Stewardship is a concept with a rich history and many usages. Because “stewardship” means so many things to so many people, it is important for us to differentiate our stewardship philosophy from others.
It is from a place of humility, awe, and reverence for the complex and effective ways of nature that we consider our relationship with the forest as one of collaboration instead of management. We do not regard our position as one of power or proprietorship, and we understand that natural forces are ultimately out of our control.
We endeavor to participate, observe and learn from these ancient educators – with our bodies laboring in the forest alongside the sun and soil in a process of mutual growth and benefit.
Stewardship call us to create a lasting home, while connecting with the wider community of life.
We recognize that we can only steward what we truly love, and that we can only truly love something that we understand–something that we live with, spend time with and keenly observe, something that inspires us and that we stand beside to protect.
As stewards we hold a deep commitment to learning from the land and deepening our understanding as to the long-term ecological effects of utilizing land as a natural cemetery.
The life of a forest is long, its sentences spoken in decades, its stories older than humanity. In order to steward a forest, we must be able to plan and implement on timescales longer than one human generation.
Windward’s answers to the complex questions of multi-generational stewardship are steadily evolving, but a significant portion of our collective wisdom, resiliency, history, and dedication are embodied in the Windward Foundations bylaws, a legal document based on representative consensus, the process which guides leadership and decision making within the community.
It is at the core of the Herland Forest’s mission to organize and take action for the long-term health and prosperity of the cemetery and the forest community. We do this is many ways, including sustainable forestry practices under our recognition as a Washington State Stewardship Forest
For a glimpse into the day-to-day life and projects underway at Windward, visit the community’s blog activity blog Notes from Windward.