In 1990, residents on Nevada Count's San Juan Ridge founded a nonprofit organization dedicated to forest stewardship.
Within a year, the Yuba Watershed Institute entered into a unique partnership with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to collaborate in the planning and management of nine forested BLM parcels on the Ridge. Since then, this joint effort has resulted in a 200-year management plan for 1,800 acres of federal forest lands.
Next week, the institute will highlight its 20-year anniversary with another major project: Publication of a book, "The Nature of This Place: Investigations and Adventures in the Yuba Watershed," examining the natural world of the Yuba River region
The book presents essays, news, research findings, original art, photographs and poems from the pages of the institute's journal, "Tree Rings." Established in 1991 by San Juan Ridge resident and Nevada County architect Bruce Boyd, the journal provided an early forum for the place-based thinking and writing.
"One of the things that I really liked about being editor of 'Tree Rings' was giving very talented writers the opportunity to do something in a relaxed style," Boyd said. "The journal let them get out of their highly technical or critical areas."
Among the 68 contributors are Pulitzer-winning writer Gary Snyder (and a founding member), naturalist and author David Lukas, poet and storyteller Steve Sanfield, historian Hank Meals and poet Molly Fisk. Other contributors are loggers, ecologists, foresters and crafts people.
"The Nature of This Place: Investigations and Adventures in the Yuba Watershed," will be released Nov. 6 at the institute's 20th anniversary celebration at the North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center, 17894 Tyler-Foote Crossing Road, on the San Juan Ridge, off Highway 49 northwest of Nevada City.
The event will feature an exhibit of wildlife photos taken by remote camera, book readings, and wild food and drink tastings.
Snyder, Lukas and Bellon will read excerpts and sign copies at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18, at Mowen Solinsky Gallery, 225 Broad St., downtown Nevada City.
After Nov. 6, the book will be available at local bookstores, from publisher Comstock Bonanza Press (ComstockBonanza.com) of Grass Valley, and the Yuba Watershed Institute.