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The Acorn has dropped!

Dear Friends,

The latest issue of the Earth Sangha’s newsletter, the Acorn, is on its way to your regular mailbox. We mailed it on Monday. (Of course, you can also read the Acorn online.)

If you’re not on the Acorn’s mailing list and you would like to be, just email me at We’ll mail you the current issue and put you on the list for subsequent ones.

In this issue, you’ll find:

A close-up of a recent tree-planting project in Arlington:

People often seem to regard tree plantings as so essentially wholesome that no further justification is needed. But we think it’s important to plant with a clear purpose. Here we take a detailed look at a particular case.

An overview of our effort to reorganize the Tree Bank after the death of Gaspar:

It has been 14 months now since the Tree Bank’s first director, Gaspar Pérez Aquino, died unexpectedly of a stroke. Gaspar’s death was the biggest challenge that the Tree Bank has faced in its near-decade of work. This article describes the most important steps that we have taken to restructure the program, and our main steps for next year.

(The Tree Bank works along part of the Dominican Republic / Haiti border, on the Dominican side, to conserve native forest and improve small-holder farm incomes. Thus far, the Tree Bank has protected or restored about 250 acres of forest and is helping 46 families. For a description of the program, see the Tree Bank page.)

A first look at our DC-area plant ecology database:

For about a year now, Matt, our Conservation Coordinator, and Fritz, our volunteer botanist extraordinaire, have been entering field data on plant-species distribution into an ArcGIS mapping database, to create a very detailed picture of what is growing where, in selected areas of northern Virginia. Matt gives us a tour of work to date, and explains the next steps.

I would like to point out that I illustrated Matt’s article with a database screenshot, which is a much better idea than publishing a photo of Matt’s computer screen. (Not that I ever seriously considered the latter option. For one thing there’s the glare issue. Also his head was in the way.)

And finally, a very brief meditation on seeds:

I wrote this. I’m rediscovering my niche. At this point, everyone else on staff knows more about the local flora than I do, so I’m returning to my own special strengths. Mostly this involves lamenting the mess that we are making of things.

I hope you like the Acorn! As always, please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or comments about our work.

— Chris Bright, President

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Banner: Late October in a mixed stand of hickories, oaks, and American beech at Fountainhead Regional Park, on the northern shore of the Occoquan River, in Fairfax County, Virginia. Photo by Chris Bright. 

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