Climate Champions Plant 10,00 Trees!! Meet The Metcalf Institute, Metcalf Institute Public Lecture Series

by | Jun 6, 2023 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

First Climate Champions massive reforestation campaign plants 10,00 trees!! And meet the Metcalf Institute, plus the Metcalf Institute public lecture series



Hey, Everybody. Here’s the update we promised on the first Climate Champions, 10,000 tree reforestation campaign. The trees are going into the ground as part of the Fire Recovery in the Feather River Watershed project. The project aims to restore 4,343 acres of private land that was burned during the 2021 Dixie Fire. This restoration of this Sierra mixed conifer forest will focus on planting trees native to the area in pre fire conditions.

The Sierra Nevada is a region with a strong reliance on wildfire to maintain ecological balance. Wildfires will continue to be a part of this ecosystem. A century of suppression, and removal of indigenous burning has created conditions in which these fires become more severe than ever imagined. Restoring these lands to a state which is resilient to future fires and climate driven affects is possible given reforestation plans that address hazardous fuels, habitat, watershed protection, and a tree density that is sustainable and resilient to these conditions.

An analysis of how forests burns is this: The lowest severity burns in the project are classified as “moderate” with perhaps a 50% or higher tree mortality rate, the majority of the project is burned at high severity, where 90-100% of all trees have died. The project aims to address these issues in several ways; by removing the dead standing trees before they become a ecological hazard. Forests full of snags quickly grow an understory of brush due to increased sunlight; this snag and shrub component has been proven to increase both the intensity and severity of wildfire when occurring in the same area. This leads to a perpetual cycle of high severity wildfire in which healthy mature forests can never become reestablished.

With approximately 1.3 million acres of forests burned in the Feather River Watershed since 2020, we need to put our energy into reforesting areas with a higher likelihood of success. Planting within this project areas will be monitored and maintained by private land managers for a minimum of 75 years. This type of management will ensure that planted trees have the best likelihood of survival, and that plantations can be cultivated to ensure a well stocked forest at densities that are less likely to carry a high intensity crown fire.

Reforestation would prioritize planting shade intolerant species such as Jeffrey pine, ponderosa pine, sugar pine, Douglas fir, and incense cedar, over shade tolerant species such as white fir to re-establish forest structure prior to the exclusion of ecologically beneficial fire. Trees would be planted at approximately 130 trees per acre in differing planting arrangements including rows and clusters. Areas with potential for natural regeneration may be excluded from planting. All planted areas would have dead vegetation, including standing dead trees removed to reduce the fuel risk for future wildfire.

Trees species planted include Jeffrey pine (20%), ponderosa pine (20%), sugar pine (20%), Douglas fir (20%), incense cedar (20%). Why does reforesting the Feather River Watershed matter to us? Restoration of biodiversity. Wildlife species to bring back include the California Spotted owl, Northern Goshawk, Bald eagle, and Golden eagle, all require either old growth forests, or mature trees for nesting and/ or foraging. The amount of suitable old growth habitat is currently severely diminished, vital for biodiversity. Several more megafires with no restorative action would leave the region devoid of habitat. Not often thought of but just as importantly, not replanting is already having impacts on water quality and erosion in the North Fork Feather River, including mudslides and rock fall which deposit sediment into one a California’s primary sources of drinking water.

Planting activities also bolster local economies by bringing in workforces that occupy hotels, eat at restaurants, and shop in stores. One project location centers around the historic community of Seneca, which was home to California’s oldest bar; the Seneca Gin Mill. The Gin Mill was destroyed in the Dixie fire, but local community efforts have rebuilt the structure in the historic fashion using logs milled on site. “Re-greening” Seneca will help preserve this piece of California history.

We’re loading photographs of the project on so check us out, daily. Thank you to you first 33 climate champions who are helping us restore the Feather River Watershed in the Sierra Nevadas of California. This is proof that a small group of people can make a massive impact in a short amount of time. So join us in this latest climate champions tree reforestation campaign. We’re at 9,000 trees. Just 1,000 to go. Go to and at the top of the page, click on Climate Champions and donate $50 or $100. Thank you!

DEEPER DIVE: WMO Report50/100 Campaign, Trillion Tree Project


In the world of journalism, most reporters have a beat—think politics, or sports or entertainment. Journalists tend to gravitate toward those beats while at university, based upon their own personal interests, while some are pushed into those beats by circumstance or their first real life news editor. Bottom line, most reporters have a beat—that single subject in which they gain special skills on how to report it to us, the public.

But then came climate change, which affects every aspect of our lives, now and forever. Being able to communicate the science of it, as well as linking the science to a reporter’s beat and to our everyday, is a skill that must be learned, then practiced and applied. A journalist has to learn first about the science of climate change, and then they have to learn how to apply climate change science to their beat.

That’s where the Metcalf Institute at the University of Rhode Island comes in. It provides education, training and resources to journalists, scientists and science communicators across career stages, with the aim of engaging diverse public audiences in evidence-based conversations about science and the environment. And it’s been doing it since 1998. 

The Metcalf Institute teaches that skill two ways. It provides science training for journalists and it teaches scientists how to communicate to diverse audiences, mostly comprised of non-scientists. That’s done through workshops, seminars, conferences and fellowships. Why does the Metcalf Institute matter to us? Because in its 25 year history, it has trained over 3200 journalists, scientists, and science communicators who in turn have helped millions of news consumers worldwide access accurate, contextual environmental news coverage that relates environmental science and environmental justice to daily lives. And because Metcalf Institute advocates for and amplifies marginalized and underrepresented voices in science, journalism, and science communication. Happy 25th Anniversary, Metcalf Institute!

DEEPER DIVE: Metcalf Institute



Speaking of the Metcalf Institute and as part of its 25th year celebration, throughout the month of June 2023, it’s sponsoring a “weekly dose of inspiration and education as part of our Annual Public Lecture Series.” According to its website, each week in June, Metcalf “will bring you a free, virtual talk with an inspired thought leader, grappling with real-world issues of climate change and the clean energy transition. Each thought leader will explore the latest research and collaborative efforts to respond to our changing environment with their virtual audience.

The weekly lectures started last Thursday, June 1st. The topic of that lecture, “Revamping America’s Energy Landscape: Balancing Sustainability and Land Use Impact with Dr. Grace Wu.” We at The Climate Daily just found out about this lecture series, so we missed telling you about it, and we missed attending it ourselves. But not to worry, you can find Dr. Wu’s lecture online on the Metcalf Institute’s YouTube channel. Click on the “YouTube” link in the Deeper Dive section of to stream it.

This Thursday, June 8th, from 1-2 U.S. EDT, check out Dr. Sergio Castellanos as together we go “Exploring Inequities in the Transportation Sector.” On June 15th, Dr. Emily Grubert will discuss “How We Move On: On Planning for a Future Without Fossil Fuels.” June 22nd will feature a panel discussion on “Innovations in the Clean Energy Transition”, while on June 29th climate change journalist Sammy Roth will give his “Insights from the Climate Beat”.

Find out more and register by visiting or by clicking on the “Lecture Series” link in the Deeper Dive section of Times for each lecture vary, so please make sure you read the description carefully. Why does the Metcalf Annual Public Lecture series matter to us? Simply put—the more you know…

 DEEPER DIVE: Lecture Series, YouTube Channel