June 2014 Newsletter

The June (#28) issue of the FoJMB Newsletter is now available online. Please see the Current Newsletter page for full details. The permalink for this edition is FoJMB Newsletter #28, June 2014

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Three Bolts from the Blue

Following Friends’ treasurer Will Collin’s talk to the Gifford Society in late February, he received a phone call from a gentleman in Gifford wishing to donate some books on the history of Dunbar and three John Muir ones to Dunbar and District History Society and Friends.  Will gratefully collected them on 17 March and was taken aback to find the Muir books, all first editions, were ‘The Mountains of California’ and two copies of ‘The Story of My Boyhood and Youth’.

1.  The copy of ‘The Mountains of California’, published in 1894 by The Century Co., is inscribed on the flyleaf “To Rev Hugh Ross with very best wishes of his friend Thomas Magee, San Francisco, Oct 14/96.”

2. One copy of ‘The Story of My Boyhood and Youth’, published by Houghton Mifflin in 1913, has a card attached to flyleaf reading “From Mrs W H Averell, 325 East Avenue, Rochester, New York”

3.  The other copy of ‘The Story of My Boyhood and Youth’ is inscribed on the flyleaf “To Mr Thomas T Bisset, with sincere regard, John Muir, Martinez, California, January 1914”.

Thomas Magee and Mrs Averell were friends of Muir although so far no trace has been found of Rev Hugh Ross.  Clearly, though, the most important is the one inscribed in the unmistakable hand of John Muir.  It is doubly so in that the recipient was T T Bissett, a Dunbar photographer of note and publisher of the Bissett Series of postcards some of which are among the Muir Papers at the University of the Pacific. Research on all three is continuing and more details will appear in the next Friends’ newsletter.

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John Muir Tapestry by Dunbar Primary School

April 21, 2014
10:00 amto3:00 pm

JM_DPS_TapestryThanks to the efforts and enthusiasm of a small group of parents led by Mrs Eden Blair, each of the 34 classes in Scotland’s largest primary school have embarked on a literally massive project.  Eden, herself from the USA, has identified 34 key times or happenings in John Muir’s life.  Each class has been given one event to explore and will turn their ideas into a collage.  The 34 panels and one carrying the title will then be combined into the final tapestry. The tapestry will be on display at Our Lady of the Waves church hall on Monday April 21 between 10 am and 3 pm for the opening of the John Muir Way.

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John Muir, Earth – Planet, Universe

JM_Graphic_NovelAs reported in FoJMB Newsletter #25, October 2013 Education Scotland had chosen John Muir to be a nominated figure in Scottish Studies and funding found for the publication of a graphic book telling of the life of Dunbar’s most famous son. The graphic novel was launched by Scottish Book Trust on April 2nd. Written by award-winning author Julia Bertagna and illustrated by Glasgow-based artist William Goldsmith, the novel is based on the key moments and life adventures of John Muir and is intended to help children develop a deeper understanding and awareness of the natural environment and the importance of protecting wild places. A class set of 24 copies will be distributed to every secondary school in Scotland this month to coincide with the opening of the John Muir Way by the First Minister on the 21 April 2014.

This new graphic novel about John Muir http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/johnmuir can now be downloaded. It is a great resource for children, parents and teachers.

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John Muir Woodland Day

April 20, 2014
10:00 amto6:00 pm

JM-Day-2014-208x300Dunbar Community Woodland Group is embracing the spirit of Dunbar’s most famous son on Sunday 20th April and are gearing up for a day of JM fun in the woods!

10am – Bird identity walk with David Bates, DCWG convenor
11am – Easter Egg Hunt for the wee ones – with DCWG
12 – 5pm – Log Drum workshop with Andy Penicuik
12.30pm – Food/lunch, setting fire in the clay oven and the camp-fire
2.30pm – ‘Mad about Muir’, a promenade play in the woods, by Quids In theatre
3.30pm – planting of a sequoia tree, and wild flowers too
4.30pm – Woodland Barbecue – pay as you eat: venison steaks, venison burgers, wild garlic and nettle soup, baked goodies from the clay oven
5.30pm – story telling around the camp fire

Most events will take place at the Gathering Space near the corner of Kellie/Middlemas Road. All Welcome.

More details at the Lochend Woods website.

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Wild Places: John Muir Film Festival

April 17, 2014toApril 26, 2014

9-jmfilmfestivalThrough a diverse programme of films focussing on themes of landscape and open spaces, The Brunton explores John Muir’s legacy of engagement with the Natural World as part of the John Muir Festival 2014 Thu 17 – Sat 26 April.

WILD PLACES is a festival of films celebrating John Muir’s legacy, presented by The Brunton working in partnership with other cinemas along the John Muir Way, the new national coast to coast pathway. The Festival reflects Muir’s passion for wild places and the environment and celebrates all of the talents of this extraordinary Scotsman – as a naturalist, writer, artist, explorer and founder of the modern conservation movement.

