John Muir - Patron Saint of America's Environment


Scottish-born American naturalist, author and advocate of preserving the wilderness of the United States, John Muir's letters, essays and books have been read by millions.

Founder of the Sierra Club, his activism helped to save Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and other Wilderness Areas. He was an ecological intellect, political spokesman and prophet.

The Muir family emigrated from Scotland to the United States. Their Fountain Lake farm - in Wisconsin - has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

Muir enrolled at the University of Wisconsin/Madison, paying his own way for several years. He studied Botany there and then left for Canada, where he collected plants in the woods and swamps near Lake Huron. He remained in Canada - avoiding Lincoln's Civil War draft calls.

In the late 1860's, Muir explored Yosemite and befriended Ralph Waldo Emerson, who arrived there with academic friends from Boston. Muir declined Emerson's offer of a teaching position at Harvard.

Muir pursued Geology, Ecology and Botany, with his paper on the Giant Sequoia published by the American Association for the Advancement of science. He climbed Mt. Rainier in Washington State and helped to claim Wrangel Island - in the Arctic - for the United States.

He was vital to the establishment of Yosemite National Park, served as President of the Sierra Club for 22 years (until his passing) and was in favour of full preservation of wild, beautiful areas. On his meeting President Theodore Roosevelt in Yosemite, the two camped in the back country together - talking through a night that Roosevelt would always remember.

Muir published 6 volumes of writings, all describing explorations of natural settings. Four additional books were published posthumously. In his lifetime, he published over 300 articles and 12 books. 

Muir lives on : His name and image appear on the California U.S. quarter. Named for him are :  a Knoll (University of Wisconsin/Madison) / a Mountain/ a Peak/ a glacier in Alaska/ a Wilderness/ a Monument (just north of San Francisco)/ Parks/ a Medical Centre/ a College (at University of California/San Diego) / a camp and a main-belt asteroid.

John Muir will remain as an icon and inspiration for all those who love and respect nature - generation after generation. 






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