Big Old Tree on Skyline


Thanks to all those who helped the Methuselah Tree Project come to life!

First thanks to Buck’s and Alice’s Restaurants for posting a card about a local contest, “Let us help make your dreams come true!” from the Woodside Community Foundation.

Next, thanks to the Board and generous donors of the Woodside Community Foundation for offering this delightful grant to local people for Woodside projects. I dreamt of creating a web site about my favorite tree for decades, and this grant gave me the impetus to do it. Special thanks to Ellen Ablow at the Foundation for encouraging me and guiding the project.

Spencer Piestrup, my dear nephew, stepped up to program and design the site pro bono, a rather large effort. He was wonderful through months of updates and writing, and created a beautiful and easy to use site.

Many photographers and video producers supplied photos and multimedia resources for the project. Their names are listed on the photos. Special thanks to Bill Atkinson for offering his dazzlingly beautiful photographs on for the project. Mike Baird supplied a large collection of stunning photos, also. Thanks to Wikipedia and Creative Commons for making teaching resources so readily available. The licenses for these photos are:

CC BY 2.0

CC BY 2.5

No modifications were made to the photos.

Two drone pilots, Dave Skokan and Olek Lorenc, offered to videotape the tree from the crown to the base, and all the way around. It was a surprise to see how fresh and new the top of the Methuselah Tree looks from above the crown after 40 years of looking up at the dried up branches from the ground. We had three days of drone flights, a most generous gift. Artist Crista Dougherty studied the drone videos of the Methuselah Tree and the natural science of coastal redwood tree growth to create the drawings of the Big Old Tree for the project logo, and for Methuselah each of the 20 centuries the tree has lived. When I told her I wished I could look over her shoulder while she drew Methuselah, she arranged to shoot a time-lapse video, from over her shoulder, one for drawing the tree in pencil, and another when she inked the drawing.

Lela Dowling drew three poses of a friendly Anna’s hummingbird to lighten the look and feel of the site and kids’ activity pages about visiting the Methuselah Tree. I wanted Lela to add her magic to our site after decades of her helping in various kids’ projects.

Jonathan Choe, an Intern from Seattle University, contributed greatly to choosing the topics for the tree stories and writing first drafts. He also took photos, created invoices for expenses and was a great support while the project began. Big thanks to Jonathan.

Home School Mom from CIT, Linda Maepa, spent hours teaching me to edit the web site in WordPress, wrote Tree Stories for the site, and set up YouTube playlists that would keep children in a secure environment. I look forward to many more projects with Linda!

Many friends have contributed suggestions and edits for the site. We are gradually incorporating these, and welcome more. Contact us through the tiny ladybug link on the site, or via FaceBook, Big Old Tree.

The Assistant Director for the Methuselah Tree Project is Travis Larson, fifth grader at Kings’ Mountain School. He posed for drone videos, running from the drone which tracked his path, and gave great points for creating and editing the web site, which is much improved as a result of his insights. Thanks to his parents, Rina and Troy, for helping, too. Travis planned a tree drawing contest that will launch on FaceBook soon. Travis tested the prizes for the contest and has grown his own Coastal Redwood starting with seeds as part of that testing.

Last but not least, thanks to my grandson, Soren Scott, now age 5, who refreshed my inspiration to share this tree with young children. He appears on the site observing a banana slug as a toddler, then waving from the base of the tree when older. He remembered his first visit to the tree at age 2, and when a fence was up while the tree’s fence was repaired, Soren said, “I have to go inside that tree!” I told him we couldn’t go over the fence, so he found a way to walk down the hill around the fence. He remembered for half his life, his first experience of walking into the Big Old Tree’s fire cave, and back he went. He has learned to treat the tree gently, as we hope all children will.