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2010 John Muir Symposium
John Muir: Naturalist and Scientist
University of the Pacific

University of the Pacific's John Muir Center hosted its seventh conference focused on John Muir at the Stockton campus of University of the Pacific on April 21 - 24, 2010.

Presentations this year focused on Muir's scientific accomplishments, including Muir's botanical studies in Yosemite and Calaveras Big Trees Park and Muir's glacier research and its meaning for today. But art, film, adventure, and even Muir's "religion of nature" were also well-represented, with presentations by a Muir impersonator, a film director, a legendary mountain climber, and historian Donald Worster.

For the first time in the history of the Muir Symposium, undergraduate students participated in the program. Students from University of the Pacific's Dr. Bill Swagerty's "John Muir's World" class (HIST 052), many of whom are Environmental Studies majors, shared their research on Muir. Each student briefly summarized his or her research topic and described source materials used - including those from Pacific's special collection of John Muir's works housed in the University's Holt-Atherton library. While shorter than traditional academic presentations, many of these featured some of the most fascinating topics of the Symposium. (See the list of students and their research topics on the University of the Pacific website.)

The second day focused on John Muir's legacy for environmental education and its impact at the University of the Pacific, in the United Kingdom, and on the World Wide Web. The latter presentation was made by Harold Wood, webmaster of the John Muir Exhibit, on the topic of "Keeping John Muir Relevant Through the World Wide Web," and focused on the power and impact of social media and features of "Web 2.0" and even "Web 3.0."

Delicious Scottish fare spiced up the conference on Friday, and a 19th century California theme lunch was served on Saturday featuring foods that would have been familiar to John Muir and his family from the gardens and orchards at their Martinez ranch, including fig empanadas, chicken mole ranchero, and peach cobbler.

The conference ended on April 24 with the unveiling of a large panoramic photo of Muir Woods by Stephen Joseph, a Bay Area-based professional landscape photographer who has been honored as the Centennial photographer for Muir Woods National Monument.

Pacific's Powell Scholars dedicated this piece of art, which hangs in the library, to President Pamela Eibeck.

Conference Presentations

An Essay on John Muir’s Phenomenal Science
Bonnie Gisel, author of Nature’s Beloved Son: Rediscovering John Muir’s Botanical Legacy and curator of LeConte Memorial Lodge, Yosemite National Park

The Flora of Yosemite: What Muir Didn’t Know; What We Don’t Know
Dean Taylor, Botanist, University and Jepson Herbaria, and Yosemite National Park Resource Management Botanical Team

Muir and the Big Trees of Calaveras
Michael Wurtz, Archivist, Holt-Atherton Special Collections

Rediscovering John Muir’s Botanical Legacy
Presentation by Stephen Joseph, Photographer
Introduction by Bonnie Gisel

Keynote, Icons in the Life of John Muir
Richard G. Beidleman, Professor Emeritus, The Colorado College; and Research Associate, Jepson Herbarium Archives, University of California, author of California’s Frontier Naturalists (2006)

Continuing John Muir’s Legacy of Glacier Research in Yosemite National Park
Greg Stock, Yosemite National Park

Undergraduate Research on Muir at Pacific
Students in John Muir’s World course at Pacific will summarize their research projects

To See the Way the Pieces Fit Together: Muir through the Eyes of a Sometime Scientist
Dick Shore, Class of ’59; zoologist and Muir environmental educator

Environmental Education Session
Introduction by Bill Swagerty, John Muir Center

John Muir’s Impact on Environmental Education in the United Kingdom
Graham White, photographer, editor, and educator; Coldstream UK

Keeping John Muir Relevant via the World Wide Web and Internet
Harold Wood, Chair, Sierra Club John Muir Education Committee and webmaster,
John Muir Exhibit

John Muir in the New World
Film by Catherine Tatge, Global Village Media, New York City, producer;
a film in progress for PBS, American Masters

Keynote, John Muir and the Religion of Nature
Donald Worster, Professor of History, University of Kansas and fellow, Yale University,
author of A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir (2008)

Muir’s Mountaineering and Muir’s Footsteps at Pacific:

M.O.V.E., Environmental Stewardship, and John Muir at Pacific (Dan Shipp; Kristina Juarez, Graduate Assistant for Student Leadership and Involvement; Jason Velo, Director of University Center and Student Activities; and Carol Brodie, Sustainability Coordinator)

Muir and Climbing in Yosemite
Royal Robbins, mountaineer and entrepreneur, Modesto CA

When I Behold: A Scientist and Naturalist Walks With the Spirit of Joy (Reflection on the Symposium)
Barbara Mossberg, President Emerita, Goddard College and Senior Scholar, James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership, University of Maryland; Professor and Director of Integrated Studies, California State University, Monterey Bay

The Spirit of John Muir: An Inaugural Event in Honor of President Eibeck
Sponsored by the Powell Scholars and Pacific’s Department of Visual Arts
Program by Stephen Joseph, photographer
Comments by Dr. Pamela Eibeck, President
Introduction by Powell Scholars: Anastasya Uskova and Alexis Duclos

Exhibitors: Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, California Conservation League, Audubon Society, Raven Tours, Yosemite Association
Exhibits: Documents and photographs from the John Muir Papers, University of the Pacific Library, Muir-Hanna Trust, Shan Sutton, curator;
Sierra Club Climate Change Exhibit, George Pettit, creator

Books with Authors present for books signing included:

Nature's Beloved Son: Rediscovering John Muir's Botanical Legacy by Bonnie J. Gisel with images by Stephen J. Joseph

A Passion for Nature : The Life of John Muir by Donald Worster

California's Frontier Naturalists by Richard G. Beidleman


To Be Brave by Royal Robbins


Graham White
Caroline Cox

 

 


Websites About the Conference:

 

 


Past Conferences



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