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The Sierra Club

John Muir Education Team


The Sierra Club John Muir Education Team is part of the Sierra Club's Activist Network.

The mission of the John Muir Education Committee is to:

  • recognize the importance of John Muir, whose words and deeds continue to inspire us to appreciate and protect our natural heritage;
  • encourage appropriate activities and events commemorating his life and legacy; and
  • inspire all people through his example to experience nature first-hand and to become involved in conservation and the protection of wilderness and biological diversity.

The John Muir Education Committee assists people: to learn about John Muir through its educational publications, website, and curricula; to commemorate Muir's life through John Muir Day celebrated annually on April 21; and other programs to encourage people explore, enjoy, study and protect wild landscapes and wildlife in the tradition of John Muir.


  • The Sierra Club John Muir Education Committee began its efforts in 1995 with the publication of the John Muir Day Study Guide. The Study Guide is a K-12 curriculum inspired by California Education Code Section 37222 recognizing John Muir's birthday every April 21. The Study Guide curriculum is professionally-developed, and is tied to the California history/social studies framework and the California guidelines for environmental education.

    The John Muir Education Committee has prepared a series of Science Lesson Plans, based on the California Academic Content Standards for Earth Science, Life Science, and Investigation and Experimentation). These cover topics for grades 1 through 12 ranging from plant and animal habitats, ecosytems, earthquakes, avalanches, glaciers, geology, weather, biodiversity, and trees, as we discover that, as John Muir said, "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe."

    Teachers and other volunteers are sought to further help update and create more lesson plans using John Muir to classrooms.

  • A free Sierra Club John Muir Fact Sheet with a photo of Muir included is available by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to the address below.

  • Celebrating John Muir Day - This is the online edition of a brief flyer giving background information and celebration ideas for ommemorating John Muir's birthday annually on April 21 is available from the John Muir Education Committee. If you wish to obtain a free copy of the printed flyer, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Committee at the address indicated below.

  • We have a limited number of Larry Winborg's poster of John Muir available for teachers for $10.00 post-paid from:
    Sierra Club John Muir Education Committee
    Attn: Harold Wood
    P.O. Box 3499
    Visalia, CA 93278

    Along with your check or money order for $10.00, please provide a verifiable proof of your status as a full-time or part-time teacher
    (e.g., school letterhead, school address, school e-mail address, photocopy of school ID card, copy of pay-stub (ink out SS number) etc.).

  • John Muir Exhibit on the Internet is an ongoing program of the John Muir Education Committee. More details about the history, operation, and goals of the John Muir Exhibit can be found on the About the Exhibit page. Again, volunteers to help expand and improve the Exhibit are invited to assist in this effort!
  • Join the John Muir Education Team on the Club's Grassroots network.

  • The John Muir Education Listserv is an e-mail discussion list for John Muir fans, educators, and researchers. Anyone, whether or not a Sierra Club member, may join this mailing list to learn and share about John Muir, and programs of the John Muir Education Committee.
    To subscribe, send an e-mail message to [copy and paste into your e-mail]

    LISTSERV@LISTS.SIERRACLUB.ORG

    with a one-line command in the message body saying [Substitute your first and last name where indicated]:

    SUBSCRIBE CE-EE-JOHN-MUIR-EDUCATION Yourfirstname Yourlastname

  • Harold Wood, the Chair of the Sierra Club John Muir Education Committee, was a featured guest on SouthwestBlend.com's ‘Champagne Sundays’ Online Radio Show. This show was a special Eco & Environment show that aired live on April 6th, 2008. Click here to listen to the audio of the show (Shockwave Flash).

Link to the John Muir Exhibit!

If you have a website, please help us spread the word about the inspirational life of John Muir! You can use the following banner, and link to our quick URL:

http://johnmuir.info/
Visit the John Muir Exhibit!

Would you like to get involved?

Like all Sierra Club efforts, the John Muir Education Committee is led by volunteers. If you would like to help our efforts to promote John Muir and his legacy, consider some of the following volunteer opportunities:

  • Join the campaigns to complete John Muir's Unfinished Business - Restoring Hetch Hetchy, saving the Giant Sequoias, and protecting Yosemite and other wild places.
  • Participate in or start a Poster or Essay contest, or a History Day Project.
  • If you are a teacher, send us your standards-based lesson plans for inclusion in our collection of updated and expanded John Muir Lesson Plans.
  • Volunteer to do research, typing, and/or scanning of Muir historical documents and photographs
  • Make a display, or host an existing one, at your local library or museum about John Muir . We have a table-top display we can take to major events in California.
  • Show a John Muir video at your school, library, museum, or club meeting
  • Compile the content for a new web page on some aspect of Muir's life. For example:
    • Write a book review of one of Muir's books or one of the books about him.
    • Take one of the countries Muir visited, such as Australia, Brazil, Chile, India, or New Zealand, and identify his itinerary, features seen including Muir's description, images with links to source websites, a description of those places today, and bibliography for further information.
    • Contribute your own story about how John Muir influenced you.
  • Contact the Sierra Club John Muir Education Committee for more ideas! E-mail: harold.wood@sierraclub.org

Currently active members of the John Muir Education Committee include:

(Affiliations are for identification purposes only.)

