TENDING THE WILD
As modern humans living at the crest of ecological destruction, it is easy to forget our legacy as Earth healers. Before the conquest of North America, humans were actually ecosystem engineers, taking deliberate action as stewards that made the land more diverse and abundant. This class is about remembering that our hands evolved in the soil, with rootlets and mycelium under our fingernails.
Regeneration of natural communities–which goes far beyond sustainability–is our call to action.
We will nurture blue oak saplings (Quercus douglasii) at the gathering. This extraordinary native tree has the power to survive severe droughts, with its UV protective bluish leaves which are dropped if necessary to lessen moisture requirements. The blue oak provides medicine, dyes, construction and basketry materials, and highly desirable acorns for food. She is cherished by many Sierra Nevada cultures.
To offset the absence of fire, we will bring biochar, a pure crystalline charcoal made from chipped wood. We will offer this to the soil around the Grandmother Oaks, Madrones, and Pines, which will hold water around the root system and provide some added protection against drought. The biochar will enliven the soil with bacterial and fungal activity, and thereby create fertility for the trees and plants. In these moist beds, we will leave endangered wildflower seeds imbued with our prayers for resilience.
With our tangible efforts on the ground, and with our united voices, we call for a culture of Earth defense. We will leave Lake Concow with seedlings sprouting in our footprints.