College Football Team Helps with Largest So. Calif. Volunteer Effort to Restore Public Lands

College Football Team Helps with Largest So. Calif. Volunteer Effort to Restore Public Lands
Univ. of Redlands Athletes Plant in Fire Ravaged San Bernardino Nat’l Forest

Redlands, CA - Twenty-five football players from the University of Redlands joined Forest Aid – a partnership of the U.S. Forest Service, the San Bernardino National Forest Association (SBNFA) and L.A.-based TreePeople. During a three day period that included Earth Day on April 22, University of Redlands athletes worked on conditioning and team building while planting 1,870 seedlings in fire damaged areas of the national forest. The athletes trekked over rough terrain and carried trees and tools to areas that were inaccessible to nonathletic volunteers.

“We strive to do meaningful work with our community service projects. To do work that’s needed,” said University of Redlands head coach Mike Maynard. It’s become a tradition for the Bulldogs to take on a community service project during a week-long break between the spring semester and the school’s May Term. For two years, the team travelled to New Orleans to muck-out homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. “If you’re able to help, you’re obliged to help,” coach Maynard continued. “This year, we brought our team to the fire-stricken mountains in our own backyard, which helped the Forest Service and assisted the Bulldogs with team building and conditioning,” he said.

Forest Aid – from ashes to action – is a volunteer-led effort following the aftermath of the 2003 and 2007 tragic Southern California wildfires where 185,000 acres burned in the San Bernardino National Forest. Forest Aid intends to plant 20,000 seedlings in the 2009 planting season extending from March 7 – May 9, 2009. More than 12,000 Ponderosa and Jeffrey pine seedlings have already been planted by volunteers. According to U.S. Forest Service officials, this is the largest volunteer restoration effort on national forest lands in Southern California.

“TreePeople and Forest Aid wish to express our thanks to the University of Redlands football players who’ve stepped forward to provide the muscle to help make reforestation a reality,” said Jim Summers TreePeople’s Reforestation Initiative Director. “Their contribution will leave a living legacy that will provide habitat, reduce erosion, help clean the air and restore the forest’s beauty.”

The United States Forest Service, The San Bernardino National Forest Association and TreePeople have partnered to plant 20,000 seedlings and native plants in 2009 to help restore the San Bernardino National Forest. This partnership is based on a simple belief: That a single person planting a single tree can help revitalize fire-damaged areas, curb global warming, clean the air, capture rainwater and build a sense of community. Working with local land management agencies, nonprofit organizations, volunteers and the business community, Forest Aid’s mission is to replant and revitalize the mountains of Southern California.

Major funding for this initiative is provided by The Walt Disney Company and The Boeing Company.

Contact: Laurie Kaufman, (818) 623-4851,
# # #