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09/15/2011

LeConte Memorial Lodge, The Sierra Club’s Home in Yosemite National Park

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LeConte Memorial Lodge is nearing the end of its 107th season of service to both the Sierra Club and Yosemite National Park.  We have seen an increase in visitation of nearly thirty percent for the months of May, June, and July.  This is great news because we have been able to share with our increasing number of visitors the Sierra Club message—Enjoy, Explore, and Protect the Planet.  We have distributed hundreds of Nature Journals to our visitors as well as Sierra Club tattoos and Beyond Oil window stickers, LeConte Memorial postcards and brochures, and the Sierra magazine and “Outings” brochures. 

LeConte Memorial embarked on a new project this season BEAR IN MIND taking for our focus the John Muir quote: “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”  While the installation in 2010 of a Climate Change exhibit created by George Pettit, the LML Exhibition Chair, focuses heavily on the scientific underpinnings of global warming, our BEAR IN MIND project set out on a journey encouraging visitors to remember that Climate Change affects all life on our planet Earth—after all, without plants (and there are about 250,000 angiosperms which are flowering plants) life as we know it would not exist.  Plants and animals matter too when it comes to global warming just ask the Pika (Ochotona priceps) and the Sky Pilot (Polemonium eximium). 

At LeConte Memorial we built our “Green Bear” with the help of the children who visited Yosemite LeConte.Lodge.w.Gisel National Park on Earth Day 2011.  Grub (as I call her) sits on the center table at LeConte Memorial where visitors are encouraged to write their name on a slip of green paper to build her fur coat for the winter.  One volunteer this season entitled the project “put hair on the bear.”  In building Grub’s fur coat we remember our fellow animal and plant friends.  Grub’s fur coat is made up of thousands of names of visitors from our Global Community—our friends from around the world who have visited Yosemite National Park and LeConte Memorial Lodge

LeConte Memorial will close on September 30th for the season.  We will be back next year on May 1st to open the door and welcome nearly 16,000 visitors over the course of five months.  Thanks to all the Sierra Club LeConte Memorial volunteers—all one hundred of them—and to all fifty-one program presenters who enlightened our visitors during seventy-one programs on topics as diverse as Galen Clark; Theodore Roosevelt; how to draw a bear; hiking the John Muir Trail, to the top of Mt. Whitney and Half Dome; search and rescue in Yosemite; our sister parks in China; stars and the universe; nature music and poetry; the artists and photographers who have captured Yosemite’s beauty for over a century; geology and climate change; storytelling; and of course John Muir. 

Bonnie.Gisel.LeConte.Lodge September 11, 2011 *By Bonnie J. Gisel, curator

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