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Noteworthy: Chavez Nat’l Park / Croation Exibit In Visalia / Future Of Sequoais Trees


Under Special Resource Study’s Preferred Alternative, Newly-Established César E. Chávez National Monument Would Act As Cornerstone For National Historical ParkWASHINGTON, DC – In response to a request from Congress to study sites related to the life of César Chávez and the farm labor movement, the National Park Service today transmitted a final resource study recommending the establishment of a new national historical park to interpret the life of the civil rights leader and preserve the places important to the Farm Labor Movement.“César Chávez was one of the most important labor and civil rights leaders of the 20th century, and the Farm Movement he led improved the lives of millions of agricultural workers,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “Sites associated with his life and the movement he led are an important part of American history and should be included in the National Park System not only to honor his legacy but also to ensure that future generations learn about what the movement accomplished. I am pleased to transmit these recommendations to Congress for their consideration.”“César Chávez was at the epicenter of some of the most significant achievements of the Civil Rights and labor movements in our nation’s history and through his leadership, farmworkers achieved unprecedented labor, political and social gains,” Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said. “Recognizing these sites associated with his leadership of the United Farm Workers as part of a national historical park will ensure that his contributions to the Civil Rights movement will be preserved and shared as an inspiration for future generations.”Historians from the National Park Service, and California State University, Fullerton evaluated approximately 100 sites related to Chávez and the farm labor movement in developing the report, entitled the César Chávez Special Resource Study, which was requested by Congress in the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 (P.L 110-229.)The report not only considered sites for inclusion in the park system but also for additional designations, such as listing in the National Register of Historic Places or designation as a national historic landmark.

Under the selected alternative, five sites would be included in the new national historical park:

The Forty Acres National Historic Landmark, Delano, CA
Filipino Community Hall, Delano, CA
Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz, Keene, CA (César E. Chávez National Monument, established October 2012)
McDonnell Hall, San Jose, CA
The Santa Rita Center, Phoenix, AZ.

 A partnership-based national park site or technical assistance program which provides opportunities for collaborative management to protect cultural resources, provide public access, interpretation, and educational opportunities at certain sites associated with the life of César E. Chávez and the farm labor movement is a feasible addition to the U.S. National Park System. There is a need for National Park Service management to achieve partnership-based protection of significant resources and enhanced visitor appreciation of the important resources and stories associated with the life of César E. Chávez and the farm labor movement.Under the preferred alternative transmitted to Congress today, the César E. Chávez National Monument in Keene, Calif. would serve as a cornerstone for the new national historical park.  The monument was created on October 8, 2012, by President Obama as the 398th unit of the National Park System and includes Chávez’ home and the headquarters of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) since the early 1970s when Chávez was its president. It is funded in part by the American Latino Heritage Fund of the National Park Foundation, which supports the work of the National Park Service in preserving historic places that tell a more inclusive story of American Latinos’ economic, civic and cultural contributions to the American experience.

Croatian Exhibit to Debut at Farm Labor & Agriculture Museum


The History of Tulare County Farm Labor & Agriculture Museum will debut a next exhibit on November 3 – Diligence Grown from Strong Roots: Honoring Croatian Experiences in Tulare County.

The public is invited to attend a reception to honor the opening of the new exhibit from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the museum, located inside of Mooney Grove Park in Visalia. Admission to the park and museum is free.

The museum has collaborated with members of the local Croatian community to create a display that will tell the story of the influence that this community has had on Tulare County.

Photographs and artifacts from local Croatian families aim to showcase the Croatian culture, which includes a wide variety of elements such as widespread participation in the table grape industry, musical instruments and strong family ties.

The exhibit opening program will include: traditional music played by a live Tamburica band and brief talks by community members featured in the accompanying video produced by Tulare County Office of Education.  Deli meats, cheeses, and pastries, provided by A1 Imports of San Pedro and Biljana Koncevski, will be available for tasting during the event.

little snow in Giant Forest in Sequoia in early April

little snow in Giant Forest in Sequoia in early April

Sequoia Trees And Climate Change

By Kate Siber

Who doesn’t love a good mystery?

