A penny for a …..pine? As they have for the past 50 years, this year the Chico Horticultural Society – along with other garden clubs statewide - chose honorees to receive a Penny Pines Plantation. I was among this year’s honorees, and to me it is a high honor indeed.
According the US Forest Service, national forests in California cover some 20 million acres, or about 1/5 of the state - an area just slightly larger than the state of South Carolina. Stretching from the Mexican border to Oregon, these forests include a variety of terrain and vegetation. These areas of great beauty and majestic stature are routinely affected by natural and man-caused fire, pests and disease, which - while often part of the natural life cycle of a forest - do also damage and reduce them in several ways. Given enough time, the land will recover naturally, but Penny Pines provides a helping hand. It is a cooperative conservation program in which everyone can participate.
In 1941 the Penny Pines Program was officially launched under the sponsorship of the San Francisco Sportswomen’s Association. Recognizing the great need to help restore forest areas, the association sent donations to the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in Northern California.
Over the years since, Penny Pines – so-called because in 1941 a seedling tree could be purchased for about 1 cent - has grown into a statewide initiative, and individuals, community organizations, and groups of all sizes have participated in the program, donating well over 1 million dollars in the past 73 years. Garden clubs, women’s clubs, men’s service organizations, youth groups like the Boy and Girl Scouts, and schools have all contributed.
Other states have cooperative planting programs, but the Penny Pines Program is unique to California. Almost every National Forest in the State has a Penny Pines plantation area, featuring a sign that lists contributors.
By 1964, Penny Pines was so successful that money contributed to purchase seedlings far exceeded funds available for site preparation, planting and care, and so the conservation agreement was rewritten to provide that Penny Pines funds be used for reforestation activities in general.
According to long-time member and club historian, Emilie White, the Chico Horticultural Society purchased their first Penny Pines Plantation in 1963 at the Chaparral in the Butte Meadows area, and has since purchased more than 70 plantations honoring individuals and groups. Recently the club’s honorees included firefighters of the Lassen, Plumas and Mendocino National Forest.
Today $68 buys a one-acre Penny Pines Plantation of over 300 tree seedlings. Trees of 16 species are used throughout the state, including Ponderosa Pine, Jeffrey Pine, Douglas Fir and Incense Cedar.
Current Forest with Penny Pine Plantation sites:
• Angeles National Forest, 701 N. Santa Anita Ave. Arcadia , CA 91006 (626) 574-1613
• Cleveland National Forest, 10845 Rancho Bernardo Rd., Rancho Bernardo 92127 (619) 673-6180
• Eldorado National Forest,100 Forni Rd., Placerville 95667 (530) 622-5061
• Klamath National Forest, 1312 Fairlane Rd. , Yreka 96097 (530) 842-6131
• L. Tahoe Basin Mgt. Unit, 870 Emerald Bay Rd., S. Lake Tahoe 96150 (530) 573-2600
• Lassen National Forest, 2550 Riverside Dr. Susanville, Calif,.96130 (530) 257-2151
• Los Padres National Forest, 6755 Hollister Ave. Suite 150, Goleta 93117(805) 968-6640
• Mendocino National Forest, 825 N. Humboldt Ave., Willows 95988 (530) 934-3316
• Plumas National Forest, P.O. Box 1500 159, Lawrence St., Quincy 95971 (530) 283-2050
• San B’dino National Forest, 602 South Tippecanoe Ave, San B’dino 92408 (909) 382-2600
• Sequoia National Forest, 1839 South Newcomb ST , Porterville 93257 (209) 784-1500
• Shasta-Trinity Ntl Forest, 3644 Avtech Parkway , Redding 96002 (530) 226-2500
• Sierra National Forest, 600 Tollhouses Rd., Clovis 93611 (209) 297-0706
• Stanislaus National Forest,19777 Greenley Rd. , Sonora 95370 (209) 532-3671
Tahoe National Forest, 631 Coyote St. , P.O.Box 6003, Nevada City 95959 (530) 265-4531
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In a North State Garden is a twice-monthly Northstate Public Radio and web-based program celebrating the art, craft and science of home gardening in Northern California. It is made possible in part by the Gateway Science Museum - Exploring the Natural History of the North State and on the campus of CSU, Chico. In a North State Garden is conceived, written, photographed and hosted by Jennifer Jewell - all rights reserved jewellgarden.com. In a North State Garden airs two weekends a month on Northstate Public Radio Saturday mornings at 7:34 AM Pacific time and Sunday morning at 8:34 AM Pacific time.