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Today is Earth Day and we are supposed to be thinking about how we can give back to our planet. This week, I have been my mother’s +1 and today we were invited to an event hosted by POST.

POST is a marvelous organization whose mission is:” …to give permanent protection to the beauty, character and diversity of the San Francisco Peninsula and Santa Cruz Mountain range. POST encourages the use of these lands for natural resource protection, wildlife habitat, public recreation and agriculture for people here now and for future generations.”

Since their inception in 1977, they have protected more than 70,000 acres in California. They raise funds from private donors, match money with other conservation organizations and the public sector and then negotiate the purchase of critical open spaces.  When the land is protected in the trust, the environment is protected for future generations.

Redwood forests were abundant in the United States.  Now there is only a narrow band remaining from the Oregon border to Big Sur in California.  In the Santa Cruz Mountains there are some of the last unprotected groves of redwoods.  There are also some first growth trees and lots of second growth trees.

Recently, Post with the collaboration of the Sempervirens Fund, The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, The Nature Conservancy, Peninsula Open Space Trust, and Save the Redwoods League were able to purchase 8,532 acres of unprotected forest near the town of Davenport, Ca. If the sale could go through before the December 31, 2011, they could buy the land for $30,000,000. Escrow closed on December 16, 2011.

The reason that this acquisition is so important is because this provided 26,000 acres of protection to wildlife, ie. Coho Salmon, Steelhead and Red Legged frogs and plants such as old-growth redwoods.  The owners of the former CEMEX cement plant property were hoping to sell the land for development.  Thanks to this purchase, plants and animals not found anywhere else will be saved.

According to the Sempervirens Fund’s website; “The CEMEX acquisition project is the first major project to result from the Living Landscape Initiative… The goal of the Initiative is to protect 80,000 acres of land in and around Silicon Valley in the next 20 years.”

There is another reason why redwood trees are so important.  They naturally retain huge amounts of carbon dioxide.  Some studies are suggesting that California coast redwoods capture more carbon dioxide than any other tree on earth.   (picture is a white violet from the forest) 

Santa Cruz Mountains – California