Stand amidst a grove of sequoias, the largest trees on Earth, and you’ll notice the shade, the peace, and the contemplative silence of other visitors. But you may also notice another novelty: the confounding inability to wrap your mind around the scale and age of these 20-story-tall plants.

“Sequoias fascinate us simply because as living things, they surpass our understanding in more ways than almost anything else,” says Bill Tweed, the former chief naturalist of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and author of Challenge of the Big Trees. “They grow so much larger than we do. They live so much longer than we do. They are so much more resilient than we are. They just appeal to human nature in a very fundamental way.”

Over centuries, these trees have weathered blizzards and droughts, thunderstorms and forest fires. Despite their longevity, however, giant sequoias will encounter novel challenges this century. Climate change will present a number of new threats, as fires grow more severe and winter snowpack diminishes. Scientists are working to understand how this mysterious species will respond, but many are concerned that the groves won’t be able to adapt quickly enough.

“It’s highly probable we’ll see lots of tree die-off,” says Nate Stephenson, an ecologist at U.S. Geological Survey’s Sequoia and Kings Canyon Field Station. “Animals can migrate by walking or flying. How do trees migrate? Well, they die in one place and have to reestablish in another.”

Giant sequoias currently grow in a narrow belt of the Sierra Nevada in nearly 80 groves, many of which are protected by Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks. These giants top 300 feet in height, live more than 3,000 years, and, according to recent research, put on a greater mass of wood each year.

Already, the tree species that surround sequoia groves are showing signs of stress under climatic changes. Research led by Stephenson, which evaluated 18,000 trees over about 20 years, found that the firs and pines of the Sierra Nevada have been dying at higher rates—and that the increase in mortality is linked to rising temperatures.

Scientists believe that if temperatures rise as much as projected in California—between three and nine degrees over the next century—sequoias will be threatened, and seedlings would struggle to establish themselves at all.

Young sequoias thrive in environments that are moist but see frequent, mild ground fires. One projected effect of global warming is that the mountains’ deep snowpack—a critical reservoir for these giant trees—will melt sooner in the spring, meaning that the groves will need to subsist on less water for longer. A drought of only two years can kill new seedlings.

Forest fire patterns also could change. Already, a 100-year history of fire suppression has allowed small plants to grow rampant in American forests, acting as kindling for an increasing number of large, destructive blazes. Mature sequoias can bounce back from fires, even when more than 95 percent of their canopies are scorched; seedlings, however, are wiped out. Under prolonged fire conditions, it could be difficult for any seedlings to grow successfully.

Much is still unknown about how mature sequoias will react in the face of environmental changes—and when. Researchers from Humboldt State University and the University of California–Berkeley are looking for answers with a landmark study of coastal redwoods and sequoias. The team surveyed 16 plots in state and national parks, recorded baseline data on the trees, and established climate-monitoring stations in canopies.

Todd Dawson, a professor at Berkeley and a leading scientist on the study, hopes that the data collected will help conservation organizations, national parks, and legislators make management decisions to protect the species in the future. “It takes a lot of resources and energy to maintain such a massive organism,” says Dawson. “If you change the environment abruptly or in the wrong way, these really big organisms seem to be affected first. That’s why we think these trees could be a pretty important barometer for monitoring climate changes in California.”

Other scientists, such as Stephenson, believe that mature individuals might be more resilient than pines and firs because they have survived nasty droughts and spent millennia digging their roots deep into cracks in the granite. Over their 100-million-year history, they certainly have endured a lot. Still, they have not faced the speed of change the 21st century brings.

But the Park Service is taking action. In Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, fire ecologists perform prescribed burns to prevent massive forest fires and to create the bare, mineral-rich soil in which seedlings thrive. This summer, Yosemite is launching a $20-million restoration of Mariposa Grove, which will remove a parking lot, gift shop, and road so workers can restore soil and ensure that water flows through the area more naturally.

Of course, no one knows precisely what conditions this new century will bring, and it’s likely these trees still have a thing or two to teach us.

“The human mind can become habituated to even the most amazing things over time,” says Tweed. “But the more time you spend with sequoias, the more fascinating and compelling they become.”

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