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John Scharffenberger: Passion For Restoration Inspires Campaign Gift

John Scharffenberger

John Scharffenberger stands among the giant sequoia on a trip to Black Mountain Grove. He loved the tiger lilies that were growing in the stream beds.

The League director and chair of the Forever Forest Campaign, John Scharffenberger, is also the founder and former owner of the first artisanal chocolate company in the United States, Scharffen Berger Chocolate, and the wine company Scharffenberger Cellars. He has practiced innovative and entrepreneurial techniques in the food and wine world that have become mainstream, such as ecological forestry, organic farming, humane animal husbandry, and controlled burning.

Through working on his ranch property in Mendocino County over the past 40 years, John has had the opportunity to restore his passion—redwood forestlands. Planting, thinning, pruning, and soil restoration on several hundred acres for decades has allowed him to see what restoration practices seem to work in helping the forest return to a more natural state. These decades of work inspired John to make his campaign gift in support of the League's restoration vision, including Redwoods Rising, the League's remarkable effort to greatly accelerate the pace and scale of redwood forest recovery.

"Like the redwood forest, I believe in taking the long view," John says. "That's why I was inspired to make a future gift of $1 million to the Forever Forest Campaign, in addition to outright gifts now, to support the old-growth forests of the future. I know Save the Redwoods League, with its partners, will be working over its next 100 years to restore tens of thousands of acres of young forests across their ancient range, accelerating the return of old-growth habitat, carbon storage, and fire resilience."

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