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Michael Haddad and Julia Sherwin: Providing Support Where It's Needed

Michael Haddad and Julia Sherwin

Julia Sherwin and Michael Haddad

Michael Haddad and Julia Sherwin have a lot in common. They both came to California from Detroit, they are civil rights attorneys, they share a deep passion for the outdoors and the environment, and the first park that sparked their love for the redwoods was Muir Woods. They eventually saved up enough money to move out to California, which Michael describes as feeling like "coming home." They've since had many more memorable redwood experiences, from the coast redwoods in Jedediah Smith State Park to the redwoods in the Oakland Hills right in their own backyard.

Within a couple of years of moving to the Bay Area, they heard about Save the Redwoods League, and have now been donors for 20 years. When they received the flyer to donate to McApin Ranch, a property 30 minutes from their second home, they felt called to donate. As civil rights lawyers, their work takes a lot out of them mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically, so it's very important to them to get into the redwoods "to clear your soul," Julia says. "Our relationship with the League has been life changing."

So, Julia and Michael chose to make a legacy gift to the League during the Centennial Challenge in 2018. Julia encourages everyone to make a legacy gift because, "when you protect the planet, you're creating a powerful legacy for all of us. The League needs as much financial support as we can get because the work is not nearly done, and it will be there long after we're gone. I awoke at 5 a.m. today to wildfire smoke [at the beginning of the August 2020 lightning-sparked wildfires]. It is incumbent upon us to protect these forests."

Michael reflects on how the issue of environmental protection has become polarized in this political climate. "A healthy environment is necessary for healthy people, but this isn't universally recognized. Money is the biggest challenge—we have the means and the people, we know what needs to be done—we just need to be able to raise enough money to put into these projects. The whole environment is integrated, and protecting the redwoods is only going to make us healthier. When we protect redwoods, we protect rivers, we protect land, and we can't protect redwoods without helping the environment as a whole."

Legacy gifts make it possible for Save the Redwoods League to continue its efforts to preserve the redwoods so generations ahead will be able to enjoy them just as Michael and Julia have. To begin creating your redwoods legacy, please contact Deborah White at 415-820-5828 or DWhite@SaveTheRedwoods.org.

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