Wednesday, September 14, 2016


“The Redwoods once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always…from them comes silence and awe.”
                                                                            —John Steinbeck

From my walk in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

Natures always restores me.  This summer’s travels to California and Oregon included trips to several National Parks and many wilderness hikes.  There is nothing like walking for hours without seeing another soul.  One lesson I learned from my time in Redwoods National Park and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is that the roots of redwoods, the oldest living things on the planet that grow up to 350 feet and more, are only about 6 feet deep.  What happens underground and out of sight is that the roots of these trees interlock to build a stable base for each tree.

What would happen if each child had interlocking roots with other children and parents to be able to grow strong and independent?  I think there are lessons from the Redwoods that we can apply to our own communities.  

Hiking on the beach at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, with the coastal fog rolling in

You’ve heard the expression, “It takes a village to raise a child.”  The more we can help each other, often invisibly like the roots of the Redwood trees, the stronger each child will be.

With my sister-in-law, Inger, hugging a Redwood tree at Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park in northern California

Let’s make this school year a great one by building new foundations and interlocking roots for growing healthy kids.  Take walks together. Make healthy meals together. Visit a National Park.  Check out your state and local parks.   

What can YOU do to create a strong foundation for children? 

In gratitude,
Nancy L. Heinrich, MPH

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids