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2014 John Muir Symposium

What has been saved; what has been lost: John Muir's Legacy, 1914-2014

University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA,
March 21-22, 2014

The University of the Pacific's John Muir Center celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant, the 100th anniversary of Muir’s death and the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon, and the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Wilderness Act by another conference to revisit John Muir’s life and legacy. University of the Pacific hosted the 60th California History Institute on its Stockton campus from Friday, March 21, through Saturday, March 22, 2014. This was the 8th of the series of conferences on John Muir sponsored by the University of the Pacific. Papers were presented by new Muir scholars currently working Muir’s legacy, as well as several familiar names who have become regulars at Muir symposia. Plenary sessions and keynotes were given by three scholars now living in the U. K.: Terry Gifford, Graham White and Andrea Wulf. A special exhibit on the history of the Muir Papers and their present locations was included, as well as coordinated field trips before the symposium.


March 20 Field Trip for John Muir Class and other Pacific students to Martinez to visit John Muir National Historic Site.

March 21 Field Trip to Coulterville (John Muir Geotourism Center), John Muir Highway, Groveland, Crane Flat, with lunch in Coulterville at the historic Jeffery Hotel (a fee event).

March 22 "What has been saved; what has been lost: John Muir's Legacy, 1914-2014" - An all-day symposium on campus in Grace Covell Hall.

9 AM to 4:30 PM by registration only -Reception to follow in the University Library.

In the one hundred years since John Muir's death, we raise the question: what has been saved; what has been lost that can be directly associated with Muir's pioneering efforts in conservation and his philosophy and vision of preservation, protection, and wise-public-use which led to establishment of many federal, state, and local parks, preserves, and recreational areas throughout the world, and especially in North America.

8:30 AM Registration in the lobby of Grace Covell Hall (coffee, tea and scones provided).

9:00 Welcome; President Pamela Eibeck, University of the Pacific;

9:15 John Muir's Connection with University of the Pacific. W. R. Swagerty, Director, Muir Center

9:30 Terry Gifford, "Muir, Ruskin, Uncle Sam, Planet Earth: Gains and Losses"
Terry Gifford is the author of Reconnecting With John Muir: Essays in Post-Pastoral Practice (2006) and editor of John Muir: The Eight Wilderness-Discovery Books (1992) and John Muir: His Life and Letters and Other Writings (1996). Also the author of Pastoral (1999), Ted Hughes (2009) and Green Voices: Understanding Contemporary Nature Poetry (1995, 2nd edition, 2011), he has seven collections of poetry and has co-edited several books, most recently, with Teresa Gomez, Women in Transit Through Literary Liminal Spaces (2013). Among his recent essays is “Ownership and access in the work of John Muir, John Buchan and Andrew Greig” (Green Letters 17:2). A pioneering British ecocritic, Terry Gifford is Visiting Scholar at Bath Spa University's Centre for Writing and Environment, UK, and Senior Research Fellow and Profesor Honorifico at the University of Alicante, Spain..

10:30 Graham White, "John Muir: The Moral Imperative of Environmental Education"
Graham White holds a first class honors degree in History of Ideas, Modern European Literature and Political Science as well as a Teaching Diploma in English and Liberal Studies. From 1998 onwards he was founding Director of the Edinburgh's Environment Center, which pioneered environmental education in Scotland from 1979 until 2001. In the 1980s he served on the Education Committee of the John Muir Trust in Scotland and in 1986, proposed that a John Muir Award should be established by the Trust in the UK as a national scheme for people of all ages; over 150,000 people have now completed the Award in the UK. He is author/ editor of: The Scottish Environmental Handbook; The Nature of Scotland - Landscape Wildlife and People; John Muir- Journeys in the Wilderness; John Muir; From Scotland to the Sierra; Sacred Summit - John Muir's Greatest Climbs. As a beekeeper and conservationist, he has devoted much of the last eight years to campaigning against the global use of neonicotinoid pesticides, widely held to be responsible for the deaths of over ten million bee colonies in the United States, and for the deaths of uncountable millions of birds, amphibians and other pollinating insects. He was very involved in the campaign to get these neurotoxic pesticides banned in the twenty-seven countries of the European Union, which came into effect in December 2013; they remain legal in the USA where they are used on over 200 million acres of corn, soybeans, canola, wheat, potatoes and fruit.

11:45 Lunch Buffet (a fee event; see registration form).

12:30 PM Keynote, Andrea Wulf, "Cosmos, Nature and the Web of Life. Alexander von Humbold's influence on John Muir."
Andrea Wulf was born India, moved to Germany as a child, and now lives in Britain. She is the author of several books. Her book The Brother Gardeners. Botany, Empire and the Birth of an Obsession won tge American Horticultural Society 2010 Book Award and was long-listd for the Samuel Johnson Prize 2008, the most prestigious non-fiction award in the UK. The Founding Gardeners, The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation was published under great acclaim in spring 2011 and made it on the New York Times Best Seller List. Andrea has written for many newspapers including the Guardian, the LA Times and the New York Times. She was the Eccles British Library Writer in Residence 2013 and a three-time fellow of the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello. She also appears regularly on NPT in the US, and on radio and TV programmes on the BBC in the UK. She currently working on a book called 'The Invention of Nature' about Alexander von Humboldt and his influence on scientists, thinkers and poets (published by Knopf in late 2015).

1:30 PM Ronald Eber, "The Eternal Battle - The Wilderness Legacy of John Muir."
Ronald Eber is Historian for the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club. He has held many Sierra Club positions including National Campus Coordinator in 1971 and Chair and Wilderness Coordinator of the Oregon Chapter from 1980 -1985. He has written two previous essays for this conference entitled "John Muir and the Pioneer Conservationists of the Pacific Northwest" and "Wealth and Beauty - John Muir and Forest Conservation" that were published in the conference proceedings. He currently lives near Port Gamble, Washington.

2:20 PM Doug Scott, "John Muir: Blazing the Path Toward the 1964 Wilderness Act and 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act"
Doug Scott worked for forty years as a lobbyist and strategist persuading Congress to designate additional wilderness areas. He is proudest of his leadership role in the campaign for the historic Alaska National Interest lands Act of 1980. He is the author of The Enduring Wilderness: Preserving our Natural Heritage through the Wilderness Act (Fulcrum 2004) and Our Wilderness: America's Common Ground (Fulcrum 2009), and of Wild Thoughts, a collection of excerpts of great writing about nature, wilderness, and the people who love them (forthcoming).

3:00 PM Stephen Holmes, "Muir's Cultural Legacy: Science and Storytelling from 'The California Alps' to Climate Change Communication"
Steven Pavlos Holmes, Ph.D., is an independent scholar of the environmental humanities, with a special interest in the emotional, ethical, and spiritual dimensions of our interactions with the natural world. He is the author of The Young John Muir: An Environmental Biography (winner of the Modern Language Association's Prize for Independent Scholars) and of A Healing Landscape: Environmental and Social History of Mass Audubon's Boston Nature Center and most recently editor of Facing the Change: Personal Encounters with Global Warming (Torrey House Press, 2013). He has taught at Harvard University and at the Cambridge (Mass.) Center for Adult Education. He lives with his partner Carlene Pavlos and their cat Millet in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.

3:45-4:30 PM John Muir Class University of the Pacific
Six students chosen from the twenty-six in Pacific's University-level course focusing on "John Muir's World: the Origins of the Conservation Movement" will summarize their research project connecting Muir with legacy people and places.

4:30-4:45 Wrap Up.

5:00-6:00 PM. Reception, University Library




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