Perhaps you’ve seen me along the trail in the North Grove, just past the Visitor Center. I’m a young giant sequoia, maybe just 400-500 years old, and not too tall yet. No one ever thought to give me a name, but Ranger Jenny has made me famous among thousands of schoolchildren.
I used to watch school groups and guided tours stream past me, but those tours ended over a year ago. Now there is just Ranger Jenny, standing beneath me with her tripod and tablet. The pandemic never stopped Jenny, and she has continued leading virtual tours for schoolchildren from all over the world. In just over a year, she’s led 500 field trips to over 20,000 students.
Jenny Comperda is the presenter for our park’s PORTS program (Parks Online Resource for Teachers and Students.) Up to four times a day, she meets with children over the computer and tells them about me and my forest. She tells them stories about how I grow and how I drink, brags about my thick bark and how I resist fire, shares some of the park’s history while standing on the Big Stump, and lots more. I like that she talks about giant sequoias as being “true survivors.”
Jenny asks lots of questions, and the students can answer by typing into their chat windows or by answering poll questions. Her “explorers” love thinking up their answers and asking questions of their own.
Jenny ends her field trips by inspiring her students to explore and protect the incredible parks of California.
I’d like to end the same way: If you haven’t come recently to see me at Calaveras Big Trees State Park, I hope to see you soon.
Meet you in the forest,
The Young Giant Sequoia