Penelope’s Legacy Taking Root: $50,000 donated for tree planting to honor former Executive Director Penelope Pierce

While we’re already missing our former Executive Director, Penelope Pierce, she has inspired a very generous gift that will sow seeds and grow roots for years to come. The Mysun Charitable Foundation has granted GVLT $50,000 over 5 years to plant trees in and around Bozeman in honor of Penelope.

This family has been a close GVLT friend for decades and were inspired by Penelope’s leadership. They shared, “The Mysun Charitable Foundation is dedicated to supporting protection of the environment and quality education. Penelope Pierce as Executive Director of GVLT for 10 years is worthy of recognition for her excellent environmental work.   This gift of trees will represent a long standing tribute to Penelope’s fine work.”

Our Stewardship staff are already putting their gift into action, planting trees along the Sourdough Trail near Tuckerman Park to address erosion and restore the stream bank.

In 2018-19, the old Ruffner irrigation headgate was removed from Bozeman Creek. The headgate was first installed in the late 1880’s to divert irrigation water from the creek to water crops in what is now the subdivisions near Graf Street in South Bozeman. Since the headgate was no longer in use and it presented a hazard to recreational trail users, the removal allowed for restoration of the stream bank to a more natural condition. This project has been a collaboration between adjacent landowners, the water right owners, Gallatin Valley Land Trust, Trout Unlimited, Gallatin Watershed Council, and generous donors.

Fast forward to 2020 and a spring rocked by COVID shutdowns and major social distancing. In the middle of the shutdown, a landowner living adjacent to the old headgate restoration site called GVLT to share that the recent high water was impacting the previous restoration efforts and was not holding up to the wear and tear of daily traffic as residents sought trails as a respite from isolation. Thankfully GVLT had received this generous grant from the Mysun Charitable Foundation and we were able to jump quickly into action and purchase the necessary materials and trees to bolster the previous restoration efforts. We coordinated a group of eager volunteers who joined us for a socially distant planting effort that resulted in 30 new aspen, red-osier dogwood, and sandbar willow trees on the banks of Bozeman Creek.

This new “Mysun Grove” is the first of many that GVLT will plant with volunteers over the next five years. These trees, as they grow, will store and sequester carbon, shade Bozeman Creek, provide habitat for birds and wildlife, and provide a pleasant experience for community members that find themselves resting for a bit on the Don Weaver Bench in Tuckerman Park. They’ll also honor Penelope’s leadership at the helm of GVLT for generations to come. Next time you’re in the area, check on the trees to make sure they are growing and thriving along the banks of Bozeman Creek. Thank you Mysun Charitable Foundation!