"I feel I've contributed to my hometown, and I'm very grateful for the opportunity."

Roya Sabri has lived many places in her 20+ years: Iran, Sacramento, Hawaii, New York. But the place that feels most like home? The shores of Lake Almanor. 

Roya and her brother as children in the willows at Lake Almanor
Roya is currently studying English and Urban Studies at Cornell, but began her formal education right here in the Almanor Basin. She attended kindergarten through 5th grade at Chester Elementary school - what she considers fundamental years of her life. (Check out the photo of young Roya and her brother Dara in the willows at Lake Almanor, at right).

Everytime she returned to visit, she found herself falling more in love with this place. The connection to nature, the freshness, the seasons.

Roya's roots run deep in the Almanor Basin. Her Grandmother spent much of her life here, and her mother was born in Westwood and grew up on the East Shore. 

Seeking to make a difference

When she knew she'd have a chance to spend the summer in the area, she started wondering what she could do to enrich her experience and contribute to the community. 

When her grandmother saw an article in the paper about the land trust's campaign to save Olsen Barn and Meadow, Roya jumped right on it and contacted the land trust to ask how she could help. FRLT was thrilled to bring her on as an intern. Roya's expertise in creating posters and visual representations of campaign progress and scenarios of what could happen if we don't save the barn, has been invaluable to engaging the community's passion. She's also been helping to design processes for engaging the community in planning for the stewardship of the property once it's conserved.

Roya Sabri helping the campaign to Save Olsen Barn
FRLT: Why do you think the Save the Olsen Barn campaign is working?

Roya: Most of Chester feels a sense of ownership with this place. They see it as "our barn." The Save Olsen Barn campaign is really about bringing out from the woodwork the passion that is already there. 

FRLT: What's the biggest win for you?

Roya: For myself, I've really enjoyed becoming part of the community again. I would have never guessed that the land trust would be the way to do that. I've been "meeting" people I haven't seen in 10 or 15 years. I feel I've contributed to my hometown, and I'm very grateful for the opportunity."

FRLT: What's the biggest win for the Olsen Barn and Meadow?

Roya: Honestly, that the land trust is so willing and so passionate about owning the property. There really couldn't be a better land owner. They have put a lot of effort to engage the community, and to meet their needs. They are communicating precisely and honestly.

We WILL be able to save the property. The property has definitely won. With the right principles, values, and approach, you can acheive the goals. We are very close."

Thank you for your kind words, Roya. And for your passion and skilled contributions to help your hometown save a very special place. 

Would YOU like to help Save Olsen Barn?

Here's how you can help.

Here's our progress to date. (You are so darn impressive! 450 of you have donated already. We are oh-so-close!)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015