World’s Fifth-Largest Tree Now Safe From Loggers in an 'Inspiring Outpouring of Generosity'
The world's largest privately-owned giant sequoia grove — home to the fifth largest tree on Earth — is now safe from development.
Alder Creek, a 530-acre property 200 miles from Los Angeles, was protected thanks to a successful fundraising campaign organized by conservation group Save the Redwoods League, the group announced in a press release Wednesday. The organization raised enough to purchase the $15.65 million property thanks to more than 8,500 donors from all 50 states and 30 countries.
"It really was an extraordinary and inspiring outpouring of generosity," the league's President and CEO Sam Hodder told The San Francisco Chronicle. "This is the best of what's left. This is a truly magical place, and it comes at a time when people needed some good news — something that protects the beauty of the world."
The sale was finalized in late December but announced on social media this week.
We did it! https://t.co/J42DqpVhZU— savetheredwoods (@savetheredwoods)1578500135.0
The property includes 483 giant sequoias that are six feet or more in diameter. One of them is the Stagg Tree, the fifth largest tree in the world. The tree is 34.7 feet in diameter and 3,000 years old.
The group has been negotiating to purchase the property for 20 years. But it earned more than half of the money used to purchase the grove since September, when it launched a fundraising campaign, The Los Angeles Times reported. The total amount is the most the league has raised from private donors for a single project in its history.
"It was incredible," Becky Bremser, the league's director of land protection, told The Los Angeles Times. "We are so thrilled. And so proud."
We do this thing when we close a big land protection deal — we ring a gong and celebrate. This one’s for Alder Cree… https://t.co/9hta7TqkVj— savetheredwoods (@savetheredwoods)1578530017.0
The protection of Alder Creek means that more than 98 percent of California's giant sequoias are now kept safe on either tribal, government or league-owned land, according to the press release.
But the property's conservation value extends beyond the iconic sequoias: It also includes mature red fir, white fir, ponderosa pine, sugar pine and meadow and wetland ecosystems.
The league purchased the land from the Rouch family, who had owned it since 1946, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.
The group plans to spend up to a decade thinning younger trees and shrubs to prevent wildfires and then sell the property to the U.S. Forest Service to incorporate into Giant Sequoia National Monument, Bay Nature reported. At that point, the public might have a chance to wander through the grove.
"I've been working in land conservation for 20 years," Bremser told Bay Nature. "I've gotten to see some pretty spectacular properties, but this one still moved me. You stand there in this space of massive, massive trees, and you're just like, 'What are your stories!'"
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By Kristen Fischer
It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.
Keeping Schools Safe<p>What will safer schools look like?</p><p>In a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766822" target="_blank">JAMA article</a> published last month, <a href="https://www.jhsph.edu/faculty/directory/profile/1781/joshua-m-sharfstein" target="_blank">Dr. Joshua Sharfstein</a>, a pediatrician and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, outlined suggestions — many of which are similar to AAP's.</p><p>Remote learning protocols must stay in place, especially as some schools stagger home and in-building learning. If another shutdown needs to occur, children will rely on distance learning completely, so it must be easy to switch to, he said.</p><p>He suggested giving parents a daily checklist to document their child's health. Kids should be screened quickly on arrival and be given hygiene supplies. Maintenance staff should use appropriate PPE and have regular cleaning schedules. A notification system should be in place if a case is identified, Sharfstein recommended.</p><p><a href="https://www.albany.edu/rockefeller/faculty/erika-martin" target="_blank">Erika Martin</a>, PhD, an associate professor of public administration and policy at University at Albany, said nutrition assistance and health services should be included. She called for tutoring programs with virtual options as well as technology access.</p>
Supporting Staff<p>Teachers and staff will be affected by safeguarding measures, noted <a href="https://directory.sph.umn.edu/bio/sph-a-z/rachel-widome" target="_blank">Rachel Widome</a>, PhD, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota.</p><p>"In order for all of the in-school precautions to work well, we'll be asking a lot of teachers and staff," Widome told Healthline. In addition to their usual workload, they'll now be asked to monitor mask-wearing, ensure children are keeping distance, and be aware of any symptoms.</p><p>Along with Sharfstein, Widome called for an increase in financial support. More employees will likely be required so teachers and staff members can keep up with the added demands.</p>
Should Kids Go Back?<p>While these guidelines may help get some schools to reopen, many people don't think children should go back to school over fears they could contract the disease and spread it to other vulnerable family members like grandparents, infant siblings, or their parents.</p><p>In a <a href="https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2020/07/08/peds.2020-004879" target="_blank">Pediatrics</a> commentary, <a href="https://www.md.com/doctor/william-raszka-md" target="_blank">Dr. William V. Raszka, Jr.</a>, an infectious disease specialist at The University of Vermont Medical Center, argued that schools should open because school-aged children are far less important drivers of COVID-19 than adults.</p><p>But he says the risk and benefit is not equal among all students ages 5 to 18.</p><p>"Elementary schools are arguably higher priority for face-to-face schooling, since younger children are at lower risk for infection and transmission, and since parental supervision of younger children's distance learning may be particularly challenging," added Sorensen, who penned a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/channels/health-forum/fullarticle/2767411" target="_blank">June article in JAMA</a> with reopening tips. "That means middle and high schools are more likely to emphasize distance learning."</p><p>Specific student populations, such as special education students and students with disabilities, would also benefit greatly from more time spent in face-to-face environments, Sorensen said.</p>
What Parents Can Do<p>Parents should ask for and receive frequent updates from schools about plans for the fall. They should also be informed about plans if and when COVID infections are identified, Sharfstein said.</p><p>"I'd like to see parents investing now, during the summer, in doing things that can slow and stop the spread of the virus in their communities," Widome said.</p><p>"Now is a good time for kids to practice wearing masks and get used to them as they may be wearing them for longer stretches if school starts up in person," Widome suggested.</p><p>She recommends parents try different mask designs and materials to see what children are more comfortable wearing.</p><p>"If you are using cloth face coverings, it's good to have extras on hand," Widome added.</p><p>Parents should model healthy behavior at home and while out in public — another thing that could affect how well children adapt to reopening practices, Sorensen said.</p><p>"Children may want to know more about face coverings," added <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/leescott/" target="_blank">Lee Scott</a>, chairwoman of the Educational Advisory Board at <a href="https://www.goddardschool.com/" target="_blank">The Goddard School</a>. "Dramatic play, such as creating or wearing a face covering, may help some children adjust to this concept." Schools can also show children photos of what faculty members look like in their masks so the students are familiar with that appearance.</p><p>Johns Hopkins University recently released its eSchool+ Initiative, a slew of resources surrounding education during the pandemic. These include a <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-checklist/" target="_blank">checklist for administrators</a>, report on <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/ethics-of-reopening/" target="_blank">ethical considerations</a>, and a tracker of <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-policy-tracker/" target="_blank">state and local reopening plans</a>.</p>
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<div id="fea63" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9a6f211c2bc5aedd34837944cb8eeedf"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1281000111481294849" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Water in Illinois is overwhelmingly public. Why is Tammy Duckworth sponsoring a bill that aims to change that? https://t.co/1V36Kkd99s</div> — The American Prospect (@The American Prospect)<a href="https://twitter.com/TheProspect/statuses/1281000111481294849">1594249201.0</a></blockquote></div>
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