Extinction Witness began when the project was seeded at the close of 2011 with writer and creative director Megan Hollingsworth's intent to build a website for sharing a multimedia performance memorial she produced to support an end to industrial whaling and the capture of small cetaceans for entertainment and other slave labor. (see Other Community Memorials) Following Megan’s grief response to the 1850’s cutting of a giant sequoia called ‘Discovery Tree’, she spent much of 2013 exploring possibilities for a more reverent presence and approach to the entirety of the North Grove of Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California. Project focus then shifted to creative witness 2014-2016.
Upon hearing that pollinators were in focus for 2017 Lost Species Day, Megan’s desire to support on-the-ground collectively beneficent regeneration projects sparked a vision for regenerative memorials. Synchronicity connected Pollinator Posse and Extinction Witness early November 2017 and the vision coalesced.
a chance meeting
Megan followed an impulse to go back into a cafe and introduce herself to Laura Salazar, LS Support + Design, with whom she'd shared a table, both women at work. The two recognized a shared desire to help support women artists and healers in their businesses.
The topic of regenerative memorials surfaced and Laura encouraged and supported Megan to connect with Tora Rocha, director at Pollinator Posse, an organization started at Lake Merritt Gardens, Oakland, California, to encourage pollinator-friendly gardening for bees and butterflies, particularly monarchs.
The chance meeting led to the dedication of Lu’s Memorial Pollinator Garden in Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge as the cardinal Generative Memorial with intent to carry the legacy of two Lucille's in regenerative memorials worldround.
Generative Memorials ongoing are a cooperative effort of Extinction Witness, Pollinator Posse, and Earth Restoration Service aligned with Remembrance Day for Lost Species, November 30th.
two Lucille's nurturing the small
Generative Memorials are inspired by the devotion of two mothers, Tora's mother Lucille Rocha and Megan's teacher Lucille Bertuccio.
Upon Lucille Rocha's request for a living memorial, Tora established Lu’s Memorial Pollinator Garden to honor her mother following her death in 2013. Lu’s Memorial Pollinator Garden and all the work of Pollinator Posse recognizes and cares for community members who, though they are vital with their own needs, often go unseen and unappreciated. Thus, their needs go readily unmet.
Lucille Bertuccio, who was local before local was cool, instructed an elective course in Ecohumanism Megan's freshman year at Indiana University (1993/94). Lucille Bertuccio was utterly devoted to the smallest, more often than not, unseen, unheard, and vastly under-appreciated community members. Lucille passed in 2016.
Birth before Death
Generative Memorials are intended to help revive a nearly vanished respect for mothers and their most necessary nurturing ways.
So, we begin in the gardens and in the groves to honor birth before and beyond death. Not death but birth is the ultimate feat and sacrifice to be regarded. To give birth is to die to the separate ego and to bear someone who will eventually die. There is no greater act of faith, humility, and surrender than to devote one's whole self to bring forth and love completely the fleeting glimpse of that which eventually passes as part of life’s ongoing.
Whereas Lake Merritt is the United States’ first official wildlife refuge, the 1854 stripping of “Mother of the Forest” in what is now the North Grove of Calaveras Big Trees State Park spurred the formation of U.S. National Parks. Calaveras North Grove is high on the wish list for designation as a Lucille's Regenerative Memorial that mother trees may be properly known and respected.