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Yosemite National Park: Parsons Memorial Lodge Summer Series 2020

The Summer Series is one of the least publicized, most delightful opportunities in Yosemite (second only to the opportunities afforded by nature itself).

in a nutshell

The arts and sciences are normally featured in talks, discussion, performances, and other activities every weekend for about six weeks, starting early or mid July. But the pandemic has raised an obvious challenge.

The bad news is that we can't all gather at Parsons Memorial Lodge. The good news is that the events can be experienced by all of us, even those who ordinarily wouldn't be able to visit.

here there be scrapings

The collected NPS content for the 2020 Summer Series is, as of this writing, here. You should really go there. But against the day that it might disappear, you'll see below the (mildly edited) text and links from that NPS page. (For more general use, Yosemite's Facebook page is here.)

These scrapings are of the incomplete version of the NPS page, as of 2020 September 4. The narrative for the Poetry Festival (August 15 and August 16) was not there; there were just the Facebook links, which I've provided below.

Also, a couple of the videos do not seem to have been posted to Facebook; links to the NPS copies of the videos are provided below.


Even at a distance, the Parsons Memorial Lodge continues to be a gathering place for our most creative ideas. Perched near the Sierra crest at an elevation of 8600 feet, and close to where the bubbling waters of Soda Springs return to the air for the first time in millennia, we are invited to ask questions that are deep, lofty, and difficult. How do we live sustainably on this planet? How can we honor and protect the non-human world of nature? How does nature connect us to sorrow and to joy? How do we nurture hope? The Parsons Memorial Lodge Summer Series invites scientists, poets, philosophers, storytellers, and people like you from far and wide to weigh in on this ongoing conversation.

Saturday, August 1

Natural History is a Compass that Points to Love: Lessons Learned from a Falcon, a Warbler, and a Yosemite Ranger

A talk by Richard Nevle, Deputy Director of the Earth Systems department at Stanford University. Richard's teaching and work at Stanford has been wholly influenced by his connection to the Sierra Nevada mountains of California and Yosemite National Park. His teaching, writing and speaking talents move his audience to feel as though we were there with him. He has introduced countless students to the wild ways of the mountains. Richard is currently finishing work a conversation of essays and poems about the Sierra Nevada, with Steven Nightingale through Cornell University Press. He lives in San Jose with his brilliant, adventuring family.

Click here for the video on Facebook.

Sunday, August 2

Speaking with Animals

A talk by Craig Childs author, river guide, naturalist, field instructor in natural history, adventurer. Childs is a prolific writer, teacher, river guide, naturalist and original adventurer. His keen observations in nature flow through his pen into his writing. His writing takes us to his experience whether it is dropping down cliffs to find the possibility of life-saving water, or keenly observing an animal in a remote location, or taking the reader to a village 20,000 years ago. Childs has been a regular contributor to National Public Radio's Morning Edition and a wildly popular Radio Lab podcast. He resides in the mountains of Colorado, off the grid with his exceptional family.

The video does not seem to be on Facebook; click here for the video on the NPS site.

Saturday, August 15 & Sunday, August 16

Eric Smith is a ranger-naturalist in Tuolumne Meadows, a singer-songwriter, and student of poetry. Join him this morning for a 25-minute poetry workshop as he invites us all to reflect, imagine, create, and try on new "metaphysical masks."

Click here for the video on Facebook.

Featured poets are Ada Limón, Camille Dungy and Jane Hirshfield with musician Shira Kammen. The poetry workshop is hosted by Park Ranger and poet Eric Smith.

Watch the Saturday Poetry Festival and the Sunday Poetry Festival on [the NPS] Facebook page.

Saturday, August 22

Jay Leeming, storyteller and poet.

Ranger Karen Amstutz introduces the Parsons Lodge and Jay Leeming.

Her introduction does not seem to be on Facebook; click here for the video on the NPS site.

"We walk through [a story] as we walk through a forest." Join storyteller, poet, and former Park Ranger Jay Leeming for a journey through the wild landscape of stories, to the place where the past and future meet in a moment of delight and possibility. Jay Leeming is a performance storyteller who has spent years telling stories in classrooms and libraries, to audiences of all ages in theaters and National Parks. Born in Ithaca, New York, Jay has acted as a poet in residence and worked as a Park Ranger naturalist in Yosemite National Park. The creator of the Crane Bag Storytelling Podcast, he has authored two books of poetry and is the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Jay lives in Ithaca currently with his brilliant family.

Click here for Jay Leeming's video on Facebook.

This is the end of the scrapings. What follows is me again.

Parsons Memorial Lodge

The Parsons Memorial Lodge is named after Edward Taylor Parsons; you can read about it here. It's near Soda Springs in Tuolumne Meadows. (You shouldn't really taste the carbonated water bubbling from Soda Springs, because it's bad for you. I tasted it, and ever since, I occasionally forget a closing parenthesis here and there.

Other than the archived material, the views expressed on this page are mine, and do not represent the views of any governmental outfit, corporation, nonprofit organization, or extraterrestrial agency.