Give Back Tahoe: Sugar Pine Foundation restores Sierra forests | SierraSun.com

Give Back Tahoe: Sugar Pine Foundation restores Sierra forests

Special to the Sun

Volunteers from Tahoe Expedition Academy plant sugar pine seedlings at Waddle Ranch.

The Sugar Pine Foundation was founded in 2004 with a simple mission to restore sugar pines and other white pines into Tahoe's forests.

These majestic white pines used to comprise over 25% of our local forests and now make up less the 5%. Logging, fire suppression and the introduction of the non-native fungal pathogen white pine blister rust have dramatically reduced the presence of white pines within our forests and natural regeneration cannot keep up.

The Sugar Pine Foundation identifies healthy rust resistant sugar pines, harvests their cones and plants their progeny to reinvigorate our forests and provide much needed genetic variation.

But, our restoration work would not have been successful without the involvement of our community volunteers. Over the years we have worked to create partnerships within Tahoe's communities to engage volunteers young and old in our reforestation efforts.

Tahoe's environment is uniquely tied to our community and our economy. The Sugar Pine Foundation believes that involving volunteers in our mission will increase awareness of the plight of our native forests, bring them closer to nature and allow them to develop a deeper sense of place and community that can benefit our future.

We are proud that in the last 10 years we have planted over 91,000 sugar pines and other native trees, engaged over 6,000 volunteers and planted on nearly 1,650 acres in California and Nevada.

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To get involved, visit the Sugar Pine Foundation website at ugarpinefoundation.org, subscribe to the monthly newsletter and check out the calendar of events. You can also follow the Sugar Pine Foundation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.