October 25, 2014

Vera Lis receives Michener Award

Vera Lis.

Vera Lis.

Vera Lis, long-time outings leader for Solo Sierrans, is this year’s winner of the Bay Chapter’s Michener Award for outstanding outings leadership.

Vera, now in her 80s, still leads two events each month. Her repertoire is based on four walks: Emeryille Marina, Point Isabel, Tilden Park, and Point Pinole.  Her walks are mostly on flat or gently rolling terrain, and are usually about two to three miles.  Except for Tilden, all the walks are on paved trails, and Tilden is partially paved.  Vera’s walks are ideal for older folks, but often younger people attend and benefit from the company as well.  A lot of people who took part in 2B’s and 3C’s are now enjoying Vera’s easier 1A’s. The walks start in the afternoon, and are always followed by an optional dinner.

Vera, always friendly, begins walks with a round of introductions, just your name and where you come from, and the walkers do come from all over the Bay Area. On a recent walk, a younger participant, an engineer from Japan, already familiar with Vera’s walks, had just gotten off the plane from Tokyo!

To join in on Vera’s easy adventures, see the Bay Chapter Calendar, in every Yodeler starting on page A or at http://sanfranciscobay.sierraclub.org/activities.

Green Fridays on hold till September

300x400_green-friday2Green Fridays will be on vacation this June, July and August, commencing again on Fri., Sep. 12.

Green Fridays is the monthly slide-show/lecture series with informative speakers that meets on the second Friday of the month, focusing on the important environmental issues of our time. All are invited. Doors open at the Sierra Club Office, 2530 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley (one block south of Dwight Way) at 7 pm for snacks and drinks. Lecture presentation is 7:30 – 9 pm. $3 suggested donation.

Backpack Section makes donation to Bay Chapter

A scene from last year's Beginners Backpack  Course. Photo by Thomas Meissner.

A scene from last year’s Beginners Backpack Course. Photo by Thomas Meissner.

The Bay Chapter Backpacking Section has made a $2,500 donation to the Chapter. We thank the backpackers for their generous support of all the Chapter’s efforts, including protection for the wild areas where the section’s backpack trips go.

Nominations sought for Michener Award

Janess Hanson, winner of last year's Michener Award. See theYodeler.org/?p=7499 for full article.

Janess Hanson, winner of last year’s Michener Award. See theYodeler.org/?p=7499 for full article.

Now is the time to nominate outings leaders for this year’s Dave and Pat Michener Outings Leadership Award. The Bay Chapter established the award in 2001 to commemorate the many years of volunteer service performed by the Micheners as editors of the Chapter Schedule (the predecessor of the calendar in today’s Yodeler and Chapter web site) and to recognize superior leadership by Chapter outing leaders.

If you know of an outstanding leader, send in a nomination. Leadership criteria include concern for individual participants, activities skill and knowledge combined with a penchant for sharing them, the ability to forge links between the Club’s activities and its conservation values, and the number/variety of their outings. To qualify, nominees must be leaders who list outings in the Chapter Events and Activities calendar. Each nomination may include up to two letters of support.

Send nominations and supporting letters by Tue., April 22, to Steve Bakaley, chair of the Chapter Activities Committee, at slbakaley@lbl.gov (preferred) or:

12 Calvin Court
Walnut Creek, CA 94595.

The winner will be selected at the Mon., May 5, Activities Committee meeting and announced in the June-July Yodeler.

Donations to Chapter

 

Sierra Club

Explore, enjoy and protect the planet

Correction (March 25, 2013): It was the Backpacking Section, not the Hiking Section, that donated $2,500.

 

In recent months two of the Chapter’s activity sections have made significant donations to the Chapter. These help us carry out our conservation work–including our work to protect the very places where our hikes, backpacks, and other activities take place.

  • Gay and Lesbian Sierrans–$1,200
  • Backpacking Section–$2,500

Many thanks.

Nominations sought for Michener Award

Mike Hayman, winner of the 2012 Michener Award. Photo by Alison Brick.

Mike Hayman, winner of the 2012 Michener Award. Photo by Alison Brick.

Now is the time to nominate outings leaders for this year’s Dave and Pat Michener Outings Leadership Award. The Bay Chapter established the award in 2001 to commemorate the many years of volunteer service performed by the Micheners as editors of the Chapter Schedule (the predecessor of the calendar in today’s Yodeler and Chapter web site) and to recognize superior leadership by Chapter outing leaders.

If you know of an outstanding leader, send in a nomination. Leadership criteria include concern for individual participants, activities skill and knowledge combined with a penchant for sharing them, the ability to forge links between the Club’s activities and its conservation values, and number/variety of outings. To qualify, nominees must be leaders who list outings in the Chapter Events and Activities calendar. Each nomination may include up to two letters of support.

Send nominations and supporting letters by Tue., April 23, to Steve Bakaley, chair of the Chapter Activities Committee, at:

slbakaley@lbl.gov (preferred)
12 Calvin Court
Walnut Creek, CA 94595.

