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The Planet
March 1999 Volume 6, Number 4

Club Beat

by Jenny Coyle

Keeping a Farm a Farm

Buying the farm: It isn't always the most practical way to halt sprawl. But it worked for Club member Henry Peck and other Ohio activists who kept a local 940-acre homestead from being carved into a subdivision.

Peck got involved because, when he was a child, his dad sold the family's 2,400-acre farm in Texas and a retirement community was built in its place; he still feels the loss.

"Since then I've been watching prime farmland and nature disappear under development," says Peck, who now lives on a three-acre farm in Ohio, a state that loses 70 acres per day to non-agricultural uses.

So when the impending auction of Whitehall Farm near Yellow Springs drew the interest of developers, Peck joined the effort to preserve the land.

The community held flea markets and organized a big music festival. Four young girls held a garage sale and raised $450 for the cause. Activists displayed the words "No Sprawl" in eight-foot-high letters at a rally.

The Springfield News-Sun ran a letter from Peck. "Our economy must find another basis than housing starts, which consume our farmland and nature. Such can only lead to disaster," he wrote.

At the auction in February, a Dayton couple bought the farm for $3.275 million. A local land trust will use money raised by the community and other funds to buy a conservation easement to keep the land a farm.

A Dam By Any Other Name . . .

Here's one for the "doublespeak" file: H.R. 359, a bill introduced by Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.), would lead to the construction of 18 dams in the Emigrant Wilderness adjacent to Yosemite National Park, and otherwise undo protections for a designated wilderness area.

The bill's name? The Emigrant Wilderness Preservation Act of 1999.

"The bill is expected to be pushed through committee fairly quickly," says Vicky Hoover, chair of the California/Nevada Regional Wilderness Committee. She encourages Planet readers to write to their representatives (see the To Take Action box on Page 2) and tell them to oppose it when it comes before the House. Let them know this bill violates the intent of the Wilderness Act, degrades the Emigrant Wilderness and erodes the National Wilderness Preservation System.

By the way, the bill's nicknames generated in the Club's camp include The Wilderness Preservation Axe and the Emigrant Dams Preservation Bill.

Who Deserves a Pat On the Back?

It's not likely that John Doolittle (see previous story) will be nominated for a Sierra Club annual award, but please take the time to nominate others who deserve recognition for their good work. The deadline is June 1.

Two new national awards will be given out for the first time in 1999.

The One Club Award will honor a Club member who has used outings as a way to protect or improve public lands, instill an interest in conservation or increase membership in or awareness of the Sierra Club. This award carries a $1,000 cash prize to help further the recipient's work.

The Electronic Communication Award will honor the best Web page or other use of electronic communications to further the Club's mission. Video news releases, listservs and other e-mail-based programs may be submitted.

This will be the second year the Club presents the Joseph Barbosa Earth Fund Award, which recognizes members under the age of 30 who have demonstrated service to the environment. Up to $2,000 from the Joseph Barbosa Earth Fund will be awarded to further the work of the recipient.

Information on awards is available on the Club Web site at http:\\ To nominate someone, ask your Club leader for a nomination form or contact Ellen Mayou at (817) 283-5489, or

Just Don't Call Me Late for Dinner

Most of the annual honors and awards (see above) will be presented in San Francisco Sept. 24 at the 1999 Sierra Club Annual Dinner, which will feature a tribute to retiring Club Chairman Mike McCloskey.

Cost will be just $25 per person for those who register before Sept. 1. The new location is at Delancey Street on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. To reserve a seat for the dinner, mail a check for $25 per person to Sandy Scales, Sierra Club, 85 Second St., San Francisco CA 94105-3441. Seating is limited, so register early. For more information, send an e-mail to

Student Scholarships Announced

Their goals range from commercial pilot to landscape architect to professional photographer, but what the 10 winners of the 1999 Sierra Nevada Scholarship have in common is concern for the environment.

The youths, all of whom live in small communities in the Sierra Nevada, will receive $1,000 per year for their four years of college, thanks to a generous donor. It is the second year the Club's Sierra Nevada Eco-Region Task Force has awarded the scholarships. One winner, Lindsey Hoffman of Benton, Calif., writes letters, circulates petitions and makes speeches to gain support for the smart use and conservation of water in the Owens Valley. She hopes to become a professional photographer and follow in the steps of Ansel Adams. "We live in a visual world and in environmental issues, images make the biggest impact," she says.

Other California winners are Abbey Edwards, Mariposa; Amy Guy, Nevada City; Katherine Haines, Garden Valley; Joseph Haury, Bieber; Heidi West, Susanville; Laura Wilcox, Penn Valley; and Autumn Zengrilli, Pioneer. The lone Nevada winner is Jenny Smokey, Gardnerville.

Go on to the next article, "Legal Victories Overturn 'Capricious' Agency Plans."

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