19, 2007 08:00 PST
Friends and colleagues,
I received some very sad news from Buffalo this weekend. Bruce
Kershner, passionate friend of Eastern Old Growth, lost his
esophageal cancer at the age of 56. He passed away quietly
evening in hospice care, surrounded by his loving family. His
was held this morning at Temple Beth-Am, in Amherst, New York.
are difficult to come by at this time. The Buffalo News ran a
tribute to Bruce on Sunday, detailing some of his achievements
honors, including his pivotal role in the recently announced
New York conservation of his beloved Zoar Valley. Still, any
tangible "things" just doesn't convey the inspiration
that Bruce was to
so many of us. Bruce's life in years was painfully short, and it
terribly unfair that such an evolved soul was given so little
earth. Bruce's life instead should be measured by the many
touched. In fact, through his work he has touched, and will
touch, many thousand lovers of nature whom he had never even
could be satisfied and fulfilled with much less, but Bruce never
have been. My prayer is that th pain of Bruce's passing will be
momentary fraction of the joys he has brought to so many. He
will be so
Very sad news from Buffalo
19, 2007 08:30 PST
Sorry to hear that. It amazes me that there are a few folk out
have the energy and knowledge to enable them to exact a few
compassion from the monstrous machine that runs this nation.
Very sad news from Buffalo
19, 2007 16:41 PST
Bruce Kershner was a magnificent earth warrior. His record of
accomplishments is long and distinguished. The environment has
lost an irreplaceable champion. Bruce was also a caring,
committed human being. He was deeply spiritual. But most
important to me, Bruce was my dear, long time friend. We
coauthored the Sierra Club Guide to Ancient Forests of the
Northeast and I readily acknowledge him as the more important of
the two of us in completing the guide. His energy and spirit
were simply indomitable. He never quit. That is what I will
remember most about him.
Some weeks ago, Bruce asked me if I would
select a tree for him in Mohawk Trail State Forest. Bruce said
that choosing a tree for him was extremely important to him. So,
Monica, John Knuerr, and I were deeply honored to do so and we
held the first of several planned ceremonies for him at his
tree. In spring we will hold a second ceremony (some time in
March) and a third in October, when we dedicate the ENTS
Rendezvous to him. We will also name a tree for Bruce in Cook
Forest State Park in April. Bruce understood that we would be
doing that and was very happy. For a few brief moments when we
talked about his trees, he could forget his pain.
Bruce has a loving family and many friends who
now need time to grieve. For this is the grieving time. For me,
the bond he and I shared can best be honored for the present in
silent tribute. The time will come when I will share my
experiences with Bruce as I'm sure many others will want to do.
tribute to Bruce Kershner
22, 2007 02:35 PST
The following is a timeless tribute to Bruce that was put
another one of my deer friends, Bill Sweeney. Bill is the
education specialist supervisor at Jacobsburg Environmental
eastern PA. He has a keen eye for identifying old growth forests
other unique natural areas. He's been all over the U.S. in
and exploring many of the ancient forests that many of us have
love, and many that only a few of us know about.
Bill & I spent many a day with Bruce over the last few years
investigating special areas for future documentation. Bill was
the few folks who were privileged to be in frequent conversation
Bruce in his last days.
If words could demonstrate the love that some of us had for this
then I think Bill comes the closest to expressing it. Bruce was
friend of mine. I have been at a total loss for words at how to
my feelings publicly on this for over a month now.
I will greatly miss my walks in the woods with Bruce. His energy
protecting special areas knew no bounds. His enthusiasm for old
was infectious. Bruce was one of the instrumental folks who
seal my appreciation for special areas like Cook Forest, and was
catalyst in my efforts to help identify and protect new ones.
As you read through Bill's tribute, I feel many of us will be
his thoughts. I know a number of times as I was reading it, I
thinking to myself, "that's so much like Bruce!". I am
Niagara River Gorge companion terribly, but it is nothing
the loss now being endured within his family.
His precious wife Helene has been battling breast cancer during
this as well. Please keep Helene and their children in your
they go through this terrible grieving process, and also for
healing from this deadly disease.