The winner will be selected at the Mon., May 6, Activities Committee meeting and announced in the June-July Yodeler.

Explore winter with Backcountry Ski Section

David Giese ski-climbing Red Banks on Mount Shasta. Photo by Ken Duncan.

David Giese ski-climbing Red Banks on Mount Shasta. Photo by Ken Duncan.

Winter 2012-13 is off to a great start, and the Bay Chapter’s Backcountry Ski Section has scheduled both day and overnight trips to take full advantage, with more to be added as the season progresses!

Experiencing the Sierra in winter is a unique experience, but it requires skill, knowledge, confidence, and teamwork to travel safely across winter terrain. If you have moderate crosscountry-skiing skills on gentle terrain and are able to negotiate intermediate-level downhill ski slopes, the Backcountry Ski Section may be an entryway for exploring the backcountry. For those already into backcountry skiing, the Section offers a connection to a community of likeminded folks.

Section trips provide an organized way to become familiar with Sierra skiing routes and peaks. Go on a day trip or overnight to one of the backcountry huts. Then go back again and share it with some of your friends. Along with promoting conservation of the beautiful Sierra, having fun, and building our skills, we offer the opportunities to do it on the snow.

Sharing skills and knowledge seems to happen without effort among backcountry-skiing groups. Beyond workshops and training programs, participation in section-sponsored trips is bound to increase skills and confidence for any level of backcountry skier.

For trip information or to get involved, see our web site at http://sanfranciscobay.sierraclub.org/skitouring or call section chair Jim Gannon at (707)525-1052.

Jim Gannon

Helping the Sierra Club get children outdoors

The day's too bright for tarantulas to appear, but we see their burrows and some interesting plants. Photo by Vicky Hoover.

The day’s too bright for tarantulas to appear, but we see their burrows and some interesting plants. Photo by Vicky Hoover.

The San Francisco Bay Chapter’s Wilderness Committee and the Children and Nature Collaborative are working together to promote wild-nature experiences for children.

Our first children’s hike was a special tarantula hike in Mount Diablo State Park’s Mitchell Canyon, led by Mount Diablo Group hike leader Ken Lavin on Oct. 7. It was a beautiful day with 50 people–about equal numbers of children and adults–in attendance. Ken shared fascinating facts about tarantulas, and his associate Nancy Valente shared her display of bones and skins of owls, hawks, pronghorn antelope, and other interesting animals, some of which live in Mitchell Canyon. The children could touch all these objects as well as Ken’s live pet tarantula. They also climbed fallen logs and wandered in the streambed before the hike started.

The group then headed up the canyon with Ken, stopping often to talk about plants and animals on the way until we came to a tarantula’s burrow. The children were awed at the silky threads covering the hole and excited at the thought of the spider coming out. It was too bright a day for tarantulas to come out and let us view them, but there were plenty of silk-covered burrows to examine and loads of nature to touch as the entranced kids swarmed around Ken most of the trip. Everyone had a lovely time, and it felt good to watch the children’s joy at being out in nature and share with them the wonders of it all.

Thank you also to Liz Watson who assisted Ken and happily shared information about the nature surrounding us as we walked.

Children need direct experience with nature to grow up healthy in body, mind, and soul. Today’s children outdoors will be tomorrow’s stewards of the environment.

Future hikes and your chance to help

Our hope is to sponsor a regular series of family walks geared toward children–for children ranging from babies carried by a parent on up to young teens.

Ken is willing to lead a couple of these outings per year–but we need additional leaders. How about you? To get started on leading family hikes for the Sierra Club, contact Hiking Section chair John Hermansky at (415)435-4758 or jhermansky@yahoo.com.

Are you already a Chapter outing leader? Then take the opportunity to schedule a family hike in whichever activity section you lead in.

To find out more about the Bay Area Children in Nature Collaborative, go to www.cincbayarea.org; for its associated National Network, go to www.childrenandnature.org.

Cassie Barr, chair, Chapter Wilderness Committee

Why go on Sierra Club outings?

A walk in Pt. Reyes. Photo: Geoff Gillette

A walk in Pt. Reyes. Photo: Geoff Gillette

Why hike with the Sierra Club? Is it because of our leaders, or the places they take you? Or is it because of both?

When you go on a Club outing, you get a lot more than just a “hike in the park”—even if the outing is literally a hike in a park.

Leaders lead outings because they love nature and enjoy sharing their favorite places. They will often teach you something during your outing—about the history of the place, its conservation issues, its geological formations, or how to minimize your impact while you enjoy it. Further, our leaders are trained to keep you safe and to deal with emergencies. All leaders must know first aid at an appropriate level for the activity.

Which outing will I go on?

The Sierra Club Bay Chapter and other Club entities offer so many outings—and kinds of outings—to so many different places, and have so many different activity sections and groups and committees sponsoring them. Further, every leader has their own personality and their own way of leading. How can you decide which outing to go on? Find out about different activity sections at: http://sanfranciscobay.sierraclub.org

Go to “Get Outdoors” in the banner at the top, and in the dropdown menu click on “Activity Sections”. Or phone us at (510)848-0800.

