John Muir Birthday
"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."
~ John Muir (1838-1914)
Also known as "John of the Mountains" and "Father of the National Parks", Scottish American John Muir (1838-1914) was an influential naturalist, author, environmental philosopher, glaciologist, and early advocate for the preservation of wilderness in the United States of America. His letters, essays, and books describing his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada, have been read by millions, and his activism helped to preserve the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and many other wilderness areas. Amongst the many place names in California which stand as a testament to his legacy, his name is also memorialized in Muirite (a mineral), Erigeron muirii, Carlquistia muirii (two species of aster), Ivesia muirii (a member of the rose family), Troglodytes troglodytes muiri (a wren), Ochotona princeps muiri (a pika), Thecla muirii (a butterfly), and Amplaria muiri (a millipede)!
Today we celebrate with the "John Muir" tartan, designed to honor the man today regarded as "The Father of Conservation," on his birthday, April 21.
John Muir (1838-1914) was a Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States. His letters, essays, and books telling of his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada of California, have been read by millions. His activism helped to preserve the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and other wilderness areas. The Sierra Club, which he founded, is a prominent American conservation organization. The 211-mile (340 km) John Muir Trail, a hiking trail in the Sierra Nevada, was named in his honor. Other such places include Muir Woods National Monument, Muir Beach, John Muir College, Mount Muir, Camp Muir and Muir Glacier. In Scotland, the John Muir Way, a 130 mile long distance route, was named in honor of him.
In his later life, Muir devoted most of his time to the preservation of the Western forests. He petitioned the U.S. Congress for the National Park bill that was passed in 1890, establishing Yosemite National Park. The spiritual quality and enthusiasm toward nature expressed in his writings inspired readers, including presidents and congressmen, to take action to help preserve large nature areas. He is today referred to as the "Father of the National Parks."
The John Muir tartan was created in 1998 by David McGill for the 150th anniversary of John Muir’s arrival in the United States and was launched at a reception in the San Francisco Bay area City of Pleasanton in 2002 when Muir’s grand-son accepted an inscribed tartan clock and picture frame on behalf of the Muir family.
Muir has been considered 'an inspiration to both Scots and Americans'. Muir's biographer, Steven J. Holmes, believes that Muir has become "one of the patron saints of twentieth-century American environmental activity," both political and recreational. As a result, his writings are commonly discussed in books and journals, and he is often quoted by nature photographers such as Ansel Adams.
On April 21, 2013, the first ever John Muir Day was celebrated in Scotland, which marked the 175th anniversary of his birth, paying homage to the conservationist.
As stated by the designer, "The colours in the John Muir Tartan were chosen to represent what Muir first saw, and invited us all to see, long before man walked on the moon: the earth spinning silently through infinite space.”
For more about John Muir, click the picture of Yosemite, John Muir's Wilderness.