A Tradition of Tree Vacations

Summer is here and – despite COVID19 – families are road tripping near and far!

But have you ever heard of taking a family Tree Vacation?!

In the 1960s, Ralph and Patricia Erwin of Federal Way, WA began a unique version of the typical summer family road trip: they went on Tree Vacations!

The goal of their tree vacations was to visit their favorite forests and to collect samples of their favorite trees (in coffee cans) to plant on their 2.5 acre property back home. 

In one particularly memorable trip in 1963, Ralph and Patricia took their two young daughters (ages 5 and 4) on a 2,616-mile road trip through the forests of Oregon, Washington and California. 

Ralph drove a Buick towing a low storage trailer and took lots of pictures.  Patricia took detailed notes and tracked the family’s epic journey: where they camped, their fuel economy, and where they collected their tree samples.

When they got home to Washington state, they planted redwoods, sugar pines, knobcone pines and other species in their yard.  When the little girls entered elementary school, Patricia used slides from their Tree Vacations to create a Tree Talk to teach about the roles of different trees in various environments across the US.  She shared her Tree Talk in the local schools for many years.

Ralph and Patricia’s son, Charles Erwin, recently shared this sweet story with us when he found our foundation online and purchased sugar pine seedlings for the family’s “forest” he still oversees.  We thank him for sharing his family’s unique tradition with us and hope that it may inspire more folks to take Tree Vacations, too!

Happy summer to all – and tell us about your Tree Vacation if you take one!

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