Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Forest Show Helps Raise Awareness About Development of UC Santa Cruz Upper Campus

Pale Robin

Mathew of Matador

"Crickets" by Wesley

Mathew of Matador

The Gembrokers

As the sun began to set on May 4, community members and students made their way to a "secret" location north of Kresge College at UC Santa Cruz for a "Forest Show" that was organized to raise awareness about the university's planned expansion. Presently, 240 acres of upper campus forest is threatened, as is the Porter Meadow, and also the location of the evening's show. Musical acts Matador, Pale Robin, and The Gembrokers played acoustic sets around a campfire in the middle of an open portion of the mixed evergreen forest, surrounded by tall Redwoods and Douglas Fir trees.

A flier for the show announced that the event was an opportunity for people to, "connect with the land proposed to be destroyed by UCSC's Long Range Development Plan." At the height of the evening approximately 75-100 people surrounded the fire, listening to the music, and singing along at times. Nearby, a table illuminated by candles, and stocked with pamphlets, fliers, and stickers to be distributed, stood near a grove of young, second growth Redwoods. "You can't build 'sustainably' in a REDWOOD FOREST," and, "Save Upper Campus" were the titles of two of the items of literature offered.

In addition to performing, the musicians shared stories of their personal connections to the UCSC upper campus, and Mars/Pale Robin played a song about the frustrating experiences of community members who had previously attempted to negotiate with the university when trying to protect portions of the forest on campus. The university at that time told community members that a solution to the loss of existing forest to development would be to replant new trees in other areas. This approach is not acceptable to community members who see protecting the campus from any loss of existing open space as the front line in forest defense.

Organizers of the Forest Show stressed the importance of an upcoming decision to be made in Santa Cruz by the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) regarding the extension of water & sewer services to UCSC's upper campus. If their decision goes the way the university hopes it will, the upper campus will be placed at immediate risk for development, and locations like where the Forest Show was held will no longer exist....

To read more about the Forest Show, see my original article for Indybay:

Forest Show Helps Raise Awareness About Development of UC Santa Cruz Upper Campus