Bill's tribute follows:
"'Lost, But Not Forgotten'
Thank You Old Soul, Dear Friend
We had talked a lot in January. Bruce was very tired and he
to me that I was one of a select group of people that he would
take phone calls from because he could count on those friends on
short list " to engage him in uplifting conversation, and
anything Bruce wanted to feel positive and uplifted during this
difficult time. He knew his time on this earth was short, and
hear about nature, recent old growth findings, Ivorybilled
past explorations, and future rendezvous that both of us new
inside would probably never happen. The desire to laugh and be
was strong, but circumstances and wild western New York winters
prevented another reunion. Bruce and Helene were struggling
their own health issues, and the last thing Bruce wanted was to
a friend. His own local journeys around Buffalo had been
enough, so we would try, god willing, to get together again in
spring. The winter of 2007 had not been kind to Bruce and
the last winter storm had left a whole in their roof and a chill
About a year ago we both were soaking up the sun in Florida, and
hopes of showing Bruce a few old growth sites of exceptional
but his love for Helene outweighed his strong desire to explore
growth sites with a friend, and he spent his time in Florida
with Helene in places where Helene could feel comfortable. Bruce
reminded me that this was Helene's vacation too, and I knew it
to push hard for outings with me to remote sites that would
and his wife. My wife also struggles with trying to follow me
sometimes dangerous, often wild places, and this was not the
trip to ask
Bruce to choose between these places and Helene. We had gotten
quite a bit the last few years, both in western New York, and
Pennsylvania, and I had every reason to believe that we would
more time together in 2007.
Bruce reveled in the opportunity to show me and others Zoar
local old growth sites in Western NY, Niagara Falls NY and
Canada. My wife and I skipped rocks with Bruce across the placid
of lake Ontario two summers ago, and Bruce joked that this was
athletic feat he excelled in. The truth is Bruce had a lot of
talent, and there were plenty of times we challenged our bodies
long hikes over rough terrain and steep slopes! Bruce certainly
special talent for skipping rocks, but it was his extreme love
ancient forests that eventually made Bruce a soul mate, and
I would have no trouble telling that I loved him, when he
me that his cancer had spread to his bones. It was then I
probably would not beat this cancer, a cancer he had told me
7 months earlier at our dinning room table.
I will always remember this small man with the heart and soul of
giant. I will never forget his smile, genuine, excited and a bit
mischievous. Bruce always marveled at hollow trees, and loved
thought of leprechauns, pixies, hobbits and various other
little people happily residing in them. I can not even dismiss
possibility, how ever remote, that Bruce may have dwelled in
in a distant time, a long gone life. It certainly would help
his intense interest in and passion for spending time with
trees, big gnarly burls, twisted crowns, and huge hollow trunks!
was wildness in that smile and in his eyes when we shared
exploring, and especially when we shared life exploring.
Oh how Bruce loved to explore. We once discovered in
Bruce used to climb up on the same giant boulder that I have
more than several occasions to feel the splash of the Niagara
feel that giant boulder shake ever so slightly as the mighty
rushed passed by it through the Niagara gorge. On a more recent
exploration to California Bruce was blessed with a Mountain Lion
sighting. He was still beside himself with excitement as he
detailed description of this magical encounter.
I believe I will always hear these words in my head when I think
Bruce and our outings. "Oh my God", then a little
louder Oh My God! I
knew I had found a good site when I heard Bruce rant and rave,
fantastic", "this is unbelievable" and there was
no one on this planet
that I knew of that enjoyed these special places more than
I cannot help feel an utter sense of sadness knowing I will
this life walk among ancient trees with Bruce again, but I will
remember how lucky I was to share my love of ancient forests
friend equally connected to Gods Green Gardens. I will always be
grateful for our time together.
Bruce once told me that I like he had a special talent for
ancient forests because they spoke to me, as they did he. We
things like this to each other to lift each other up and because
them to be true. Bruce knew how to be a friend, and I will
good will and how deeply he loved his friend's ands family.
Bruce had a
large extended family of those like me who shared no direct
with Bruce, but could hear, just as Bruce heard so clearly the
God in these unique ancient forests that have always been
the hand of god, perhaps because they have never been altered
manipulated by the hand of man.
During our last conversation Bruce made me promise him that I
share my knowledge of ancient forests with others in the old
forest community. Documenting these sites has not been strength
mine, and I have seen a fair number of sites containing ancient
and pristine ecosystems cut down over the last 25 years. Bruce
harder for the protection of ancient North Eastern forests more
anybody I have ever known, and all those who love ancient forest
Bruce a debt of gratitude for his never ending efforts to
others to visit and enjoy them, while he worked tirelessly to
of those small and large pockets of forests that had escaped our
I feel a deep sense of relief knowing Bruce's physical body
more. I will always think of Bruce as I walk among ancient
trees, and I
have already felt the presence of his spirit with me while
the bottomlands of South Carolina two weeks ago. This
I am also
I have hopes of seeing Bruce again one day. Where there will no
be any pain or sorry. Then we can again take up our hikes into
more incredible forests, more grand than we've ever imagined.
place for me, Bruce. We all love and miss you very much.
