Save the Redwoods League Names Redwoods Educator of the Year

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Michele Luna, Stewards Inspire SF Bay Area Children to Grow into Stewardship

Michele Luna, Redwoods Educator of the Year 2012

Save the Redwoods League has been consistently impressed by Stewards’ commitment to redwood education and its support of the local state parks it partners with, said Emily Burns, Science Director for Save the Redwoods League.

Save the Redwoods League today announces the recipient of its Redwoods Educator of the Year award: Michele Luna, Executive Director of the Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods. Stewards partners with California State Parks in the Russian River District to promote conservation through education and stewardship.

The award recognizes Stewards’ redwood education program, which was selected from among 38 recipients of 2010 League Education Program grants. Stewards, a League education partner since 2004, received a $500 prize to enhance its current redwood education program. Thanks to League members, League grants have helped Stewards serve more than 15,000 people.

Each year, Stewards recruits and trains docents, who lead about 1,500 students from the San Francisco Bay Area through Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. The docents teach students about the trees, other plants, animals and local history. Stewards facilitates the visits of 5,000 students annually, enabling schools to sign up through the organization for a waiver of fees to enter the park. Many of these youths have never seen a redwood forest before, even though they live nearby.

The League’s 2010 grant of $3,000 also supported expansion of Stewards’ activity-based Redwood Ecology Program at local schools. In that program, all first-, second- and third-graders visit Armstrong up to five times during the year. They meet park staff members and learn about animals in the redwood forest. For instance, they visit a pond to learn about the life cycle of frogs. To learn about the water cycle, they learn a song. Developing skits is the final activity to reinforce the lessons.

“Save the Redwoods League has been consistently impressed by Stewards’ commitment to redwood education and its support of the local state parks it partners with,” said Emily Burns, Science Director for Save the Redwoods League. “We congratulate Michele and the Stewards’ team on this award and thank her for her efforts to teach people of all ages about the redwood forest and inspire them to protect these amazing places.”

Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods plays a vital role in the education and resource programs at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, Austin Creek State Recreation Area and Sonoma Coast State Park, said Linda Rath, Superintendent of California State Parks’ Russian River Sector. “Under the leadership Michele Luna, Stewards manages the many volunteer programs at these parks,” she said. “These programs enable us to educate thousands of visitors and students each year, restore and protect natural and cultural resources and develop stewards of our parks today and for the future. California State Parks is very grateful to have such wonderful and dedicated partners as Michele Luna and Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods.”

Luna said she is grateful for the honor. “Our success is certainly in part due to the annual support we receive from the League,” Luna said. “We thank League members for their support to help us nurture the spirits of so many through our programs. Love for places in nature like the redwood forest often begins in childhood, and it’s this fondness that will save these places in the future.

Since 2000, Save the Redwoods League has awarded more than 300 grants totaling more than $1 million to schools, park associations, and environmental educational organizations across California. The League’s education program has reached more than 445,000 people. Please visit for 2012 application information.

About Save the Redwoods League
Since 1918, Save the Redwoods League has protected and restored redwood forests and connected people with their peace and beauty so these wonders of the natural world flourish. Unfortunately, some ancient redwoods remain unprotected, and forests that are protected face threats from a changing environment, disease and devastating government budget cuts. Donations help us save these special places, allowing us to purchase redwood land, restore logged forests, research how to best protect them and teach children and adults about these magical expressions of life. To date the League has completed the purchase of more than 189,000 acres of redwood forest and associated land. For more information, please visit, or to receive monthly email updates, sign up at


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