Nature journaling and the politics of water

Bay Area naturalist John Muir Laws in Chico April 27; Code Blue water-politics talk May 1

Bay Area naturalist, writer and sketch artist John Muir Laws.

Bay Area naturalist, writer and sketch artist John Muir Laws.

photo courtesy of John Muir Laws

Notes about nature
The Mount Lassen Chapter of the California Native Plant Society and Friends of the Chico State Herbarium are co-sponsoring a lecture and a workshop on April 27 by Bay Area naturalist John Muir Laws (pictured). Laws is the author and illustrator of The Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada; a number of Chicoans will remember him as the featured speaker at the 2011 Snow Goose Festival (see “For the birds,” CN&R, Jan. 27, 2011).

The workshop, titled Opening the World through Nature Journaling, will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Selvester’s Café on the Chico State campus. “Come and learn how to make nature sketching and writing part of your classroom or family experience,” says the press release from Linnea Hanson, who is on the Friends of the Chico State Herbarium board. Bring your own sketchbook and drawing supplies. Cost of workshop is $100; please register in advance.

Laws’ lecture—Subtle but Essential Relationships—will begin at 7 p.m. in Chico State’s Holt Hall, room 170. Laws “will illustrate some amazing relationships between plants and animals in the Sierra Nevada, and some conservation challenges.” Suggested donation: $3 to $5.

Go to to learn more about Laws’ work.

Water politics
Nani Teves, Butte Environmental Council’s water outreach coordinator, is putting the word out that BEC’s next event in its 2013 Code Blue series is a May 1 presentation called Science and Politics of North State Waters.

“Quite often we are given an opportunity to vote on an issue or measure … [but] do not have the background or foundation to make a well-informed choice. During this event, Lucas Merz, with the Sacramento River Preservation Trust, and Barbara Hennigan, with the League of Women Voters, will be providing a foundation for understanding North State water issues,” said Teves in a BEC press release.

“Lucas will present how water flows through the natural system, while Barbara will cover how water flows up uphill to money,” Teves said. “This is an especially timely event as the governor is looking for a way to fund the twin-tunnels project, which reroutes the Sacramento River around the Bay Delta, and he will likely look to the voters with a water tax or through the proposed 2014 [$11 billion] water bond.”

The presentation will be held at the Chico City Council chambers (421 Main St.) from 6 to 7:30 p.m. As with all Code Blue events, this one is free. Go to to learn more about BEC and the Code Blue series.

“People today have forgotten they’re really just a part of nature. Yet, they destroy the nature on which our lives depend. They always think they can make something better. Especially scientists. They may be smart, but most don’t understand the heart of nature. They only invent things that, in the end, make people unhappy. Yet they’re so proud of their inventions. What’s worse, most people are, too. They view them as if they were miracles. They worship them. They don’t know it, but they’re losing nature. They don’t see that they’re going to perish. The most important things for human beings are clean air and clean water.”

—Akira Kurosawa, Yume (Dreams)