John Muir:
Family and Friends Conference
John Muir: Family and Friends
was the fifth conference on John Muir sponsored by the University of the Pacific. It was held May 4-6, 2001, at the Feather River Inn in the Sierra Nevada mountains north of Lake Tahoe. The Conference was organized by: Bonnie Gisel, John Muir Center for Regional Studies, 3601 Pacific Ave., Stockton, CA 95211, (209) 946-2527,

2001 California History Institute John Muir: Family and Friends May 4-6, 2001

Speaker's Biographies

Session 1A: Muir As Storyteller

DARYL MORRISON has been head of the Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections at the University of the Pacific Library since 1990, and from 1985 to 1990 she was the Special Collections Librarian at the University Library. Before coming to the University of the Pacific she was the Western History Collections Librarian at the University of Oklahoma. The Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections houses the John Muir Papers. Morrison and her staff respond to numerous reference and copyright queries on the Muir Collection.

DICK SHORE was born in the shadow of John Muir's own beloved Sierra Nevada. As a boy hiked and camped in Yosemite and valleys throughout the west coast, as well as over half of the remaining states. He received his Ph.D. in Zoology at Duke in 1963 and an MBA from Toledo in 1974, in both ecology and economics. He is a Certified Quality Engineer, and in his parallel career capacity has served in both industrial and government organizations. Shore's enthusiasm for the theater has enhanced his John Muir presentation.

GARTH GILCHRIST stretched his boyhood limbs and imagination over the mountain landscapes of Washington's Cascades and California's Sierra. He graduated from The Evergreen State College in 1980 in English and Oral Tradition and received his teaching credential from the University of Puget Sound in 1981. From 1984 to 1989 Gilchrist toured the United States, Canada and Britain extensively training teachers, park rangers, museum staff and other education professionals in techniques of environmental education and in storytelling for environmental education, teaching a wide variety of types of stories: biographical, personal experience, natural history-based, native and other folk tales. He performed stories of John Muir in Yosemite for thousands of students at Yosemite Institute in 1987-88 and developed a series of stories to teach natural history. In 1993 he wrote and began touring Adventures with John Muir in elementary and high schools. In 1995 he wrote and began to tour John Muir: Hitched to the Heart of the World for adult and family audiences. He has recently completed two recordings of Muir stories, "John Muir: My Adventures in Nature," and "John Muir: Stickeen and Wild Animal Adventures."

Session 1B: Muir's Wilderness Wanderings: Part I

DENNIS WILLIAMS graduated from Texas Tech University in 1992 with a Ph.D. in history -having written a dissertation on John Muir's environmental ethic with special reference to his evangelical Christianity. He then served as historian of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency from 1992-1993. He has since served as assistant professor of History at Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma. He has published several articles on Muir including one in The Journal of the West.

MIKE GILLIS is currently teaching in the Department of History at California State University, Chico. He has recently published John Bidwell and California: The Life and Writings of a Pioneer, 1841-1900, which he co-authored with Michael Magliari, and A Century of Tree Farming: A History of the Soper-Wheeler Company. Some of his presentations include "The Transformation of the Sacramento River: A Natural and Human History," "A Brief History of Northern California's Timber Industry," "A History of Logging in the Tahoe Basin: The Transformation of an Ecosystem," as well as a video production of "Salvage Logging in the Northern Sierra Nevada."

NICHOLAS POLOS is a Professor Emeritus of History at the University of La Verne. Educated at Pomona College, Princeton, Harvard University and the University of California at Berkeley (Ph.D.), he has taught at UC Berkeley, Queens College (CUNY), University of Missouri, Mt. San Antonio Community College, the Claremont Graduate School, California State University at Pomona, and the University of La Verne. Holder of several fellowships, including Rockefeller, Woodrow Wilson, and Danforth, he has been honored several times as the "Teacher of the Year" (UCLA, USC, ULV). Lifetime member of the American Historical Association and several other professional organizations, he has published 9 books and 82 monographs in history (California) and education, including John Swett: A California Frontier Schoolmaster, and Preserving the Western Spirit (winner of 4 Book Awards, California Historical Society Gold Award on California History). Polos has travelled extensively, having taught in Japan, Italy and Greece.

Following Lunch 1:15: Hetch Hetchy Valley: Yosemite's Lost Twin

RON GOOD is Chair of the Board of Directors of "Restore Hetch Hetchy," and on the Interpretive Staff for Yosemite Concession Services.

