This spring, Sonoma County education camp & retreat center Westminster Woods teamed up with Chimera Redwoods to form a new Albino Redwood learning experience. A young four-foot-tall albino redwood propagated by Tom Stapleton in 2013 was donated and planted out at the camp this spring. This was done to promote public awareness about these rare mutations and to teach about redwood genetic diversity. “Here we have a great opportunity to bring one of nature’s extraordinary phenomenons to kids & adults who’ve never had the chance to see these beautiful trees before” Stapleton said. His goal is to have people understand that there is more to the redwood story besides being famous for their height and size. “If people see how unique albino redwoods are, hopefully, it will lead to a stronger interest in studying the reasons why they exist". Tom believes including the tree in Westminster's education program will lead to better conservation efforts in protecting albino redwoods in the forest and private setting. He also would like to inspire a new generation of kids about learning the mysteries about these white trees.
The young albino redwood rolled into the meadow awaiting planting at the new site.
A close-up view of the albino foliage while the tree was still in the pot. This albino chimeric redwood was selected for its basal albino characteristics that resemble naturally occurring albino redwoods found in the wild.
Westminster Woods Teacher Naturalist Ben Dambach (pictured left) helps prepare the planting site with a fellow coworker who wished to remain anonymous. Kids and insiders at the camp know Ben by his nickname 'T-Rex’
David Salomon who's also another camp Teacher Naturalist with Westminster Woods poses with Ben Dambach after the tree's successful planting. David also known by his camp name ‘Redwing’ hopes to turn this small meadow into a learning area where guests can be taught about the redwood forest ecosystem.
Pictured from left to Right: Ben Dambach, Tom Stapleton, & David Salomon salute a new beginning for the albino redwood. Looking ahead, Tom hopes to share his experiences with albino and chimeric redwoods through Westminster Woods education programs. Again thanks to the folks at Westminster Woods for adding this special tree to their camp & retreat educational experience. Information about the camp can be seen here: Westminister Woods