Forestry club offers holiday trees, fresh from the Sierra

Fragrant Sierra Nevada conifers, to be harvested this weekend by members of the Cal Forestry Club, will be available for purchase on campus during the week of Dec. 7.  The annual Christmas tree sale — the largest fundraiser for the 102-year-old club for forestry students and other forestry fans — features firs, cedars and other evergreen species donated by Sierra Pacific Industries.

students harvesting trees in forest

Cal Forestry Club members haul out a tree destined for the campus holiday sale.

Some 20 Cal foresters stay over at UC’s Blodgett Forest Research Station, near Placerville, then spend Saturday on Sierra Pacific land cutting specimens unlikely to survive to adulthood because of their proximity to competing trees.

The popular December outing allows students to “see firsthand all of the forest ecology concepts we learn about at Berkeley,” says Cal forester Sophia Lemmo. Red firs and white firs are the preferred Christmas tree species, she adds, so classroom lessons in species identification come in handy on harvest day. And “trekking through rain and snow really brings the club together and allows us to de-stress before final exams.”

Lemmo notes that the Cal Forestry Club, headed by fourth-year student Lilah Gonen, is unusual in that it is primarily female.

The sale takes place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 7 through Saturday, Dec. 13 (or until supplies last), on the south side of Mulford Hall, near the west entrance to campus. Trees (typically one to 10 feet high) cost $6 per foot; larger trees are available on request. Evergreen wreaths, handmade by students, sell for $10 to $30.

Most of the sale’s proceeds are used to send Berkeley students to the Society of American Foresters’ annual convention, which showcases the latest research and developments in forestry.

To order a specific size or species of tree, or for other information, email Lemmo at