A tribute to Bruce Kershner
22, 2007 06:50 PST
Thank you so much for the tribute to Bruce. I have my own
share about Bruce and will so in time, but I think it is his
spirit that I think of most. While on Earth, Bruce was small in
stauture, but a giant in intellect, achievement, and spirit. May
in peace, but I doubt that to be the case. Wherever Bruce is
sure he is being a buzzsaw. He is walking through ethereal
sending his thoughts and energy to us. Bruce will always find a
make a difference.
24, 2007 05:21 PST
I haven't had
home email for quite some time so I have been a bit
out of the loop. Fortunately I could access my account from
where I work.
I wanted to tell you that I got a message from the Greensprings
Cemetary in Newfield, NY. This is where Bruce was laid to rest.
maintained his environmental ethic to the end.
S. Kershner Heritage Tree Preservation and Protection Act
12, 2007 16:57 PDT
There is a bill pending in the New York State legislature
(Assembly Bill A8145)aimed at protecting old growth on New
York's public lands. If passed, the law would be known as the
Bruce S. Kershner Heritage Tree Preservation and Protection Act.
You can read the text of the bill at http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=a8145
There is a companion bill in the Senate (S4637).
There is a related bill also pending, Assembly Bill A1101 (at http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=a1101)
A version of this old growth forests on public land protection
bill has been introduced time and time again in New York but has
been repeatedly killed by the Republican controlled Senate.
Calls and letters to New York's legislators would be very
helpful, and a nice tribute to Bruce and his forest preservation
Julie Broyles, Director
Zoar Valley Nature Society
Kershner in the News
TOPIC: Bruce Kershner in the news
== 1 of 1 ==
Date: Thurs, Apr 24 2008 8:22 am
From: EDWARD NIZALOWSKI
This was sent to me from a friend of mine. It came from
the Buffalo News
Newark Valley, NY
Law protecting old-growth forest needs public support By
Updated: 04/23/08 6:43 AM
Tree lovers have an unusual opportunity. Retiring State
Sen. Mary Lou Rath, R-Williamsville, has introduced a
bill to establish the Bruce S. Kershner Heritage Tree
Preservation and Protection Act. It will protect all
old-growth forests on public land and give tax relief to
private owners who agree to conservation easements.
A similar bill has passed in the Assembly every year for
eons but failed in the Senate for lack of a companion
bill. This time, the bill originates in the Senate with
10 co-sponsoring senators including Cattaraugus County
lumber district's Cathy Young.
Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, D-Buffalo, has an identical bill
in his chamber. A rising awareness of the importance of
standing timber to global warming and to human
well-being -- and the tax breaks -- give these bills a
Western New Yorkers love their trees. Witness the
hullabaloo over cutting supposedly dangerous trees on
Audubon, Burroughs and Burbank drives in Snyder. (It is
hard to figure how the highway commissioner could have
picked those beautiful streets that are named after
naturalists to cut just before Earth Day.)
Witness the wrath of the County Legislature over logging
the Erie County Forest, and the outpouring of dissent
when elements of the State Parks Department proposed a
timber harvest of Allegany State Park.
At one time, a squirrel could hop from tree to tree all
the way from Maine to the Mississippi. We cut down most
of that forest but, tucked in out-of-the-way places down
in ravines, in preserves and clinging to cliff sides,
some of that primordial forest still stands.
I've hiked through the towering 350- year-old hemlocks
in Allegany State Park's Big Basin, gasped at the giant
tulip trees of Zoar Valley, searched for the
300-year-old white cedars of the Niagara Gorge and seen
200-year-old Erie County Forest maples sacrificed.
Being among those giants is inspiring, renewing -- you
need a poet to find the right words, but being there
Rath named her bill in honor of a good friend of mine,
an unparalleled forest advocate, Bruce Kershner. He and
his Western New York Old Growth Survey Team located more
than 300 old-growth forest lots.
If you, too, want to explore those woods, find a copy of
"The Sierra Club Guide to the Ancient Forests of
the North East" that Kershner completed just before
we lost him a year ago.
But to make sure the trees are still there, contact the
State Legislature. Tell them how important those forests
There is a decent chance for the Heritage Tree bill, but
300 bills are pending in the Senate Environment and
Conservation Committee. Thousands are awaiting action.
This bill will not become law unless the Legislature
hears how much we want to save those markers of our
heritage, old-growth trees.
Larry Beahan is conservation chairman of the Sierra Club