Thanks to Boy Scout Troop #123 for taking care of the forest!

Scoutmaster Craig Culp and his troop did a nice job cleaning up the forest in April. Lucky for us, Troop #123 includes dad Jeremy Lowney who is a professional arborist, proprietor of Solid Oak Tree Management. Jeremy was able to assess the health of the demonstration forest trees. Unfortunately, the white alder, planted in 1997, had to be removed due to disease/severe mistletoe infestation. We hope to plant a new tree later in the fall or when rain returns. Let’s pray for that El Nino to arrive and relieve the severe drought situation.


P.S. When Jeremy is not taking care of trees here, he and his family are in Africa working to reforest the Kilimanjaro Region through
their Trees 4 Kilimanjaro nonprofit.

Little Free Library in the Little Woods!

Thanks to Dona Robertson and many friends, Santa Margarita School has a new library!

It’s a work of art and it’s already in use as you can see in the photos below. That’s new Oak Ambassador Jessianne S. and a friend checking it out after school last week. The Little Free Library in our Little Woods is Mrs. Robertson’s retirement gift to the school and community. Come by, leave a book, take a book and enjoy : )

The Great Pumpkins

Thanks to volunteers Sharon Drake and Betty Williams for once again working with Santa Margarita School teachers and students to
decorate adopted trees for Halloween. Fun to see : )

Beautiful blooms at the forest

If you stop by the forest this month (June 2013), you’ll notice two trees blooming their hearts out. One is the chitalpa planted many years ago and one is the more recently planted desert willow. If you look at the flowers of each, you’ll see similarities in form and color. Did you know that these two trees are related? Any guesses?

Giving thanks and sharing memories

The Santa Margarita School Forest was planted in 1997 for the use and enjoyment of the school and community. Through many seasons and changes since then, the forest has been cared for by volunteers. Enjoy photo memories of our start and times past courtesy of Andrew Von Dollen* who was kind to put them in a Cloud for us.

Thanks to all who’ve been part of wonderful memories through the years since 1996. I’ve retired from 17 years (24 years of working on tree projects in town) of community service and am grateful to many special friends made along the way. I’m happy to now just focus on Learning Among the Oaks (go to and life with Bryan, Buster and friends in our garden. After a time to refresh and recharge, I hope to return to focus just on the school forest. It is still a special place as is Santa Margarita.

There is wonderful news coming for this year of changes. One of Santa Margarita School’s extraordinary teachers, Dona Robertson, will be retiring after 50 years (30 + years teaching) in education. Hard to imagine SMES without Dona but she has planned a most fitting, creative, and joyful legacy project that will come to life at the forest. A “Little Library in the Little Woods” will be coming to Santa Margarita!

With gratitude for forest friendships past, present and future,

Beverly Gingg, April 2013

*Special thanks to Andrew, smcf webmaster since  1997, who has contributed countless time and talents to   Truly amazing and much appreciated! I also want to thank my husband Bryan, my family and friends, and The Land Conservancy of SLO County.

Spring has sprung at the forest

Thanks to a great California Conservation Corps crew and Santa Margarita School, the forest is beautiful for spring. The CCC crew led by Mike Anderson and Kelly Kate Warren did an amazing job and we really appreciated the help!

Adopt-a-tree volunteers ~ retired teachers Sharon Drake and Betty Williams worked with teachers and students to decorate their adopted trees.