Guardian Grange looks to provide a safety net for veterans while teaching them about conservation, sustainability and regenerative agriculture.
Sept. 25, 2021, 3:00 AM PDT / Updated Sept. 25, 2021, 6:08 AM PDT
By Denise Chow
When Mark Matzeldelaflor left the military more than a decade ago, he spent years searching for something that filled him with the same sense of purpose as being a Navy SEAL.
After serving a couple tours in Iraq, including as an elite sniper, he returned home and took up odd jobs — “just wandering and doing random stuff to make some money to pay the rent,” he said. Then, on a whim, he said that he tried “magic mushrooms” for the first time with a friend and that the psychedelic awakened in him a new resolve.
“I just reconnected to nature and my past, where I was like a kid in the woods,” Matzeldelaflor said. “And I realized there’s so much healing in being outside in nature, getting your hands in the dirt and doing good work.”
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One of the organization’s first major initiatives is to help construct a preserve for Western monarch butterflies, a pollinator species that has been pushed to the brink of extinction in recent years due to habitat loss, pesticide use and climate change.