Reflecting on the Importance of Our Community

An open letter on the season of giving in 2020

by Sloane Shinn, Community Engagement Specialist

With chilly mornings and afternoon rain, it is officially autumn as we near the end of a tumultuous 2020. I am finding myself going into more contemplative practices. This includes some deep, much needed exhales while taking walks on our beloved county trails to enjoy the changing fall colors.

I have always been inspired by trees and their symbolism. Having been born and raised in Sonoma County, the strength, majesty, and longevity of our many and various oak trees often takes my breath away. I have to laugh at myself as it seems I can never take enough photos of these beautiful and expansive trees that surround our daily lives!

2020 has been an opportunity to expand our own limited perspectives, create new ways of connecting, and better understand how to care for all generations. We’re finding our balance: navigating how to live safely during this era of Covid19 and yet another intense fire season. We persevered through the challenges, the loss, and the need for a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive existence.

We can look to our beloved oak woodlands for an example of how to support one another. These places are filled with a diversity of life, each with a role in sustaining a balance that sustains the whole system. While Pepperwood’s mission is to inspire conservation through science, we are nothing without the life force of our community, you.

You’re our roots, grounding us, and our branches, reaching for the sun. As we enter the season of gratitude, let us be grateful for the power of community, near and far, in person or virtually.

Be safe and well,

Sloane Shinn
Community Engagement Specialist

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