“Saving the Sierra” Radio Storybooth hits the road

“Saving The Sierra: Voices of Conservation in Action” uses storytelling, radio and the Internet to explore Sierra Nevada conservation issues. In September, October and November, the regional media project will send its Storybooth up and down the Sierra to gather stories at festivals, conferences, and pow wows. The Storybooth provides a unique opportunity for people who know and love the Sierra to record brief audio “postcards” about their favorite places in the Sierra Nevada. Participation is free and open to the public.

The project welcomes anyone with opinions about what needs to be done to save the quality of life in the Sierra–including how to sustain rural communities, preserve regional heritage, history and culture and conserve open space, clean water and air and wildlife habitats. (See the Storybooth schedule below.)

The 2-year project is co-directed by Peabody award-winning public radio editor and producer Catherine Stifter of Nevada City and educator, media-maker and community development practitioner jesikah maria ross of Davis.

“The stories of people in rural areas typically don't make their way onto the airwaves. But getting those stories out to the public is so important. That's why we're producing both public radio and web-based stories. There are 2 million people here and many decisions affecting us are made in Sacramento. People in the Sierra need a way to communicate not only our concerns, but also our experiences, hopes and dreams.” Stifter said.

“The idea isn't to divide people into conservationists and others, but to broaden the conversation. Everyone loves this land. My hope is that in being able to hear other's stories, people will recognize their shared values and that this realization will enable them to envision a future together,” said ross.

The project website (http://www.savingthesierra.org) will eventually stream about 100 audio stories gathered by Sierra College interns who were trained in digital recording and photography and are traveling with the Storybooth this fall. The site is live with a sampling of stories and a calendar of Storybooth venues. A blog will launch in October in conjunction with the broadcast of public radio features produced by Catherine Stifter and jesikah maria ross.

Through the college’s Center for Sierra Nevada Studies, Sierra College’s role is to design and develop the website and to manage the mobile Storybooth. The college purchased the mobile recording equipment which will (at the conclusion of the project) be available for any campus recording projects, such as oral histories. Sierra College also designed the project logo, some promotional materials, and arrange for the web hosting.

To contact project co-directors Catherine Stifter and jesikah maria ross write info@savingthesierra.org


October 7, 49er Family Fest, American River Conservancy, Coloma, CA

October 8, Indigenous People’s Day, Nevada City, CA

October 14 & 15, Harvest Arts and Peace Festival, Intermountain Nursery, Prather, CA

October 21, Loma Rica Ranch Harvest Festival, Grass Valley, CA

November 2 & 3, Curry Village and Sierra Business Council Annual Meeting, Yosemite National Park

Project Partners

Sierra College: Founded in 2002, The Sierra College Center for Sierra Nevada Studies provides public programs to examine the art, history, natural history, and policy issues of the Sierra Nevada and foothills regions. The Center also produces the Sierra Nevada Virtual Museum (SNVM). SNVM is a multimedia, interactive online museum located at www.sierranevadavirtualmuseum.com. Sierra Nevada Virtual Museum is a project of Sierra College students, faculty, and staff; The Center for Sierra Nevada Studies; and the Sierra Nevada regional community. Sierra Nevada Virtual Museum is a nonprofit, educational website maintained for the education and enlightenment of the public.

Sierra Nevada Alliance hosted Saving The Sierra's first storytelling workshop at their 13th annual conference in King's Beach last month. The Alliance serves as an advisor to the project, contributing research, providing publicity for Storybooth events and fundraising support.

The Sierra Fund serves as advisor and fiscal sponsor. The Fund also provides publicity for Storybooth events and fundraising coordination.

Saving The Sierra: Voices of Conservation in Action is funded in part by the California Council for the Humanities through their California Stories Initiative is an ongoing grant line that seeks to create enduring images and sounds of contemporary California life. Visit http://www.californiastories.org