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History of the Earthstewards Network

The Earthstewards Network began as a dream in the mountains of Northern California, late in 1979. For the previous five years, a small group of people had chosen to live in community in a redwood forest mountain setting that they called Madrakara (Sanskrit for "place of joy and inspiration"). This small circle of friends, mostly refugees from the academic world and personal growth movements of San Francisco and Berkeley, invested these five years in the intense learning process of building their own dwellings from lumber they hand-milled, tending their gardens, and raising their children.

From the peace of the mountain they became more and more aware of the smog from the valley cities and the rumble of timber company bulldozers. Increasing numbers of people came to events at Madrakara and asked, "What can we do to be of service to the planet and the human family?" So, in early 1980, Danaan Parry and Lila Forest left Madrakara and founded the Holy Earth Foundation, later called the Earthstewards Network.

Envisioned initially as a loose network of those who care for the earth and its inhabitants, a support group for peaceful, positive activists, the Network has expanded over 18 years to include projects in global communications, conflict resolution, and citizen diplomacy. There are now Earthstewards in North and South America, Russia and Western Europe.

Our award-winning projects have included the Vets-to-Vets program which brought together U.S. Vietnam vets and Soviet Afghan vets during the Cold War and our PeaceTrees program which received the 1992 Arbor Day award and two South African awards in 1996. There have been many PeaceTrees projects to date, bringing together people in various conflicted areas of the world to cooperate in planting trees and learning principles of environmental restoration, conflict resolution, and cross-cultural communication. PeaceTrees Vietnam in 1996 combined land mine removal with reforestation and creation of a 17-acre peace park and museum on a major battlefield of the Vietnam War. There have been conflict-resolution/citizen diplomacy projects in Northern Ireland, Russia, and the Middle East. Workshops in gender communication and conflict resolution are ongoing and successful.

Founder and Director Danaan Parry wrote four books (available from Earthstewards Publications) and became an internationally recognized lecturer and teacher. Washington Physicians for Social Resonsibility gave him the Paul Beeson Award for notable citizenship (1994), the California Leadership Program named him Peace Leader of the Year, and Danaan and the Earthstewards received the Boise Peace Quilt award. He died on November 13, 1996, at 57. 

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