Seasonal workers climb tree after tree to collect seeds that will eventually help regrow forests, an effort that could get the country closer to its climate goals
WHY WE’RE HERE
We’re exploring how America defines itself one place at a time. Every fall, in a forest north of Moab, Utah, workers scale massive spruce trees, collecting cones that will become future forests.
MOAB, Utah — Blake Votilla stared up at the 120-foot spruce tree. He strapped braces with four-inch spurs to his shins and clipped two large red plastic sacks on his climbing harness. Reggaeton blasted from a portable speaker on his hip.
Then he embraced the tree with his gloved hands, sticky from sap, lifting his left leg up first, driving the spur into the cracks of the bark to hoist himself up.