Bruce and Carol Barge
Carol and Bruce Barge at their home in Napa Valley, Calif., accompanied by their dog, Carly.

BRUCE AND CAROL BARGE consider themselves lucky to have spent their childhoods growing up in forested, rural areas — Bruce in Minnesota and Carol in Colorado.

“We took it for granted, living out in open space and nature,” Carol says.“As we’ve gotten older, we’ve realized we can’t take it for granted.”

Realizing the importance of preserving forests like those they grew up in, the Barges describe their interest in conservation as “coming back to their roots.”

Bruce and Carol have been American Forests Sequoia Circle members since 2014, and, being avid nature lovers, they’re also involved in other local and national environmental causes. This past fall, they hosted a reception in support of American Forests at their home in Napa Valley, Calif.

Conservation through tree planting appeals to Bruce and Carol, in part, because of the long-term results.

“Planting trees is making a contribution that will provide benefits for decades and even centuries into the future,” Bruce says. “It produces very tangible benefits.”

Because of its impact on future generations, Bruce advocates for more young people getting involved in conservation, for both environmental and economic reasons. He considers the field of conservation critical in tackling issues like climate change that will increasingly impact people worldwide.

Carol exudes this same passion. In 2015, she and Bruce took part in a local effort to protect 519 mature oaks in their home- town of Napa that were at risk of being removed for real estate development. Today, those oaks are still standing.

“If you can preserve those trees rather than have a sapling planted in their place, that makes a difference,” Carol says.

In recent years, the Barges have become more involved in conservation and want to continue that work, especially locally in the Napa Valley and Sonoma region.

“There’s so much science around what plants and trees do to help the environment,” Carol says. “Tree planting is so straight- forward, the payoff is so immense, and that tree gives back to the environment for decades.”