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Posted by: Bethany on 02/17/2008 10:58 AM Updated by: Bethany on 02/17/2008 11:58 AM
Expires: 01/01/2013 12:00 AM

‘Love the Forest Valentine’s Concert’ Raises Funds, Awareness for EPFW ~ By Bethany Monk

Murphys, C.A….It’s a big hit every year, and this time audience members packed the Black Bart Playhouse creating a standing-room only venue for the 6th-annual “Love the Forest Valentine’s Concert” benefit show for the Ebbetts Pass Forest Watch group.

Vocalist Erin Ross performs with her band Schiraz at the "Love
the Forest Valentine's Concert" on Saturday

The concert, held Saturday, Feb. 16 at the Playhouse in Murphys featured an exciting line-up of local musicians including: Schiraz, which blends jazz, 60s lounge music and folk; Bill Wells, “guitar and vocal virtuoso; and The Tour Guides featuring Michela MacFarlane. Money raised from the concert will support educational programs provided by the Forest Watch, a non-profit
group dedicated to protecting, promoting and restoring “healthy forest and watersheds to maintain the quality of life in the Sierra Nevada, according to the group’s Web site.

“Our focus is on clear cutting of the forests,” said Ebbetts Pass Forest Watch president John Trinkl. “We’re not (completely) against logging,” he said, adding that clear-cutting seriously affects the environment.

“It wipes out everything,” he said, and makes the land look “horrible,” which can affect tourism, the economy and the natural beauty of an area.

Clear-cutting is a practice that removes all or most trees from a forest sector, according to

The Ebbetts Pass Forest Watch group was formed five years ago and now has about 200 active members and 800 supporters. The group provides educational forums, slide shows, and various events to members of the community to help educate people about the importance of saving and preserving forests and watersheds.

Tami Rakstad, Forest Watch member and concert coordinator, said Saturday’s concert turn out was “beyond our expectations.”

The concert was not a political event, Rakstad said, noting that its main purpose, in addition to being a fundraiser for the group, was for people to enjoy themselves, and for Forest Watch members to re-connect.

“It’s not just a money maker,” she said. “It’s also to remind the public that (clear-cutting) is still going on.”

For more information on the group,visit

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