Partnering with Archangel

Partnering with Archangel

My name is Philip Stielstra.  I have been an avid supporter of Archangel Ancient Tree Archive since I first met David Milarch and his sons Jared and Jake in 2012 at their nursery in Copemish, Michigan.

The mission of Archangel Ancient Tree Archive has 3 aims: PROPAGATE, ARCHIVE and REFOREST.

  1. Propagate the world’s most important old growth trees before they are gone.
  2. Archive the genetics of ancient trees in living libraries around the world for the future.
  3. Reforest the Earth with their offspring.

Archangel has Propagated (by cloning and seed gathering) and Archived the genetics of some of the largest and oldest redwoods and sequoias in the world.  For the third, Reforest the Earth with Offspring of Ancient Trees, that is where people like me and nonprofits like PropagationNation are able to contribute to Archangel’s mission.

In May 2016 I was fortunate to join David Milarch and his arborist son Jake on an Expedition to the Sequoia groves at Sequoia Crest and the Redwood groves near Crescent City.  When I left the Expedition in Crescent City to return to Seattle, I told David that I would get some of his redwood clones planted in Seattle.  He said “I know you will” with such conviction that I knew I would.

Moving the Giants to Puget Sound 9-29-17That summer I contacted Park Districts in 30 communities around Puget Sound and in November Archangel sent 350 redwood cloned saplings for planting in those 30 different communities, a project I called Moving the Giants to Puget Sound.

The publicity that came from that project helped me build a network of experienced redwood and sequoia planters in the Northwest who are eager to support Archangel’s cause.  Archangel quickly recognized what a great reforesting partner we were and has since sent nearly 6,000 redwood and sequoia saplings for planting in the Pacific Northwest.

One of the things we have learned through experience is that the small 16-inch cloned redwoods which Archangel ships from Michigan to the Northwest have the best chance of surviving if we wait a year before planting them out.

For example, there were 1000 redwood clones and 300 giant sequoia seedlings, 16 inches in size, that came from Archangel in October 2000 which were repotted in the spring into 3-gallon tall pots and by July 2021 were 3-6 feet tall.  They became the basis of our plan to create several redwood demonstration forests of 50-100 trees each in coastal areas of the Northwest, which we called the 1000 REDWOODS Project, which you can read about here.

1000 REDWOODS Results 2021-22

The purpose of the 1000 REDWOODS Project is to show that planting redwoods and sequoias can be a successful strategy to diversify Washington forests while playing a significant carbon-storage role in the fight against climate change.

In June 14, 2022, I sent the following THANK YOU to David Milarch and the Archangel Board and staff:

To David, the Archangel Board and Archangel Supporting cast,

A BIG THANK YOU! for all the coast redwood and giant sequoia seedlings you have cloned, grown and shipped to us for planting in the Pacific Northwest.

In August 2021, Bob Barnes, Ralph Munro and Dave Pearsall, long-time tree planters in the Olympia area, and I started the 1000 REDWOODS Project to create multiple redwood forests in the Pacific Northwest using Archangel redwood and sequoia seedlings sent to us in October 2020.

From October 2021 to March 2022 we distributed 1,235 trees to 30 different groups, including seven Native American tribes who planted 524 of the trees.  It was a tremendous success, as you can see from the attached report.

Don Smith called us last week to ask if we were ready to receive more coast redwood clones from Archangel for planting in the Pacific Northwest.  Yes, absolutely!  We are ready to receive as many trees as you can send us.

David, the words you spoke in the 2016 Moving the Giants film by Michael Ramsey still ring in my ear:

“I’m here to do everything in my power on earth to bring in all the human beings and all the help that I can to put back every single  redwood tree that was cut down and killed.  That’s what it’s like for me, and you know what, I’m going to do it.”

We are here to help.  Thank you again for the trust you have placed in us.

Philip Stielstra,

David Milarch sent the following reply:

From: David Milarch – Archangel
Sent: Wednesday, June 15, 2022
To: Philip Stielstra

Subject: Re: Thank you, Archangel

Philip,  Once again we are super impressed with you and your team’s tireless ongoing efforts. I’m personally “blown away” with the maps, data, photos of tree growth comparisons and your attention to detail! Your work resonates to me as noble, far sighted, the real fricking deal! How can we thank you and your team enough for years of volunteering to help so very many groups and especially the children! God bless you and all you do. I mean that.

More trees to follow in the Fall for your projects.

David Milarch
Co-Founder Archangel Ancient Tree Archive

PropagationNation continues to partner with Archangel to Reforest the Earth with the offspring of the world’s most important old growth trees before they are gone.  This fall and winter, 2022-2023, we will distribute 1000 more Archangel trees to tribes, land trusts, conservation districts and other organizations as a second phase of the 1000 REDWOODS Project to develop demonstration forests to show how well redwood and sequoia trees can thrive in the Northwest.

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