Giving Back

Earth Ethic

Wild ones who hear the primordial call of the Earth Mother, as kin,
we come to this gathering with hearts intertwined in the service of continued Life.

This year, we will be welcomed by the great temperate conifer forests, oak woodlands, and wildflower meadows of the Siskiyou National Forest foothills. These brilliant compositions painted onto the landscape remind us of the world we want to inhabit and tend to. In such vanishingly rare places that are still intact, we can listen deeply to the wisdom of this land and her original guardians, and we can begin to rise to the ever-present call of Earth stewardship.

This is the ancestral land of the Takelma People. Long before European conquest, these foothills were the home of cougars, deer, elk, beaver, bear, antelope and bighorn sheep, owls, eagles, long-eared chipmunks, golden trout and of course lots and lots of salmon. A rich mosaic of ecosystems spanned the mountain ranges, with deep pine, cedar and fir forests opening into oak savanna, where the wildlife congregated to feast on acorns, as well as countless types of berries, grasses, and flowering plants. Every elevation hosted a different assembly of species, all the way up to where the lodgepole pines gave way to the alpine meadows and rocky spires.

The Takelma and other Rogue Valley Indians hold sophisticated cultural practices to diversify and regenerate the landscape for the benefit of all forest inhabitants. Cyclical harvesting, sowing, pruning, and especially the use of fire in prescribed burns, has shaped the character of the Siskiyou National Forest area. Irresponsible logging practices coupled with the suppression of the natural fire cycles have caused many of the region’s forests to be crowded and susceptible to high-intensity fires. The traditional knowledge of the Takelma people, which is gradually recuperating after near-extirpation, holds a key to enhancing ecological health here in Illinois Valley. The Earth ethic of this gathering impels us to learn about the natural and cultural legacies that have been eroded in recent centuries, and to come with hands and hearts set on lending reciprocal support.  The Takelma cultivated only one crop, a native tobacco (Nicotiana biglovii)


  • 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 Southern Oregon People.


  • 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 dedication behind long-term stewardship of this land, we have been researching the best ways to protect her for the next 7th generations.  Through conservation easements and a soul commitment to safeguard the forest and aquatic communities who calls this land home, we commit to never log or develop this land in any harmful way.


  • Permaculture, food-forestry, native polycultures and flower farming in years to come will nourish and create habitat for our precious bird, insect and human kin.

Soon we will stand together like blue oaks, gathering with the deer, bears and foxes, and light up the forest like the lost fires returning!

For the wild,