Session 2A: John Muir: Domestic, Wild, and Pastoral MICHAEL BRANCH received his doctorate from the University of Virginia in 1993, and is Associate Professor of Literature and Environment at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he teaches courses in nature writing and American literature and helps direct the Graduate Program in Literature and Environment. He is a co-founder and past president of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE), and is current Book Review Editor of the journal ISLE: "Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment." He has published more than 75 articles, chapters, reviews and bibliographies on nature writing and environmental literature, and is co-editor of The Height of our Mountains: Nature Writing from Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley and Reading the Earth: New Directions in the Study of Literature and Environment. His current book projects include John Muir's Last Journey: South to the Amazon and East to Africa, a textually edited collection of Muir's late travel journals and correspondence, and Reading the Roots: American Nature Writing Before Walden, an anthology of environmental literature from the mid-fifteenth through the mid-nineteenth centuries.

DANIEL J. PHILIPPON completed his English from the University of Virginia in 1998, and is currently Assistant Professor of Rhetoric at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Philippon has authored Representing Nature: American Nature Writers and the Growth of Environmental Organizations, as well as many articles along with numerous book and manuscript reviews.

COREY LEE LEWIS is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he has taught since 1998. He is involved in the Nevada Conservation Corps in Trail Construction and Stream Restoration, as well as the Great Basin Institute and National Forest Logging and Grazing Monitor, and the Sierra Club. He has made several presentations, the most recent being "On the Trail: Place-Based Literary Studies and the Pacific Crest Trail."

JAMES PERRIN WARREN completed his Ph.D. at Yale University in 1982. Currently he is Chair of the English Department of Washington and Lee University. Warren's books include Walt Whitman's Language Experiment, and Culture of Eloquence: Oratory and Reform in Antebellum America. He has also written several articles.

MICHAEL PETER COHEN has received many honors and awards, the latest being finalist for Western States Book Award in Nonfiction for A Garden of Bristlecones. He has his Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Irvine. He has written several books, including The Pathless Way: John Muir and American Wilderness, and anthologies and periodicals. On the WEB he authored "The Landscape of the Grand Staircase."

Session 2B: Muir's Environmental Policy and Legacy

RICHARD J. ORSI received his doctorate in history from the University of Wisconsin. He is at California State University, Hayward, and edits California History, a quarterly of the California Historical Society. He is co-author of The Elusive Eden: A New History of California, and author of a book on the history of the Southern Pacific Railroad in the American West.

NANCY WOODBURY is affiliated with the Legacy Project, Great Valley Center and the Galt Community Concilio, Inc.

RONALD E. EBER has been active in environmental affairs and the Sierra Club for 35 years. From this, he learned to appreciate how the efforts of John Muir and other pioneer conservationists protected the wildlands that environmentalists continue to fight for today. He chairs the History Committee for the Sierra Club's Oregon Chapter and is a member of the Club's National History Committee. He writes about Oregon conservation history and his article, "John Muir and Oregon," appeared in the Fall 1993 John Muir Newsletter. Since 1975 he has been the agricultural land protection specialist for the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development.

CHAR MILLER is on the faculty of the History Department at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. He is working on a new book on The History of Forestry and an anthology on water.

RONALD LIMBAUGH is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of the Pacific. He was Executive Director of the Conference of California Historical Societies from 1990-1998, Director of the John Muir Center for Regional Studies at the University of the Pacific from 1989 to 2000 (the sponsoring organization of the California History Institute), and Rockwell Hunt Professor of California History. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Idaho in 1967. His public speaking activities are numerous and he has published several books among which are The John Muir Papers, John Muir's 'Stickeen' and the Lessons of Nature, and Calaveras Gold: A Mining History.

Session 3A: Muir and Friends: Part I

DAVID BLACKBURN is Chief of Interpretation of the John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez.

MICHAEL STRELOW completed his Ph.D. in American Literature at the University of Oregon in 1979. At present he is Professor of English at Willamette University in Salem. He has authored numerous publications, and is currently working on Three Guys from Wisconsin -- John Muir, Frederick Jackson Turner and Aldo Leopold. Among Strelow's awards is the 2000 inclusion in the Fortieth Anniversary anthology of "Sou'wester."

BARBARA MOSSBERG is President of Goddard College in Vermont. She completed her B.A. in English and history in 1970 from UCLA, and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in literature from Indiana University. From 1976-1988 she was an Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of Oregon, and co-founder and director of the American Studies Program, and Associate and Acting Dean of the Graduate School. She has received university, national and international recognition for her teaching and scholarship. In 1986 Mossberg was named U.S. Scholar in Residence for the United States Information Agency in Washington, D. C., working with federal, national and international agencies and organizations to represent American culture and values, especially for faculty and curricular development in over thirty countries. Her book in progress is Educating for Reality Towards a New Literacy of Wholeness for Leadership and Learning.

Session 3B: The Literary Muir

ROBERT FRICKE, a native San Franciscan, is active in numerous historical organizations. He has been an instructor in California for 40 years, and is Chair of the Social Science Division of West Valley College in Saratoga, California.

