This Friday, April 21st will be conservationist John Muir’s 179th birthday! Many of you have heard some of John Muir’s famous quotes here and there or perhaps read about his actions in history books. In honor of his birthday, the week’s “Your Weekly Schott of Conservation” is devoted to his actions for conservation.
John Muir was born on April 21, 1838 in Dunbar, Scotland. At the age of eleven, Muir and his family moved to the United States where they settled in Wisconsin. Here, his family lived and worked on their family farm from sunrise to sunset. In his time out of the fields, Muir found amazement in the beauty of nature. He and his brother would explore the creek beds and woods learning and acquainting themselves with nature.
Muir also found pleasure in creating new inventions made of wood. He created extravagant inventions, including a wooden device that tipped him out of bed in the morning. He also carved many clocks that kept real time. Muir’s inventions appeared at the Wisconsin state fair in 1860. He won several prizes and the praise of many individuals. In the same year, he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin where he studied for three years before leaving school in order to travel the world.
Muir traveled all across the world during his life visiting China, Australia, Canada, Cuba, and many other places. However, in the end, he fell in love with the nature of California. He spent a great amount of time walking the Sierra Nevada where he wrote many journal entries of the beautiful wilderness. His observation and studies led him to believe in a contradicting idea of the glaciation of the Yosemite Valley. People like Joseph LeConte, Asa Gray, and Ralph Waldo Emerson began to visit with him and he became a widely known figure across the country.
As he grew older, his writing became more profound and professional. Muir began to publish books and articles that called people to explore nature. His writings influenced common folk as well as presidents and congressmen to conserve and protect the wilderness. Muir’s biggest influence on conservation came when he began to speak for protection of the places he dearly loved- Yosemite, Sequoia, Mount Rainier, and Grand Canyon National Parks. His actions played a major part in the creation of these national parks. Because of his actions and writings, Muir is known as a renowned educator and conservationist. He has helped to shape the future of our natural world.
Have you gotten a good look at nature? Have your children? Muir also says, “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” Discovering and learning from nature can be one of the most rewarding and basic learning experiences we have in our lives. A walk in nature is a new experience for the young and old, rich and poor, city folk and country folk. In a world of technology, our society, especially younger generations, is losing this contact with nature. Whether your walk in nature is a walk in a farm field, a run on a country road, or hike at Miller Farm, we encourage you to take a walk in nature with your loved ones.
Source: The Sierra Club
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