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John Muir: From Wisconsin to Wildernes Icon


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Presentation on the life of John Muir and the Sierra Club in Wisconsin

Presentation on the life of John Muir and the Sierra Club in Wisconsin

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  • 1. John Muir: From Wisconsin to Wilderness Icon
    By Jim Steffens, Executive Committee member
    Sierra Club – John Muir Chapter (WI)
  • 2. The Early Years
    April 21, 1838: Birth of John Muir to Daniel and Ann Gilrye Muir
    third child of eight
  • Primary School
    • 1841: John Muir turns 3, attends primary school
    • 9. Muir falls in love with nature at this young age
  • Grammar School
    Courtesy of Dunbar & District Historic Society
    1845: Muir enters Dunbar Grammar School
    Learned numerous subjects:
    Latin, French, English, Mathematics, Geography
  • 10. America!
    • 1849: At the age of 11, Muir’s family leaves Scotland for America
    • 11. Arrive in New York six weeks later
    • 12. Continue journey to Wisconsin
    Photo of Fountain Lake, Courtesy of WI State Historical Society
  • 13. Fountain Lake
    • After lengthy trip, Muir Family arrived in Buffalo Township
    • 14. Settled at Fountain Lake
    • 15. Muir developed love and respect for nature, wilderness
    • 16. According to Erik Brynildson, ecologist and landscape architect, “This is the first place that any American conceived the notion of preserving nature for its own sake”
  • Fountain Lake Photo: Courtesy of J M Manson
  • 17. Inventor
    • Muir’s father was strict; he was unable to attend formal schooling because he had to work on the family farm
    • 18. In his spare time he created clocks, barometers, hydrometers and various other inventions
    Photo of Model clock, ELMS, Glyn Satterley
  • 19. Hickory Hill Farm
    Sketch by Muir: Courtesy of Sierra Club
    • 1856: Muir family moves to nearby Hickory Hill Farm
    • 20. Muir continues to work on farm until he leaves home at 22
  • Leaving Home
    “When I told father that I was about to leave home, and inquired whether, if I should happen to be in need of money, he would send me a little, he said, ‘No; depend entirely on yourself.’”
  • 21. State Fair
    • Muir travels to Madison, WI to exhibit clocks and various inventions
    • 22. Named “An ingenious whittler”
    • 23. Illustration of Muir invention (right): a combined thermometer, hygometer, barometer, and pyrometer.
  • University of Wisconsin Madison
    • Muir pursues a formal education after meeting Jeanne Carr at State Fair
    • 24. Carr’s husband was a professor at UW
  • University of Wisconsin Madison
    • Muir attends UW from 1860-1863
    • 25. Becomes interested in botany and geology
    • 26. Also continues work as an inventor
    • 27. Creates desk that retrieves books, an alarm clock to throw you out of bed, etc.
    Photo of UW Madison Courtesy of J M Manson
  • 28. Leaving UW Madison
    • Muir leaves the University without a degree
    • 29. Interest in botany inspires him to seek an education in the natural world
    • 30. Photo (right) depicts a Muir plate of a Pickeral weed from Wisconsin
  • Saying Goodbye
    “From the top of a hill on the North side of Lake Mendota I gained a last wistful, lingering view of the beautiful university grounds and buildings where I had spent so many hungry and happy and hopeful days. There with streaming eyes I bade my blessed Alma Mater farewell. But I was only leaving one university for another, the Wisconsin University for the University of Wilderness”
  • 31. A Glimpse of Conservation
    Photo of Fountain Lake, 1923; Courtesy of WI State Historical Society
    • After leaving UW, Muir returns to Fountain Lake
    • 32. Attempts to save portion of Fountain Lake farm for it’s beauty alone
  • Canada
    • At the age of 26, Muir ventures off to Canada
    • 33. Works at Trout’s sawmill and attempts to improve efficiency
    • 34. Obtains another job in industry, but the location burns down
    • 35. Shortly after Muir returns to the United States
    • 36. Obtains work in a carriage factory in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Life Changing Accident
    • 1867 Muir is temporarily blinded in a factory accident
    • 37. Decides that he should not be spending his time doing factory work but rather studying nature
