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Catherine Marian Soria

1950 -
  • Teacher at Yosemite Valley School in Yosemite National Park. Frequently uses Muir as a focus for a variety of academic subjects.
  • First came to Yosemite when she was 21. After living in nearby Merced and traveling to Yosemite many times a year for 11 years, she and her husband moved into the park for full-time employment.
  • Catherine first read about John Muir in Shirley Sargent's book John Muir in Yosemite. She read all of Shirley's books about Yosemite and many others. After living in Yosemite and teaching in the school - very close to the Muir cabin site - Catherine began to introduce students to John Muir's legacy. Her classes read Muir's Boyhood and Youth together and designed tours of Yosemite Valley for students who came on field trips to Yosemite. The Yosemite Valley School students became experts about the park and used Muir as a theme to deliver messages about the importance of wild places and conservation.
  • Catherine has organized and lead three students trips to Scotland to visit Muir's birthplace, Dunbar. The first trip in 1999 commemorated the anniversary of Muir's emigration to the U. S. On that trip students presented mementos from President Clinton and many others to the people of Dunbar. In 2002 students from Yosemite visited Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, the new national park in Scotland. After presenting plaques to celebrate the opening of the park the students then visited Dunbar and reestablished ties with the Dunbar John Muir Memorial Association. Her latest trip was in 2005.
  • Catherine's continuing engagement of John Muir with her students is revealed further in this July 11, 2005 report from Scotland about the Trossachs School evening with Yosemite Visitors: "There was a meeting of minds in the Trossachs on Monday June 20th 2005. The children of Trossachs Primary School ( all 15 of them!) met up with students from Yosemite Valley School, California who were visiting th UK on their school trip. Trosssachs School hosted an evening entitled 'Trossachs Tapestry'. This included presentations by the children of Trossachs School based on the historical, natural and cultural heritage of the Trossachs area. In addition the children were supported by Geordie McIntyre and Alison McMorland, and Robert McFadyen who provided songs for the occasion. The Yosemite students entertained the Brig O'Turk audience in the new village hall with a display of Hawaiian dancing. There was a buffet supper provided by Liz Maxwell, and Sue Peden, two of the Trossachs parents. The Yosemite school students took the Trossachs children on a nature ramble in Brig O'Turk.
    The whole event was inspired by the mutual respect held by the two schools for John Muir. Trossachs School, set within Scotlands's first national park, was linked to Yosemite Valley School by Scott Ashworth, the school's countryside ranger. Yosemite Valley School was established in the US first national park in 1875 - the same date as the present Trossachs School was established!!
    Morna McFadyen, headteacher at Trossachs, and Catherine Soria, teacher from Yosemite Valley School, plan to forge stronger links between the two schools in the future.
    John Muir's philosophy is alive and well and is being carried forward by the young people of these two like-minded schools, albeit several thousand miles apart." - Submitted by Morna McFadyen Headteacher at Trossachs Primary School, Scotland.
  • Catherine continues to promote education related to Muir as part of the Sierra Club John Muir Education Committee and as a liaison for the John Muir Award Conservation Exchange (a Scottish youth group who will travel to Yosemite to earn their John Muir Awards).

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