California's Wildlife Conservation Board and The Conservation Fund have brought about by helping to conserve a large landscape, as is the case with the Usal Redwood Forest.

The Wildlife Conservation Board under the enlightened and diligent leadership of its Executive Director, John P. Donnelly, successfully undertook the lengthy process of evaluating the ultimate value of the Usal Redwood Forest to the residents of California. The complex and sometimes contested application process moved forward during the most difficult financial period that California has experienced in our lifetime. Mr. Donnelly and the WCB Board and staff, including the able Terri Muzik, kept a steady hand on the keel as they guided the process to a successful conclusion.

John Donnelly, Wildlife Conservation Board, with Tom Tuchmann, RFFI
John Donnelly, Wildlife Conservation Board,
with Tom Tuchmann, RFFI

Chris Kelly, California Program Director, of The Conservation Fund, provided skilled leadership and guidance to all of the parties of this transaction from its outset in 2007. The Conservation Fund served as the applicant for the 19.5 million dollar bond request that was eventually used to pay for the conservation easement. The Fund also raised an additional $500,000 to help complete the transaction. The Conservation Fund's founding purpose is to secure sustainable environmental and economic benefits for local communities. The Fund partnered with RFFI's pioneering efforts to establish locally owned working forests that resulted in the permanent protection this forest. Chris Kelly's unflagging support and steady pursuit of this goal helped us secure the largest working forest conservation easement in California.

Chris Kelly, The Conservation Fund, with Tom Tuchmann, RFFI
Chris Kelly, The Conservation Fund,
with Tom Tuchmann, RFFI

Chris Kelly and John Donnelly, accompanied by his young son, were present to accept the awards. Kelly remarked "I have long been inspired by RFFI's vision and steadfast commitment to conserving forests and for all that they provide for the natural and human communities on the North Coast. It was a privilege to be part of the team that secured the permanent protection of the Usal Forest and we are humbled by the honor that RFFI has bestowed on us today." John Donnelly expressed his gratitude for the honor and pointed out that this transaction carries out the express intent of the Wildlife Conservation Board's mission "to join with other conservation groups, government partners and the citizens of California to help protect, restore and enhance California's spectacular natural resources for wildlife, and public use and enjoyment."

Donald S. Kemp, PhD and Edgar B. Kemp, Jr.

RFFI acknowledged the impact that Don Kemp and his late father Edgar B. Kemp, Jr. have had on the region's forests and residents. Don has been involved with RFFI, in one capacity or another, for more than eleven years. His experience as an industrial engineer, PhD. economist, Department Head at NYU and Wall Street investment banker has prepared him to provide invaluable services to RFFI.

Don Kemp & Tom Tuchmann
Don Kemp & Tom Tuchmann
Don truly epitomizes the role of "Founder." He served on the Board for more than 8 years including stints as President and Vice-president. Don also worked as RFFI's Executive Director in 2003. Don played a crucial role in the original purchase of the property in 2007 and in guiding the process which resulted in the sale of the Shady Dell parcel to Save the Redwoods and the sale of the conservation easement in 2011. Don's astute financing acumen, vision and passion for redwood forests equipped him to guide RFFI through its formative years and during this complex transaction. Don now serves RFFI on the advisory Committee.

A Founder's Tree was dedicated to Don and to his father, Edgar Burton Kemp, Jr., because of the enduring impact that the elder Kemp had in influencing Don's commitment to the environment and to forests, in particular. Edgar, who was born in New Orleans, was a humble, hard-working man who possessed a highly evolved sense of spirituality and personal integrity, with a quiet commitment to the world around him. On Arbor Day In 1974, Edgar Kemp called his children. Edgar told Don that he would be sending Don a tree to plant in his yard-with the understanding that Don, and his siblings, would plant a new tree every time they moved. As we can see around us, Don took this gift and admonition to heart. This small act of a quiet, meek man continues to impact all of us, 40 years later, as this 50,000 acre forest has been conserved for the benefit of all.

Don Kemp accepted the award on behalf of himself and his father. Don Kemp addressed the supporters reminding all of the significant roles that many individuals played in this transaction. He thanked the Board, the Bank of America and Campbell Timberland Management and the other honorees for their support. He expressed his gratitude and admiration for the leaders of the four organizations that were being honored. Dr. Kemp was joined at the ceremony by his wife Francoise and members of their family.

Thank you and Farewell

Kathy Moxon closed out the day. "RFFI's Board and Advisory Committee members would like to thank you all for traveling deep into this redwood forest to celebrate the accomplishments of these honorees and this tribute to their enduring contribution to the ecology, economy and life of the regional community and all Californians.

RFFI Board & staff at Founders Grove
RFFI Board & staff and Campbell staff at Founders Grove

We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the contribution that all of you have made to helping RFFI achieve these significant milestones. Your support has taken many forms, writing letters, attending meetings, educating the public and providing financial resources. We are fortunate to have with us today, representatives of the Bank of America whose enlightened financial policies made this unprecedented environmental transaction possible. The Bank of America made the original loan for the purchase of the property and has worked closely with us in the ongoing management of the forest and restructuring of the original loan.

As you know, the easement conserves this important landscape and to assure it will be managed intact and in a sustainable manner in perpetuity. Beyond that and of significance, this transaction was part of the original plan for meeting the financing obligations associated with the original purchase. While we celebrate today, we also are continuing the planning and are asking for your support that will be necessary, if we are to manage this forest in a sustainable manner that allows RFFI to meet its financial obligations. We look forward to continuing our partnership with all of you in the important work we are all doing to benefit the residents of California."

Usal Redwood Forest
Usal Redwood Forest

Redwood Bark

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