Screenings at The Brunton are accompanied by a series of pre screening talks with experts from nature and the arts including: Countryfile’s Tom Heap, stand up comedian and mountaineer Andy Kirkpatrick, Creative Scotland’s Scott Donaldson and Edinburgh Makar Ron Butlin.

The films exploring themes of the natural world include: The Last Explorers – John Muir, The Edge of the World, Baraka, Grizzly Man, Into The Wild, Chasing Ice, Over The Hedge and John Muir – The Schools Film Premiere. (Full listings below).

Films are also screened at: Lomond School Helensburgh, macrobert Stirling, Hippodrome Bo’ness, Filmhouse Edinburgh and Dunbar Film Society at West Barns Village Hall.

Lesley Smith, General Manager at The Brunton explains: “The thinking behind Wild Places is to have a visual celebration of John Muir’s legacy as part of the wider John Muir Festival. The films and speakers chosen bring together soaring landscapes and breathtaking images; spiritual experiences; edifying and humorous discussion regarding the importance of conservation and the movement started by East Lothian son, John Muir. To link this to the opening of the new coastal path we decided to draw together venues along the route to present a Festival of film: Wild Places.”

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Wild About East Lothian

April 20, 2014
10:00 amto4:00 pm
April 21, 2014
10:00 amto4:00 pm

wild_about_posterEast Lothian Council’s Countryside Ranger Service will be taking over Lauderdale Park in Dunbar from 10am to 4pm on the 20th and 21st April for two action-packed days of wildlife fun and games. As part of the John Muir Festival, Wild About East Lothian[1] is coming to Dunbar this Easter with lots of FREE and fun environmental activities for all the family to get involved in.

There will be drop-in activities to try out including rockpooling, willow weaving, storytelling, bat hunts, micro world, art and many other free environmental activities for all the family. Countryside Rangers will be waiting to guide you on many different themed journeys around the local area to explore the various habitats and discover the wildlife there. Advanced booking is advisable with limited places available on the day. All events are free. Some of the events on offer include:

Rockpooling: Rocks are tough, but rockpool animals are tougher still! Come along to discover and record the fascinating marine life that frequent our rocky shores, and learn about the amazing ways they manage to survive and thrive. Wellies advisable.

Seabirds: The Firth of Forth is a summer home to over half a million seabirds. Join us as we head off in search of diving gannets, crying kittiwakes and maybe even pretty puffins on this leisurely 90-minute walk along the coast.

Tracks and trails: Join us on a quest to uncover which animal placed that print or plopped that poo. Learn about feather and fur identification and hone your skills as a nature detective!

There will also be ongoing drop-in environmental activities at the hub such as:

Fungi Fun: Drop in to find out how the mushroom got its spots, make some pictures with fungi paint and try a mushroom supermarket challenge.

Willow weaving workshop: Discover the art of natural weaving – no experience necessary! Come and have a go at making a willow and rush fish to take home.

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Dunbar Writers’ Wild Words

April 21, 2014
10:00 amto11:00 am

dwg_wild_wordsDunbar Writers’ are preparing a dramatic presentation to celebrate John Muir as an ecologist and also an inspiring writer. Readings concerning John Muir, as he relates to Dunbar but also covering wider issues will be connected by a narrator. The first reading will take place at John Muir’s Birthplace, then open air readings and, finally, a reading at the West Barns Inn.

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John Muir Festival

April 17, 2014toApril 26, 2014

jmfThousands are expected to attend the key John Muir Festival events at Falkirk, Dunbar and Loch Lomond but there are smaller programmed events scheduled daily for ten hotspots along the John Muir Way.

With more than 70 other events taking place in association with the Festival there is something for everyone. Full details are available on the John Muir Festival website[1]. Some of the events taking place in and around Dunbar will be highlighted here too.

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Official Opening of the John Muir Way

April 21, 2014
10:30 amto2:30 pm

jmw_logoThe new John Muir Way links Dunbar and Helensburgh on the Firth of Clyde “sparking awareness of the local landscapes and wild places along the route”.  The route has been developed by Scottish Natural Heritage[1] with support from a range of partners in the Central Scotland Green Network, including East Lothian Council.

On the day of the opening of the John Muir Way there will be celebrations in Dunbar High Street 10.30am-2.30pm. First minister Alex Salmond officially opens the John Muir Way at Muir’s birthplace in Dunbar at 12 noon. All are welcome to come along and enjoy the Festival atmosphere, celebratory art, music, performance and food stalls. A stylised tree will be raised in tribute to Muir’s enduring love of giant sequoias and there will be a variety of other artworks.

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