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College of the Pacific
Wendell Phillips Center, Office 110
Dr. Rena Fraden
College of the Pacific
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, CA 95211

2018 John Muir Symposium

The Practical John Muir
March 23-24, 2018  

John Muir Symposium 2018

Photos of the Yosemite trip from the 2018 John Muir Symposium. led by actor Frank Helling, who played John Muir. 

On the 150th anniversary of Muir's arrival in California, University of the Pacific hosted a symposium exploring Muir's life and legacy as advocate of the practical.  Inventor, explorer, mountaineer, orchardist, nut rancher, correspondent, lecturer and family-man-Muir lived a fascinating life beyond his better-known environmental activism and philosophical writings.  

Gathering in Stockton, Muir scholars and guests explored aspects of this other side of Muir, following his footsteps on a day-trip to Yosemite on March 23 and convening in Grace Covell Hall on the 24th for papers, presentations and discussion.

Listen to Professors Swagerty and Wurtz talk about the symposium on Capital Public Radio's "Insight with Beth Ruyak."

Friday, March 23  8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 

An all-day field trip by bus followed Muir's approximate route to Yosemite. Muir enthusiast and reenactor Frank Helling regaled participants with stories of the history, geology, and natural history of the Central Valley, Sierra Nevada, and Yosemite. Within the park Helling gave a special tour of the Yosemite Falls area where Muir worked, lived and explored during his first seven years in California.  

Friday, March 23  5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Opening Reception in the University Library (home of the John Muir Papers)
Welcome by Pacific Provost Pallavicini and University Librarian Somerville
Demonstration of virtual Hetch Hetchy game.

Saturday, March 24  8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

John Muir Symposium Grace Covell Hall at University of the Pacific

8 a.m.  Registration Check-in. Coffee and Scones.

8:30 a.m. Welcome from University of the Pacific President Eibeck

9 a.m.  Robert Hanna: The Many Sides of John Muir. Muir's great-great-grandson will take us through a very up-close and personal look at Muir's life as can only be told by his family.

9:45  a.m.   Matt Blessing: "The Inventions, though of Little Importance, Opened All Doors for Me."  Wisconsin Historical Society State Archivist will offer a visual presentation of John Muir's wizardry wooden contraptions - some of which dazzled visitors at the 1860 Wisconsin State Fair.

10:30 a.m.   Break

10:45 a.m.  Peter and Donna Thomas: A Month in Yosemite for Only About Three Dollars - The Story of John Muir's First Trip to Yosemite in 1868. The Thomases, known for their fine press and artist's books will share a close look at Muir's first year in California and how they discovered the story.

11:30  a.m.  Lunch/Keynote Lee Stetson: John Muir Live. World-renowned Muir reenactor, Stetson will take us back in time to meet Muir.

1 p.m.    Bob Hare: Following John Muir into Wild Yosemite: Up the Merced and Down the Tuolumne. Hare, a retired curator/ranger/biologist will saunter with Muir up the Merced Canyon and down the Tuolumne Canyon where he has rephotographed many of Muir's drawings from Muir's 1873 and 1895 trips to those areas.

1:45 p.m.   Dean King and Langdon Moss: An Ecstasy of Water & Ice. Award-winning author King and writer Moss will focus on Muir and his intimate link to the giver and shaper of life: water. 

2:30 p.m.   Break

2:45 p.m.   Student Presentations
- Sara Segantin, University of Trieste: THE RANGE OF LIFE from Words to Steps: Sauntering with Muir through Creeks & Crags from Yosemite to the Dolomites
- University of the Pacific Fall 2017 Media X students: Legacy is a short film demonstrating how Muir has touched many lives. 
- Students from Dr. Swagerty's John Muir's World: The Origins of the Conservation Movement will offer a poster session of their research for the class: Fruit, Nuts, and Vegetables produced on the Strentzel-Muir Ranch; Inventions of John Muir; John Muir Place Names; Public Lands Set Aside through the Influence of John Muir.  

4 p.m.  Bill Youngs: "I Should Like to Invent Useful Machinery:" John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, and Alexander von Humboldt - Wilderness Appreciation and Practical Mechanics. Eastern Washington University Professor of History, Dr. Youngs will explore Muir's "practical mechanics" and sum up the day's discussion.

Printable form for Pacific students, faculty and staff (Saturday only)

Please direct questions to Dr. Swagerty or Prof. Wurtz