The Dogwood Alliance has launched a new initiative that springs from the special connection humans have with forests. “Stories Happen in Forests” is a video series that will focus on stories about the magic, mystery, and beauty of Southern forests. The project, which grew out of a conversation between author and Mountain Goats musician John Darnielle and his friend Sami Grover, aims to collect stories from a broad range of people that love forests.

Darnielle himself offers up the first story, about kayaking in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern North Carolina, and you can watch it below. The organization is seeking more stories in subsequent weeks, with the goal of enlisting the public to sign on as sustaining members of its Forest Defenders program.

The Dogwood Alliance is a twenty-year-old organization whose mission is to protect and sustain the forests in fourteen Southern states. The group works with communities, organizations, and those in power to ensure that corporations and governments abide by existing regulations and behave responsibly in their treatment of these vital ecosystems.

As part of its Stand4Forests campaign, the group will host a meet-and-greet event at the Durham Solidarity Center May 18 at 5:30 p.m. in order to introduce its new North Carolina organizer, Jovita Lee, and get the word out on the group’s vital work in this era of climate change and new daily threats to the country’s environmental apparatus.