Marilyn and Jerry Russell, a Livermore couple, recently put 5,200 acres of rangeland into the California Rangeland Trust, protecting it in perpetuity against commercial development. The land, the Sagehorn-Russell ranch, is some 200 miles north of the Tri-Valley, but the Russell’s magnanimous gesture should benefit all of us.

The couple did not want the ranch where Marilyn Russell spent her childhood – located in the magnificent high-country rangeland of the Eel River drainage – to be broken into parcels for development, and degraded at a high cost to natural habitat. Instead, it is a gift to us all, preserving a place that makes our world a little richer for the beauty and wildlife that now won’t be destroyed.

Thoreau famously wrote, “In wildness is the preservation of the world.” We admire the Russells for their gift, and wish that in a fractured world, more would follow their generous example by asking what they can do for others, whether through gifting, volunteering or simply caring for a needy neighbor.