SUSAN SHILLINGLAW is on the faculty of the English Department. San Jose State University. She is Director of the Steinbeck Research Center.

EDWARD J RENEHAN, JR., is from North Kingstown, Rhode Island, and wrote John Burroughs: An American Naturalist. In addition he is the author of The Secret Six: The True Tale of the Men Who Conspired with John Brown, and The Lion's Pride: Theodore Roosevelt and His Family in Peace and War. He is currently at work on a study of the Kennedy family during World War II. He recently contributed a chapter, "Comrades: Scenes from the Friendship of John Burroughs and Walt Whitman" to Sharp Eyes: John Burroughs and American Nature Writing edited by Charlotte Zoe Walker.

Session 4A: Muir and Friends: Part II

JOHN PHILLIPS received his BA and MA from San Jose State University in Sociology with a concentration in Criminal Justice. After a two-year period of service with the U.S. Army Military Police Corps, he moved to the University of Oregon where he earned a Ph.D. in 1974 in Sociology. Dr. Phillips has published extensively on the subject of the sociology of sport, including a textbookon criminal justice. He has conducted research on pre-trial public opinion and adolescent drug use in San Joaquin County. He has served on community criminal justice advisory committees including the Stockton "CAP" committee and the Jail Advisory Committee. He also chaired the San Joaquin County Parole Board from 1988-1991. He grew up in Greenville, near Feather River Inn at the height of logging. He is one of our tour leaders.


RUTH SUTTER attended the University of Nebraska, Union College and the University of Chicago, as a student in the graduate divisional committee program in the social sciences. She taught social science and history courses at Diablo Valley College from 1964 until 1996. She served as chair of the social science division, president of the faculty senate and president of the faculty senates coordinating council for Contra Costa County. She has published in the areas of community history and the history of public education. At present Ruth is working on a biography of John Swett.

Session 4B: Teaching Muir and the Environment

LYDIA FOX is a Professor of Geology at the University of the Pacific, specializing in field studies and California geology. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Barbara and her interests are in the fields of igneous petrology and geochemistry.

HAROLD W. WOOD, JR., is a member of the Sierra Club's national Environmental Education Committee, and is Coordinator of the Sierra Club California John Muir Education Project. He is the "content editor" for the John Muir Exhibit, a World Wide Web site devoted to John Muir on the Internet. Wood also chairs the Sierra Club LeConte Memorial Lodge Committee. Last year he was the recipient of the Sierra Club's "Special Achievement Award."

CATHERINE MARIAN SORIA is an elementary school teacher in the Yosemite Valley School of the Mariposa County Unified School District. She organized a two-week field trip to Dunbar, Scotland, in 1999 for the 6th-8th grade class to commemorate the 150th anniversary of John Muir's emigration to the United States. She also received a Fulbright Memorial Master Teacher Scholarship to establish a partnership between Yosemite Valley School and Kishiro Choyo Elementary School, Japan.

Following Lunch: John Muir: His Long and Very Close Friendship with the Henry Fairfield Osborn Family at Castlerock

MAYMIE KIMES and her husband of 67 years were very much involved with mountain-climbing and with the disciple of mountaineering, John Muir. They collected every book, article, pamphlet and photograph about Muir they could find. The Kimes-Muir Collection is the largest assembly of Muir material in private hands, which will form the centerpiece of the John Muir Education Center planned for the National Historic Site in Martinez. The Kimes created a "reading bibliography" in which a key paragraph from each listed article or book is indexed.

JILL HARCKE, having spent 24 years living in 100-year-old farmhouses, was attracted, as a teacher to the John Muir Home Historic Site in 1970, and has been a student of John Muir ever since. Working as a Board member for John Muir Memorial Association at the Historic Site in Martinez, California, led to her co-producing The John Muir Tribute CD with Dan McIlhenny. Recently Jill has been an Artistic Event and Exhibit Co-ordinator for events related to John Muir such as Mountain Days, the John Muir Musical at the Concord Pavilion, Ranch Days and the Birth Day Celebration at the Historic Site, as well as events held at the Borders Book Stores.

2:30 - 6:00: Field Trips

LEE E. CHRISTIANSON is Professor of Biological Sciences and Chair of the Department at the University of the Pacific. He teaches in the area of vertebrate ecology and evolution, and has a special interest in the winter ecology of small mammals.

MIKE DE LASAUX is presently the Natural Resources Advisor for the Plumas and Sierra County office of the University of California Cooperative Extension. In this capacity he works closely with individuals and entities concerning the natural resources of Plumas and Sierra counties. His program has emphasized forestry, watershed restoration and firewise communities. In this capacity he works the Plumas Fire Safety Council, the Quincy Library Group and the Feather River Coordinated Resources Management collaborative groups. He is also a co-director of the widely recognized Forestry Institute for Teachers Educational Program. De Lasaux received a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Management and a Master's degree in Agriculture Science from Cal Poly. Prior to his present position, he worked as an instructional support technician, researcher and lecturer in the Cal Poly Natural Resources Management Department for 8 years. He is a Registered Professional Forester.

