Two weeks ago, on the evening of Sept. 8, the Southern Humboldt community exceeded Sanctuary Forest’s wildest expectations. Hundreds of people arrived at the Beginnings Octagon to celebrate Sanctuary Forest’s 25th anniversary.
People came from outside the watershed as well - from the Bay Area, from all around the county, and from the far reaches of California. There were all kinds of supporters.
People in their eighth decade of life - who remember a time when the Mattole ran silver with salmon runs in the fall. There were people who lived here 25 years ago when Sanctuary was born, who remember the logging wars and fought for protection of the ancient trees.
There were young parents - a new generation of Humboldtians who are eager and passionate about restoring the creeks, rivers and forests where their children play and grow. There were teenagers who - although not totally in their element - could not resist the beats of the generation-spanning music of Vidagua and Ishi Dube.
And there were children and babies - sleeping in Dad’s arms, dancing with Mom, or staring up in wonder at the sparkling fish dangling from the ceiling. There was an incredible feeling of magic that night - the outpouring of community love and joy was infectious, and everyone was high on the vibes.
In the weeks leading up the event our wonderful community was just as supportive and full of joyful energy. When I began to list every business and individual that helped Sanctuary Forest with our 25th anniversary celebration, I was quickly overwhelmed by the magnitude, and realized in waves of gratitude what an amazing place I was born into.
What an honor to live and work with such wonderful people -to ask for help and have it given gladly and willingly. Everywhere I turned, people were jumping to lighten my load, to assist in making the magic that the event became.
The day after the event I went down to the Mattole River with some friends - it seemed fitting to visit the inspiration behind it all. Soon the Sanctuary Forest executive director, Tasha McKee (having had the same idea), joined us.
The river flowed by slowly and steadily. It was icy cold - eliciting shrill shrieks from all of us - but it flowed, and countless fish swam in the frigid depths. I had vivid memories of a summer not too long ago, when in that very spot, it was stagnant and much too warm.
The waterfall was dry. The channels were empty. The creeks feeding the river were gravel bars. Pumps stood in empty or near-empty pools. What a joy to see such a healthy river in September - largely due to a community that grows more water conscious by the day. After seeing the level of consciousness and support in this community on Sept. 8, the Sanctuary family has been filled anew with hope and determination.
Everyone at Sanctuary Forest would like to express our deepest gratitude for the show of support at our 25th anniversary celebration. It was an enormous success, and we couldn’t have done it without the enormous amount of help we received.
Silent auction donations by: Benbow Historic Inn, Aurora Park Cottages, Lost Coast Inn, Cove Restaurant, Kathy Orcutt, Heather Sharlack, Lela McKee Friel, Will Bell, Holly Sweet, Redwoods Monastery, Nansea Russ and Pat Goodman, Alta Dena, Melissa McNamara, Judy Evenson, Val McKee, Cheryl Lisin and Steve Walters, Margriet Seinen, Emily Zwald Permenter, Eve Broughton, Gayna Uransky, Erin Gienger, Jesse Gray, Roy Baker O.D., and Janice Parakilas, Peter Stern, Lisa Cyrek, Garden of Beadin’, Brian Ormond, Island Tribe, Lucas Costello, Wyckoff’s, Bombshells Beauty Bar, Culler Cellars, Whitethorn Winery, Briceland Vineyards, Violet Green Winery and Kent Rasmussen Winery.
Alcohol donations by: Lagunitas Brewing Company, Redwood Curtain Brewing Company, Elk Prairie Vineyards, Frog Alley Cellars, Handley Cellars, Violet Green Winery, Culler Cellars, Kent Rasmussen Winery, Whitethorn Winery, and Briceland Vineyards.
For fear of forgetting even one person, I am not going to name all the amazing women who volunteered their time to make the spectacular decorations and the beautiful scrolls that were distributed. But if you were there then you know they went above and beyond.
Thank you Tanner Speas for designing our poster, and Patty McGuire for being instrumental in organizing the bar. Thank you to all those who volunteered at the event, and made it such a fun party. And to our local radio station and newspapers for assisting us with weeks of outreach.
Thank you to Nancy Miyamoto for the most amazing, delicious Asian fusion meal I have ever tasted. People are still talking about it. You were instrumental to the success of the event in many ways.
And finally, thank you to Sita Formosa and Marylou Scavarda, who were there every step of the way, picking up all the loose ends and soothing frayed nerves. Thank you for your endless ideas and enthusiasm, for your solid support and hours upon hours of unpaid work to make sure the event was flawless and every vision was realized.
People from far and wide and in every age group attended the Sanctuary Forest anniversary celebration at Beginnings in Briceland.