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Ferns in Redwood Forest, photo credit: Greg Jirak  

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Redwood Forest Foundation

Outstanding Volunteer 2014:
Lillian Frazier

Lillian Frazier was among the first community members to tour the Usal Redwood Forest, shortly after the 2007 purchase. Among the topics on this tour was vegetation management - the need to eradicate competing tanoak. Lillian explained that native peoples do not see tanoak as a problem; they consider it a food source. She suggested that they would love to have access to Usal to continue the practices of their ancestral heritage such as harvesting tanoak acorns and other traditional forest products.

Lillian and Louis on an early planning tour in Usal Redwood Forest in 2009
Lillian and Louis on an early planning tour in Usal Redwood Forest in 2009.

From this suggestion, along with many years of planning and hard work, the Chinquapin Springs Acorn Grove was born. Today the eight-acre grove is committed exclusively for the use of acorn-gathering and other tribal endeavors. Lillian and the Cahto tribe have taken a leadership role in the complex organizational, administrative and legal arrangements that are necessary to facilitating access and forest use by visitors.

Lillian Frazier and Tabi Bolton examine the quality of the meat in the tanoak acorns
Lillian Frazier and Tabi Bolton examine the quality of the meat in the tanoak acorns.

Lillian is a leader of the Cahtos. She seized this opportunity to educate RFFI and worked hard for seven years to insure that this aspect of her Native American heritage would be preserved and made available to others. Her leadership and persistence have helped to bring the grove into existence. In the process a commitment to the following values and practices has been embraced:

  • Include all California Tribes.
  • Teach how to cook with acorns.
  • Focus on all cultural uses, e.g., reed and medicinal plants, in addition to acorn gathering.
  • Use the grove as a catalyst to bring tribal people together.
  • Teach youth about traditional tribal ways.
  • Teach cross-cultural respect for the land.
  • Continue ceremonial use of the land.
  • Influence how the Usal Redwood Forest is managed.

Lillian also devoted a good deal of time and played an influential role in planning for possible recreational and other cultural uses of Usal Redwood Forest. She devoted many hours working with scientists and local folks in the planning for Koostcho - a prospective Native American and Nature Study Center that would be located at the McCoy Creek site.
 

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