Susan Barry, a watercolor artist of Muir and nature landscapes.

Garrett Burke - An honors graduate from Pratt Institute, Garrett Burke is an award-winning graphic designer creating movie posters, logos and packaging for entertainment industry clients such as Warner Bros., Nickelodeon, Disney, 20th Century Fox, Microsoft and the Star Wars folks. His concept honoring John Muir - Yosemite Valley was chosen for the design of the 2005 California State Quarter.

Dr. Bonnie Gisel, Sierra Club LeConte Memorial Lodge, Yosemite; author of Nature's Beloved Son: Rediscoveirng John Muir's Botanical Legacy; Editor of Kindred and Related Spirits: The Letters of John Muir and Jeanne C. Carr, conference coordinator for the 2001 Fifth national John Muir Conference hosted by the University of the Pacific; consultant for John Muir National Historic Site.

Jill Harcke, Educator, co-producer of John Muir Tribute CD and Director of the John Muir Mountain Day Camp.

Frank Helling, retired teacher, currently active ranger-naturalist and John Muir presenter.

Maureen Lewis, John Muir Memorial Association - Education Committee, San Diego and John Muir's Great-Great-Grand-daughter.

Dr. Barbara Mossberg Ph.D, Professor of Integrated Studies, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Cal. State Monterey Bay, poet and author, internationally known public speaker on education and liberal arts. Her current projects including writing a book on John Muir's teachings, summarized in her 2000 essay, "John Muir's Beauty School: The Art and Science of Lifesaving Literacy: Or, Educating for How and Why to Love the Earth," presented at the Roots and Renewals Conference, September, 2000, by the Renvall Institute for Area and Cultural Studies, University of Helsinki. In her work, Mossbeerg integrates arts and sciences, humanities and education around cultural history and studies. Her interests are the role artists and writers play in helping society evolve to be more just, ethical, reverent, and wise. It's what she calls "essential education—literacies for saving your life." She believers that only by integrating arts and sciences in how we portray the world, only by teaching relational knowledge that increases our empathy and ability to understand our interdependence, can we truly educate people for wisdom that will make our species and the earth survive. John Muir's ability to educate inspires practical learning outcomes the world needs now: a commitment to fighting for preservation of the environment.

Cathy Sponseller is a long-time Muir enthusiast and photographer. She has a BA in Geography and MA in Environmental Education from San Francisco State, plus grad courses in Museum Studies. She has volunteered for the National Park Service at John Muir and Eugene O'Neill National Historic Sites, The Yosemite Fund, and served on the Board for the Walnut Creek Open Space Foundation. She also is a fan and volunteer for the Willows Theatre's musical, "John Muir's Mountain Days."

Shan Sutton is the Head of Special Collections of the University of the Pacific's Holt-Atherton Library,holder of the John Muir Papers.

William Swagerty, Ph.D., Professor at University of the Pacific and Director of its John Muir Center for Environmental Studies.

Peter and Donna Thomas are authors and and book artists: papermakers and letterpress printers who write, illustrate, illuminate, and bind their own unique book. They are founding members of the Miniature Book Society and throughout their careers have been active in the leadership of both national and international book arts and papermaking organizations. Since 1977, they have produced over 125 limited edition books and over 75 one-of-a-kind artists' books, including several inspired by John Muir. They are enthusiastic walkers and backpackers, who in 2006 documented and rewalked John Muir's 1868 walk from San Francisco to Yosemite.

Janet Wood, M.S., Geosciences Education, community college instructor and a JPL/NASA Solar System Ambassador. She is the principal author of the K-12 standards-based Science Lesson Plans inspired by John Muir.

Harold Wood Esq., volunteer webmaster of the John Muir Exhibit, and Coordinator, Sierra Club John Muir Education Committee.

Additional corresponding members serve in an advisory capacity, including among others:

Jill Endicott, Vice Principal and 4th grade teacher at Green Valley School in Danville, California, who uses a model curriculum using John Muir as the focus.

Janene Ford, retired Department Coordinator, Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library - custodian of the John Muir Papers.

Susan Liebermann, Educator.

Marian Macumber, M.S., Special Education, Educator in Ventura, California.

Jennifer Rigby, M.S., Science Education, Director, The Acorn Group, Inc., interpretive planning and design, project manager for the California Plan for Environmental Education.

Catherine Soria, elementary school teacher at Yosemite School certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, who leads educational field trips to Muir's birthplace in Scotland.

Daryl Morrison, Former Librarian of the John Muir Papers at the University of the Pacific

Your involvement is welcome too!

Please direct comments and questions to:

Harold Wood
Sierra Club John Muir Education Committee
P.O. Box 3499
Visalia, California 93278
e-mail : harold.wood@sierraclub.org



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