Try outings in different sections and with different leaders and in different areas. That way you can discover your favorites.

How can I tell if the outing will be too hard?

The number-one factor you should take into account is your level of ability. Most of our outings go to locations which intrinsically require a certain level of physical ability.

That’s why most of our hike listings include a rating of difficulty, such as 2B. The numeral tells distance—“2” means “6 – 10 miles”, and “B” means “1,000 – 2,000 feet of elevation gain”, (the sum of all gains in elevation during the day). The full set of symbols is:

1. up to 6 miles A. under 1,000 feet
2. 6 – 10 miles B. 1,000 – 2,000 feet
3. 10 – 15 miles C. 2,000 – 3,000 feet
4. 15 – 20 miles D. over 3,000 feet
5. over 20 miles E. over 3,500 feet

Backpack ratings include a third symbol for travel: T. trail

1. limited/easy crosscountry
2. moderate crosscountry
3. strenuous/difficult crosscountry.

If you read “6 – 10 miles” and panic—don’t worry; this just means that this is not the hike for you. We have many shorter outings, and also outings with less climbing. If you don’t know how far you can hike, then start with an easy outing, say a 1A. If that turns out to be easy for you, then on another day you can try something harder, a 1B, a 2A, or even a 2B. If you’re still not sure, contact the leader.

If you have mobility limitations, note that a few listings in the Yodeler include the wheelchair symbol, indicating that we believe they will be wheelchair-accessible. If you need further information about accessibility or skills, feel free to contact the leader of the outing.

Some of our outings, such as those offered by our Backpacking, Snowcamping, and Backcountry Skiing Sections, require special skills and/or equipment. If you’re not sure whether you qualify, please contact the leader. You many want to improve your skills by taking our annual Beginning Backpacking Series or Snowcamping Training.

Outings for everybody

With very few exceptions, our outings are open to all. You do not have to be a Club member to participate.

Advance sign-up is not necessary for one-day events unless the announcement states otherwise.

Most of our outings, however, are not suitable for children, unless otherwise stated in the announcement. If you have a child who you believe is capable of participation in a given outing, you should contact the leader. (The Chapter Wilderness Committee is trying to get more child and family hikes organized; see page E for more information.)

Dogs (other than on-duty service animals) are allowed on outings only if specifically indicated in the listing.

We have two sections, Sierra Singles and Solo Sierrans, specifically oriented towards single people. Similarly, Bay Area Young Sierrans was created to provide a comfortable environment for younger adults. Sierra Couples focuses on activities for couples and families. Gay and Lesbian Sierrans was created to provide a welcoming environment for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people. Although these activity sections target specific audiences, they all operate under the philosophy, ‘If you’re comfortable with us, we’re comfortable with you,’ and they welcome anyone to participate in their outings.

Our regional groups are based in different geographic subareas of the Chapter, but you are welcome on their outings regardless of where you live.

So read through our calendar, in each Yodeler starting on page A, or on-line at: www.sanfranciscobay.sierraclub.org (click on “Get Outdoors”),
or read the calendar of any of our activities sections. Sections currently publishing their own calendars include the Backcountry Skiing Section, Solo Sierrans, and the Delta Group. For subscription information see our web site or call the Chapter Office at (510)848-0800.

Find an outing that sounds interesting and give it a try.

Don Forman

Marin Coastal Clean-up Days huge success!

Photo by Sue Lattanzio.

The Sierra Club Marin Group just participated in one of the largest Coastal Clean-up Days in Marin County, collecting over eight tons of trash in two days, along the marshes, Bay shore, and creeks on the Novato side of San Pablo Bay.

Friends of Novato Creek, the Sierra Club Marin Group, and the State Coastal Conservancy, under the leadership of Marin Group ExComm member Sue Lattanzio, organized the weekend clean-up, which brought in over 96 enthusiastic volunteers of all ages. Support for disposal of the trash was provided by the state Coastal Conservancy, Novato Disposal, and Marin County; recyclables were disposed by the Northbay Conservation Corps.

Focusing on the Hamilton and Bel Marin Keys shoreline, volunteers were shuttled by van to the Bayfront levee, covering six miles of coastline in their clean-up efforts. Saturday’s volunteers included 19 students from Hamilton Middle School collecting 90 pounds of trash from Pacheco Creek. Sunday volunteers cleaned up Novato Creek by boat, Pacheco Pond, and an additional five miles of Bel Marin Keys bayfront and creek levees.

Photo by Sue Lattanzio.

Photo by Sue Lattanzio.

We hope to make this an annual event to preserve our beautiful coastal shoreline.

Thank you to everyone who volunteered!

We filled two 30-cubic-yard debris boxes, in addition to pulling out 62 tires, 70 bags of recyclables, a boat, and a couch. The most common type of trash was 600 highly floatable tennis and other types of balls.