  • 1,000 Mile Walk
    • September 1, 1867: Muir sets out on 1,000 mile walk from Indianapolis to Gulf of Mexico and Cuba
    • 38. Observes plants, animals and physical features of the country
    • 39. Kept extensive journals
    • 40. Published after his death “A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf”
  • After 1000 mile walk Muir sails to California
    Has first visit to Yosemite
  • 41. Yosemite
    • 1869 Muir spends first summer in High Sierra Nevada Mountains
    • 42. Hikes, climbs, and studies ranges and glaciers
    • 43. Develops controversial theory of glaciation of Yosemite
    • 44. 1870 Muir guides tours of Yosemite
  • John LeConte
    • 1870 Muir meets LeConte in Yosemite
    • 45. Explored, climbed, and mapped much of Yosemite
    • 46. Beginning of a life long friendship
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
    • Emerson visits Muir in Yosemite
    • 47. Muir greatly influenced by Emerson’s writings
    • 48. Transcendentalism
    • 49. “He is more wonderful than Thoreau” - Emerson’s view of Muir
    • 50. Wanted to camp but Emerson not allowed because of age
  • Hetch-Hetchy
    • Muir makes first visit in 1871
    • 51. Beauty of Hetch-Hetchy influences Muir to fight for it’s conservation until his death
  • Lobbying
    • 1876 Muir lobbies for forest protection and conservation
    • 52. 1877 continues to guide tours of scenic areas
    • 53. Of importance: Asa Gray of Harvard and Sir Joseph Hooker of England in Shasta Region
  • Muir and Family
    • 1874 at 36 years Muir meets Louie Wanda Stretzel
    • 54. Daughter of a
    • 1880 Muir and
    Stretzel marry
    • Have two daughters
    Helen (1886) and
    Wanda (1881)
  • 55. Creation of Sierra Club
    • Throughout marriage Muir continues to travel the country
    • 56. Exploring nature and developing thoughts on conservation
    • 57. 1892 Muir co-founded Sierra Club to “make the mountains glad”
    Photo taken from John Muir Woods
  • 58. Mount Rainier
    • 1893 Muir campaigns for creation Mount Rainier National Park
    • 59. 1895 at Sierra Club meeting discusses preserving national parks and forests
    • 60. 1899 Mount Rainier National Park est.
  • First Annual Sierra Club Outing
    • 1901 Muir leads first annual trip to mountains
    • 61. Nearly 100 Sierra Club members travel Yosemite for a month
    • 62. LeConte dies on Yosemite outing
  • Photo from 1902 Outing Courtesy of University of California
  • 63. Teddy Roosevelt
    • 1903 Muir took Teddy on guided tour of Yosemite
    • 64. Muir great influence on Roosevelt
    • 65. During his presidency
    • 66. 5 National Parks
    • 67. 18 National Monuments
    • 68. 55 National Bird Sanctuaries
    • 69. 150 National Forests
    Photo from Sierra Club Colby Library
  • 70. An End to A Chapter
    • December 24, 1914 Muir dies in California Hospital from pneumonia
    • 71. Buried in Strentzel family cemetery in Martinez, CA
    • 72. His presence continues to live on through the organization he founded and the nature he preserved
  • Today’s Sierra Club
    • Sierra Club is the oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States.
    • 73. 1.3 million members in North America
    • 74. We use grassroots activism, public education, lobbying and litigation to protect natural resources.
  • Sierra Club Mission
    • To explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth;
    • 75. To practice and promote the responsible use of the
    • 76. earth's ecosystems and resources;
    • 77. To educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and
    • 78. To use all lawful means to carry out these objectives.
  • National Sierra Club Outings
    National Outings Program
    Offers more than 330 exciting outings each year for Sierra Club members.
    From backpacking in the Sierra Nevada to whale watching in Hawaii; from trekking in Nepal to bird watching in Brazil………
  • 79. Sierra Club Accomplishments
    • Establishment, expansion, and protection of many national parks, including significant parts of Yosemite and Yellowstone
    • 80. Enactment of the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act
    • 81. National monument status for Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante
    • 82. Enactment of Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act designating more than 100 million acres of parks, wildlife refuges, and wilderness areas.
