A new film tells the story of the Mount St. Helens forest conservation project, Columbia Land Trust's largest conservation effort to date.

Last week, Columbia Land Trust’s Wild Splendor gala featured the premiere of our latest short film. As She Grows illustrates how the Land Trust found the middle ground between environmentalism and forestry to conserve upwards of 20,000 acres of forestland on the south shoulder of Mount St. Helens.

In the film, our forest conservation director, Cherie Kearney, explains how we managed to conserve land for the benefit of both people and wildlife while providing a compelling model for restoration forestry. The project was conceived back in 2006, in response to a distinct threat of development on the forestlands surrounding Swift Reservoir. The Land Trust was able to piece together a conservation solution with county officials and local forestry interests based on a shared desire avoid subdivision of the land for development.

Stewardship director Ian Sinks also makes an appearance in the film. He and forester Marc Barnes describe how strategically thinning existing forest plantations on the 2,330-acre property known as Pine Creek East will accelerate a transformation toward a natural, ecologically-diverse forest conditions. In addition, fisheries biologist Jim Byrne detailed how the cold, clear waters of Pine Creek, which runs through the conserved forestlands, provide vital habitat to endangered bull trout.

The title of the film is a reference both to the forest that we’re shaping into the next great old growth grove of the northwest, and to Cherie’s granddaughter, Kacee. Cherie’s hope, and the hope of all of us at Columbia Land Trust, is that future generations will have the opportunity to know the sense of wonder and curiosity evoked by our iconic old growth forests. We hope you enjoy the film, and we invite you to learn more about the Mount St. Helens forest conservation effort.