(The video above is from last winter’s campaign. It shows the damage from the fire and the story of our early recovery efforts. Now, we are one year later and close to re-opening.)

Our Re-opening indefinitely postponed due to Covid-19.

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THE LETTER BELOW WAS WRITTEN SHORTLY BEFORE THE GLOBAL PANDEMIC. WE ARE STILL IN NEED OF YOUR SUPPORT AS WE CONTINUE TO TEND TO THE LAND, THE FAR-FLUNG COMMUNITY OF STAKEHOLDERS, AND THE NEWLY LAUNCHED FIRE FELLOWSHIP WHICH IS CURRENTLY HAPPENING VIA ZOOM. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ONGOING SUPPORT!

Greetings from the ridge!

This November, a group of more than twenty-five staff, board, elders, allies and council carriers gathered on the land for a ceremony of renewal. We lit a 24-hour fire in the Deep Kiva, and shared the tending of it throughout the day and night. We restored the Condor Feather sculpture with a beautiful new array of prayer flags, pruning the burnt tree at its base into a pole from which to string them. We shared stories of grief, loss and gratitude under the Teaching Tree and around the kiva fire. As part of our closing, we dug a hole together just below the Council House stairway—a hole to receive the yet-to-be-known gift of a new tree to plant for our future. We offered water in thanks for all the unknown blessings already flowing our way.

It’s been exactly two years since the Thomas Fire blazed across the ridge, and as we step back to reflect we sense our returning momentum. Your partnership on this journey has gotten us this far, and we thank you deeply. Our personal story with fire reminds us daily of the ongoing fires here and beyond—in California, in the Amazon so many other places, around the Earth as a whole. As we respond to the urgency of these times, the local and global in our mission and vision, we continue to strive to play our unique role in what is being asked.

As part of our family of supporters, we thank you for believing in us, for your commitment to the place and the practices, and for helping us through these last two years with your generous contributions of labor, funds and encouragement. The outpouring of love and support since the fire has been truly exceptional.

And now, we are excited to announce that after two years of cleanup, recovery and re-imagining on many levels, we will open to the public this spring. Born of our time of deep listening, we will launch the Foundations In Resilience Education (FIRE) Fellowship. We will continue with other longer-standing programs, including trainings in deep listening practices, a council-based pilgrimage into the Sespe Wilderness, invited guest teachers and more.

With two years of work and visioning coming to fruition, we feel the momentum building. More is still needed in order to open well and to accommodate our programs with a degree of comfort. In addition to the annual operating funds that keep our small staff on the job and “the lights on,” we are seeking support for the following:

  • A camp kitchen with outdoor hearth and sheltered dining
  • A new meeting space (hybrid earthen/yurt)
  • Native plants for landscaping around the Council House and more
  • FIRE Fellowship fellow sponsorships

We hope you will be inspired to flow your generosity in our direction this giving season … or perhaps to gift us that tree! Gifts of any size make a difference and are received with sincere appreciation.

Will you join us in our ongoing efforts by contributing toward our Annual Fund goal of $100,000?

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With gratitude,

The Executive Stewardship Circle

David Bryan & Laura Whitney, Board of Directors Co-Chairs

Brendan Clarke & Sharon Shay Sloan, Co-Directors