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Seth Adams – Named Recipient of the John Muir Conservation Award 2000
by Jill Harcke
Seth Adams is dedicated to preserving open space around Contra Costa County and has made a few friends in doing so. Their calls started flooding my phone within an hour after announcing Seth was the recipient of this year's John Muir Conservation Award, and continued right up to two hours before The John Muir Memorial Association's Annual Dinner at Scott's Restaurant on April 18th, 2000.
National Geographic photographer, Lynn Johnson, chose Seth to be the person to take her around Contra Costa County and beyond, to show her the effect of land that had been protected versus land that had not. She was impressed, and Lynn has worked with a few folks over her 25 years of being a photographer. More photographers were present at the dinner, such as wildlife photographer, Michael Sewell and Cherry Good, author of On the Trail Of John Muir.
The guest list actually looked like a Who Is Whom in the World of Conservation and Parks and Recreation. Alexander Lindsay, East Bay Regional Park District Parks, Save Mt Diablo, Muir Heritage Land Trust, Wildlife Biologist, Gary Beeman, and John Muir Memorial Association, were but a few of the groups whose presence was keenly felt.
It was, however, former Senator John Nejedly who not only came out in support of Seth Adams, but led the ceremony installing the new officers to JMMA.
Accommodations from The Contra Costa Country Board of Supervisors, State Senator Richard Rainey's Office and Kathy Hoffman from Congressman George Miller's Office were a few of the extra awards sprinkled upon Seth on this night. The politicians were generous in their support of Seth. It was Supervisor Donna Gerber who introduced Seth. Dr. Mary Leo Bowerman and Arthur Bonwell, founders of Save Mt Diablo, came by to pay homage along with Dan McIlhenny, Co-producer of The John Muir Tribute CD who drove down from Cedar Ridge just to meet and support Seth.
Thanks to our friend in Scotland, Graham White, Maggie Sheils, BBC radio reporter, was on hand to record sound bites played the next day in Scotland on their morning program Scottish Connection. (Who was it that said something about things being hitched to together when we try to pick something out of the Universe?) All three of John Muir's grandsons, John Hanna, Napa winemaker, Ross Hanna, president-elect of The JMMA and Walter Muir came all the way from Southern California to honor the person who was carrying on his grandfather's legacy.
And what is this legacy about? Jonathan Klein, a fourth grader from Mrs. Jill Endicott's class from Green Valley School in Danville, put a lump in this writer's throat when he thanked Seth, simply for coming to his class and teaching about conservation. It was an important reminder of how we choose to carry out John Muir's message today. It is a choice we make, you know. It also brought to mind that our New Education and Visitor Center could be a beacon for this type of message going out to our students as well as serious scholars.
Last year's recipient of the award, Gary Bogue, beloved pet and outdoor columnist for The Contra Costa Times, presented Seth with the book ends made from the wood of a Cedar that Muir planted over a hundred years ago. The tree has fallen, but the wood is being preserved to go in the new Education and Visitor Center, as well as becoming book ends once a year. Gary ended his presentation by saying, "the next time you look at Mt. Diablo you can thank Seth Adams."
It was a night to feel proud of being a member of The John Muir Memorial Association… and the National Park System. We go through the year doing what we can to preserve and perpetuate the legacy of John Muir. On this evening, it was a celebration of Muir's legacy being lived through the life of a very dedicated man named Seth Adams.
"The great wilds of our country, once held to be boundless and inexhaustible are being rapidly invaded and everything destructible in them is being destroyed. Every landscape, low and high, seems doomed to be trampled and harried. The wedges of development are being driven hard and none of the obstacles or defenses of nature can long withstand the onset of this immeasurable industry" [1888 - Essay on Mt. Shasta- John Muir]
"The battle we have fought, and are still fighting for the forests is a part of the eternal conflict between right and wrong, and we cannot expect to see the end of it. So we must count on watching and striving for these trees, and should always be glad to find anything so surely good and noble to strive for." - John Muir
Exerpted from The View From John Muir's Window, June 2000,
Newsletter of the John Muir Memorial Association.