RISE Calendar … “Rotary Involvement Strengthens Everyone”
July 16 – Opening of the World War II Memorial at the California Redwood Coast/Humboldt County Airport – 2 pm
August 19 – Field Trip Meeting at Arcata High School to check out its new Fine Arts Center!
September 11 -“Out of the Darkness” Suicide Awareness Walk – meet at the Arcata Plaza at 9 am
Scholarship Winner Returns
Olivia Reynolds was the 2015 recipient of the Arcata Sunrise Memorial Scholarship, and she attends Cal State East Bay. Olivia thanked us for helping her with her educational expenses, saying that, “One of my goals in college is to graduate debt-free.” She said that her first two years at college was a culture shock in the beginning.
Olivia noted that the East Bay school is the most diverse campus in California. “I had eight roommates I had never met before,” she said. She said that she was exposed to different cultures in a different location.
In October, Olivia started working with Hayward Promise Neighborhood, an organization that helps children learn and succeed. She does classroom tutoring, helps kids after school, and works in a program called “Pipeline to College”, which helps 7th and 8th graders prepare for education beyond high school. Olivia said that the program has helped her focus her own studies, as she moves through college.
Life in the Bay Area has been eventful for Olivia. “I went to Pride,” she said, “the Fourth of July in San Francisco.” There have also been a number of social events on campus that have helped her grow and learn. We’re looking forward to hearing from her again next year, if not sooner.
A Visit from Margarita
We had a visitor from Russia last week – Margarita Farkova. She is from Southern Siberia, near the Mongolian border. She said that she lives near Lake Baikul, which is the largest and deepest freshwater lake in the world. She told us that it contains more water than all of the Great Lakes combined.
Margarita is currently studying Business Management at the University of Maryland. She likes to travel, and she has been to various parts of Asia, Mexico, and now in the United States. She has loved music from an early age, and she showed a photo of her as a child, listening to songs while being held by her father. “I love music,” she told us, “but I hate musicals – I don’t know why.” She appreciates Rotary for the opportunities it has provided for her to learn about life in other countries.
President Susan reminded us of some of the good things we do with the FUNds we raise. We participated in the previous weekend’s Sand Sculpture Contest to benefit Friends of the Dunes. Carol Vander Meer said that it was a fun event, if a bit damp.
Susan also said that we are committed to the continued renovation and restoration of Rotary Park on South G Street. She heard from Sunriser Jessica McKnight, who said that work on the park’s mural will soon begin.
On August 19th, we will hold our Friday meeting at the new Fine Arts Center at Arcata High School. We are looking into helping with a major audiovisual project for the facility.
We are also considering a multi-club SWOT project at Redwood Acres, helping to create a new outdoor kitchen/picnic area. And we still have our own SWOT project coming soon to renovate the Manila Family Resource Center.
Lisa Hemphill brought an idea back from the recent District Conference – there is a monthly newspaper in Sonoma County for kids called Kids Soup News. The publication was filled with articles and activities for children, and Lisa is looking into placing copies in the Backpacks for Kids that we distribute during the school year. The cost would be $10 per child per year.
The Bigfoot Trail
Last Friday’s Featured Speaker was Michael Kauffman, who spoke about the Bigfoot Trail. Michael is an author, educator, and grantwriter, and he is also the president of the Bigfoot Trails Alliance. Michael said that when he first started teaching, he kept getting notices that he was subject to being laid off for the coming year if there was not sufficient enrollment. This vocational uncertainty inspired him to become an author, and he began to realize a passion for conifers. This eventually led him to establish the concept for what became the Bigfoot Trail. Michael loves to hike and he soon noticed that the trees on high elevation trails were very interesting. He has written two books on the subject – Conifer Country and Conifers of the Pacific Slope. (Just to mix it up a bit, Michael also wrote A Field Guide to Manzanitas with Jeff Bisbee, Tom Parker, and Michael Vasey.) Michael proposed to take us “on a 360 mile hike in about 10 minutes”, showing photos of the highlights of the Bigfoot Trail.
The trail starts about two hours west of Corning, at the Ides Cove Trailhead. From there, the route takes you through the Yolla Bolly Wilderness Area all the way to Crescent City in a roughly semicircular path. Michael linked existing trails and roads to form the Bigfoot Trail. His goal was to create a path that would allow him to see as many conifer species as possible, in one of the most diverse temperate rain forests in the world.
The Bigfoot Trail traverses six wilderness areas, five national forests, one national park, one state park, one national monument, and five major watersheds. You can see 32 conifer species on the route. By way of contrast, Michael said that he has hiked the 3,000 mile Continental Divide trail, and observed only 22 conifer species on that trek. The local trail also boasts over 3,400 plant taxa, or groups of plant species and subspecies.
Conifers were among the first plants to develop (although ferns and mosses are much older). They emerged about 365 million years ago. “We’re talking about a group of plants that was here before the dinosaurs,” Michael told us, “and they’re still here.” He went on to say that the flowering plants that now dominate the planet developed about 140 million years ago. Michael noted that these later plants rely on animal species to help them pollinate, while conifers are exclusively wind pollinated. Conifers are also able to grow in locations that flowering plants cannot, and they are generally restricted to higher elevations and higher latitudes. The exceptions are the conifers of the coastal temperate rainforests. And even though conifers make up less than one percent of the earth’s plant species, they cover over 30% of the world’s forested land.
The eight main regions that the Bigfoot Trail passes through are the Yolla Bolly Wilderness, Trinity River Country, the Trinity Alps Wilderness, the Russian Wilderness, the Marble Mountains, Red Buttes Wilderness, the Siskiyou Wilderness, and Redwood Country. The Trinity River area is the lowest points on the trail until you reach Crescent City. Michael described the 40 miles of trail that pass through the Marble Mountains “is probably the wildest section of the trail”. The Red Buttes part of the trail takes you into Oregon for about 16 miles before you return to California. Michael said that the 40-mile stretch that passes through the Siskiyou Wilderness is his favorite part of the trail. The final leg of the trail passes through Redwood National Park, bringing you through the redwoods to the coast.
Michael planned the route and hiked it for the first time in 2009. He created a website for the trail and developed a set of maps the following year, and hiked it again in 2011. “I created a Wikipedia page,” he said, “which makes everything a little bit more legit.”
The California Wilderness Coalition contacted Michael to collaborate on proposed federal legislation to set aside more wild country. He said that Congressman Jared Huffman supports the bill, and if it is passed, the Bigfoot Trail will become a National Recreation Trail.
To help provide the Bigfoot Trail with some legitimacy, Michael initiated a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to form a nonprofit corporation to develop the project. His goal was to raise $2,500 to get things going. However, the effort raised $14,000! With the money, he set up the Bigfoot Trail Alliance, created a revised map set, and printed stickers, t-shirts, and business cards. And that still left funds available to improve the trail. To that end, he is developing memoranda of understanding with the Forest Service that will allow him to actually begin the work.
For more information, visit the Bigfoot Trail Alliance website.
Ha Det For en Kort Tid
Last Friday was the last regular Club meeting for our Exchange Student from Sweden, Sophia Waern-Bugge. She prepared a video that showed highlights from her year with us. The photos and video clips certainly evoked some great memories for us – Sophia has been such a great Exchanger. She made some terrific friends, both in our Club and in the community. She also developed a strong bond with her fellow Rotary Exchange Students in our District. Her video closed with the captions, “The only thing I can really say is … THANK YOU … I WILL BE BACK!” We are counting on that! And we wish you trygge reiser (safe travels)!