Park Volunteers Plant Acorns “For the Future”

On a bright fall morning eleven volunteers gathered at One Mile in Bidwell Park to plant acorns, including an expectant mother who was glad to know her newborn would be able to see the growing trees. The day of the planting was on “Giving Tuesday” and these folks certainly gave back to the Park their love and appreciation for everything the Park has given them. “I wish I could walk in this Park everyday,” said volunteer Batool Aladawood, a busy pre-medical student.

Many of the oldest Valley Oak trees in Bidwell Park were toppled by last winter’s storms and lie now like fallen giants among the grass and shrubbery of the park grounds. According to Richie Bamlet (he likes to be called “Richie”), Chico’s Urban Forester, we need all ages of trees to rebuild and sustain our precious natural resource – our urban forest.

When I asked Richie why plant these tiny acorn seeds now, he simply replied, “For the future.”

Volunteer acorn planters.


Local, native Valley Oak acorns to be planted.


Richie Bamlet, Urban Forester, demonstrates how to plant the acorns.


Three acorns are planted in hopes that at least one will germinate and take root.


Next, a protective cone is placed around the newly planted acorns.


Rich Ober, former Parks Commissioner, and Batool Aldawood, pre-med student and CAVE volunteer, are the first acorn-planting team to break ground.


L-R, team leader, Robin McCollum of Chico Tree Advocates, Shelly Corley, mother of Marisa Stoller, pregnant acorn-planter.


On left, Aaron Holt, Senior Maintenance Worker and on right,Dave Bettencourt, Field Supervisor, place protective and decorative cages around the planted acorns.  Due to city department cut-backs, Bettencourt and Holt make up the entire city Tree Crew.














January 2017 In Review: Beloved Community; Ugly Inauguration; Beautiful Women’s March

January 2017, Five Mile Recreation Area, Bidwell Park.

January 2017, Five Mile Recreation Area, Bidwell Park.

Early January brought sustained rains to the Sacramento Valley, a great volume of water draining out of the mountains, a muddy flow scouring the banks of rivers and flooding adjacent lands. I saw in this unrestrained force, a veritable image of the coming inauguration of a man who advocates racial and ethnic hatred and exclusion on religious grounds, a man who muddies the language with harsh and ugly words, a man intolerant of anyone who dares to criticize or even disagree with him, a man who brags of sexually assaulting women.

Between the election and inauguration of Donald Trump, January found some of us gathered in an interim of relative peace to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We took heart in the presence of each other and in Dr. King’s legacy of nonviolent resistance to whatever forms injustice might take. We shared a community meal, feeling mutual support and knowing we could face whatever threat might arise. It was a time of great beauty, a reassurance of shared humanity.

And in the pauses between January storms when the mud settled out of the river waters, I saw in the clear current an alternative to Trump’s muddy turbulence: an unstoppable human river of protest to Donald Trump’s inauguration that spread from the shores of the Pacific to the Atlantic. And here in Chico as well, the downtown plaza and streets flooded with the bodies of ardent protesters, knowing that they could rely on one another to survive even the most treacherous current in this time of crisis.

January 15, 2017, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Beloved Community Celebration, Trinity United Methodist Church, Chico


The People gather for the celebration.


Dorothy Johnson (red scarf)


Doin’ It Justice choir.


“We Shall Overcome” slide show compiled by Serena Kirk


Bethel AME Community Choir.


Bethel AME Choir singer.


Vince Haynie, Pastor, Rhema Word of Faith and MC for the Celebration.


“Light of Day” a Hearthstone School Dramatic Presentation.


Dominique Silva-Soares sings “Greatest Love of All.”


Armenta Hawkins, Director of Chico Peace and Justice Center, explains Alternatives to Violence Project, “Parallel Pews.”

Dr. Nandi Sojourner Crosby gives talk, "The Fierce Urgency of Now."

Dr. Nandi Sojourner Crosby speaks of, “The Fierce Urgency of Now.”

Father and son.


Father and son.


"Blessing of the food" by Deacon Joe Person, Jr.

“Blessing of the food” by Deacon Joe Person, Jr.

Beloved Community Dinner.

Beloved Community Dinner.


January 20, 2017

The Ugly Inauguration

Thanks to Miles, the Pageant Theater gave a free showing of Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! broadcasting live from Washington, on the day of the Trump’s inauguration.  While Trump gave his speech, Democracy Now! simultaneously showed photos of thousands of protesters.

Trump lies!





Later that evening, protesters gathered on the corner of Notre Dame and the Skyway in Chico.




January 21, 2017

The Beautiful Women’s March on Chico


An estimated 2,000 – 2,500 people marched through downtown Chico, the biggest demonstration in the history of Chico.











After the Women’s March the People returned to the Plaza in downtown Chico for music and speeches.


Hanna May.


Indigenous women speak out.

  (Not) The End . . .