LYDIA FOX (See Above)

FRANK HELLING teaches Alternative Education to at Risk Students, North Fork, CA. He is a Seasonal Ranger Naturalist at King's Canyon National Park, and has been portraying John Muir for twenty years.

CURT KRAMER is Professor of Geology at the University of the Pacific. He received his Ph.D. in 1976 from U. C. Davis. He has been with the Department of Geosciences since 1975, and was the chair of the department from 1992-1998. He and his colleagues in the geosciences, philosophy, and economics have developed and coordinated the cross-disciplinary Environmental Studies Program. Dr. Kramer's primary areas of scholarship are in the geologic field studies, geology of California and geoscience education. He is active in primary and secondary education as a curriculum consultant for program review, teacher education and developing geoscience labs.


After Dinner Keynote Speaker: John Muir's Last Journey: South to the Amazon and East to Africa


9:00 - 10:00 p.m.: "In His Own Words"

LEE STETSON portrays American's foremost naturalist and conservationist, John Muir. He heads Wild Productions which provides, educational living history stage performances. His most recent production is a two-person play based on Muir's historic encounter with President Theodore Roosevelt in the Yosemite wilderness.

Session 5A: Muir's Spirituality and the Divinity of Wilderness



THE REVEREND CHRIS HIGHLAND is an ordained Presbyterian minister in San Rafael. He received his Master of Divinity degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary. Since 1995 he has been the Chaplain with interfaith agency serving homeless people. Reverend Highland is author of Nature's Temple: Daily Wisdom from John Muir.

Session 5B: Muir and Friends: Part III

MARK FOLEY is a graduate of California State University, Hayward, with a major in History. He is a volunteer at the John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez, and is on the faculty at Diablo Valley College.

JILL CARLINO was born and educated in England. She studied speech and drama at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and performed in classical theater and television. She lived for nine years in Rome, Italy, and became a film producer in Europe and the U.S.A. Carlino is an ardent admirer of John Muir, and has studied his life for the past seventeen years. Under his influence she took up environmental work to help preserve the last pristine tracts of Temperate Rain Forest on the coast of British Columbia, Canada, to create parks and preserves wherever possible. Working with the First Nations and the small scattered island communities in the Northern Straits of Georgia, a sustainable forestry program has been developed in order to treat and work with the multi-national logging companies, the beginning of a revolution in forestry affairs. Her goal is to initate a dramatized television mini series on the life of John Muir.


Session 6A: Muir's Wilderness Wanderings: Part II

CURT KRAMER (See above)

CHERRY GOOD grew up in the settled districts of England and has been striving ever since to contradict her upbringing by exploring the wild places of the earth. She has been chased by aggressive ostriches on the Ningaloo Reef of Western Australia, had close encounters of the uncomfortable kind with rattlesnakes in the Mojave Desert, and had her supper eaten by black bears in the Californian High Sierra. Her comprehensive knowledge of Muir's life and work means she is amply qualified to follow his trail, by road and rail and air, but most of all on foot, walking in Muir's beloved Yosemite, in the Arizona desert, in Canada, and in Scotland.

GRAHAM WHITE is Director of the Edinburgh Environment Centre, Scotland, and represents the John Muir Trust and Dunbar's John Muir Association.

Session 6B: Muir's Wilderness Wanderings: Part III

EDIE SPARKS is Assistant Professor of History at the University of the Pacific, where she teaches the history of California, the United States, women, and immigration. She is currently working on a book focusing on the history of female business owners in San Francisco at the end of the nineteenth century.

MILLIE STANLEY has lived in Marquette County, Wisconsin, for 25 years. Her roots are located in the area where John Muir spent his youth. Her book, The Heart of John Muir's World, shows the importance of family influences through the years -- in his personal life and at the touchstone in his wilderness of adventures and preservation efforts. A graduate of Stephens College and the University of Iowa, Millie is deeply interested in the environment. She belongs to several environmental, historical, and writers organizations, and is the author of a number of articles.

BONNIE JOHANNA GISEL is Interim Director of the John Muir Center for Regional Studies at UOP. She is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Nineteenth Century Studies at Drew University in the Graduate School. She has her Ph.D. degree from Drew in Nineteenth Century Studies, Religion and Culture, with a specialty in the Study of Nature, Religion and Environment in Nineteenth Century America. Gisel received the Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School in 1991. She is the author of the book, Kindred and Related Spirits: The Letters of John Muir and Jeanne C. Carr which will be available in July.