  • Sierra Club Regions
    WI Regional Office
    122 West Washington Ave, #830, Madison,
    (608) 257-4994
    • Emily Green, Great Lakes Program Director
    • 83. Jennifer Feyerherm, WI Clean Energy Campaign Director
    • 84. Emily Miota, Beyond Coal
    • 85. Judy Hofrichter, Coal Campaign Supervisor
    Sierra Club Regions:
    • Central: ND, SD, NE, KS, OK, LA, AR, MO, IA, MN, WI, IL, MI, IN, OH, MS, AL, TX
    • 86. Western: WA, OR, CA, HI, MT, NV, ID, WY, UT, CO, AZ, NM, El Paso (TX)
    • 87. Eastern: GA, FL, PR, NC, SC, VA, WV, DC, MD, DE, PA, NJ, CT, RI, NY, MA, NH, VT, ME, KY, TN (plus DC, PR)
  • Sierra Club Chapters: 67 Chapters in US and Canada
  • 88. Sierra Club – John Muir Chapter
    • Formed in 1963, we are the statewide branch of the Sierra Club in Wisconsin
    • 89. We follow the footsteps of legendary Wisconsin conservationists: John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Sigurd Olson and Gaylord Nelson 
    • 90. Executive Committee of Volunteer Leaders
    • 91. Three Paid Staff: Chapter Director, Coordinator, Programs Apprentice
    • 92. 15,000 members and seven local groups in Wisconsin
  • Sierra Club John Muir Chapter: Reducing Global Warming
    • Stopping Alliant Energy from building a dirty, 300 MW coal plant in Cassville or Portage
    • 93. Winning a precedent-setting lawsuit against the Charter Street coal plant that requires all state-owned coal plants to comply with the Clean Air Act
    • 94. Creating a clean energy future for Madison by spurring on Governor Doyle to announce that all three coal plants would be replaced with cleaner, more efficient energy sources.
    • 95. Promoting energy efficiency and renewables by getting 19 Cities and one County to sign on to Wisconsin’s Cool Cities program
    • 96. Helping to pass a 15% improvement in energy efficiency for building codes for new homes by encouraging code officials to vote for this update.
  • Sierra Club- John Muir Chapter: Protecting Wisconsin’s Water
    • We thwarted Perrier’s plans to build a water-bottling plant in Adams County.
    • 97. We stopped Exxon’s plans to build a toxic mine at the headwaters of the Wolf River.
    • 98. We pushed for the continuing clean-up dangerous polychlorinated biphenals (PCBs) from the Fox River.
    • 99. We helped protect the St. Croix River, by advocating for its designation as a Wild and Scenic River.
    • 100. We passed the historic Great Lakes Compact!
  • Sierra Club- John Muir Chapter
    • Muir View newsletter and eNews!
    • Take Action! Statewide Action Alerts, link to national alerts:
    • 101. Press Releases and News Coverage:
    • Upcoming Events:
    • 2010-11 Legislative Tracker
    • Outings:
  • John Muir Chapter Leaders
    2011 Officers
    • Chair Liz Wessel
    • 102. Vice Chair Marilyn Pedretti
    • 103. Treasurer Harriet Iwamoto
    • 104. Secretary Jim Kerler
    Committee Chairs
    • Conservation Will Stahl
    • 105. Political Dave Blouin
    • 106. Legislative Caryl Terrell
    • 107. Fundraising Sarah Streed
  • Local Sierra Club Groups in Wisconsin
    Groups: The finger on the pulse of local issues and a local outlet for environmental education, outings and outreach;
    Ideal for direct community action (like local roadside clean-ups, invasives removal or recycling programs)
  • 108. John Muir ChapterRiver Touring Section
    • Meg Nelson, Chair
    • 109.
    • 110. Purpose: To coordinate paddling trips, to promote on-the-water safety and improve paddling skills, to support river conservation organizations
  • Sierra Student Coalition
    Purpose: The student arm of Sierra Club, Sierra Student Coalition is a broad network of high school and college youth (ages 17-30) from around the country working to protect the environment.
  • 111. John Muir Chapter: Inner City Outings (Madison)
    Ann Catlett, (608) 233-5840
    Purpose: ICO offers hiking and camping trips, boating and skiing outings, and other outdoor adventures to underprivileged youth in the Madison area.
  • 112. Questions?
    Sierra Club – John Muir Chapter
    222 South Hamilton St, #1, Madison, WI 53703
    (608) 256-0565