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Recreation district’s five-part course to showcase ‘Wild Side of Auburn’

Program includes lectures along with canyon hikes
By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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The Auburn Recreation District is taking residents for a walk on the wild side. A five-part weekly series, “Wild Side of Auburn,” will provide an in-depth look at the American River canyon through Thursday lectures followed by Saturday hikes into the Auburn State Recreation Area. “It’s a way to see the area through (several) sets of eyes,” geologist Laird Thompson said. Thompson is coordinating the program with ARD Director Jim Ferris. “We live in a place that is rich with all sorts of stuff out there,” Thompson said. “You’ve got river stuff, rock stuff and plants, ecology and history — indigenous history and other history. It’s such a rich area with so many different opportunities and facets.” Thompson and Ferris presented a similar program with four speakers in the spring . This series runs Sept. 23 through Oct. 21. Roger Groghan, who has a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s in anthropology, will be the first presenter, with a talk on “Native California culture and the natural world,” according to a course schedule provided by ARD. Groghan and his wife, Sue, have lived in the foothills since 1975. They’re active in Protect American River Canyons, Canyon Keepers, Placer Nature Center and Friends of the River, according to a news release. On Sept. 30, Joe Medeiros, retired from Sierra College after 33 years teaching botany, natural history and ecology in the community college system, will discuss “Wild creatures great and small.” Medeiros was a national park ranger and naturalist/guide for Nature Expeditions International. He is the 2009 recipient of Placer Land Trust’s Conservator of the Year award, the press release said. Ferris, an avid hiker and founder of the Canyon Keepers, will present “Hiking on the wild side: easy… moderate… or strenuous.” As part of the Oct. 8 presentation, he’ll preview a 30-minute film, “See ya on the trails,” created with fellow Canyon Keeper Bill Mash. Search and rescue expert Margie Peterson will also speak, followed by a question and answer session. The film includes videos and photos taken on numerous trails in the canyon. Ferris hopes the production will get viewers to “feel more comfortable about exploring the canyon and will show the opportunities for hiking that I think many people miss.” He is the co-author of the book, “American River Canyon Hikes, Practical Guides to rail in the Canyons of the North and Middle Forks American River.” For the fourth session to be held Oct. 14, Mike Lynch, retired supervising ranger for the Auburn State Recreation Area, will discuss “Historic bridges in the confluence area of the American River.” “It’s a great presentation he’s put on in the past,” Ferris said. Lynch recently came out of semi-retirement to serve as the Auburn State Recreation Area park superintendent. He is the author or co-author of five books and gives frequent talks on local history. Following Lynch’s presentation, Terry Cook, Canyon Keepers historian, will lead the Saturday hike. The final talk, on Oct. 21, will be Thompson’s “Rocks, rocks and more rocks,” presenting a look at the geological history of the canyon, followed by a Saturday hike into the Cool quarry. “I often will take (people) into the Cool quarry on the hike because the rocks are quite varied and quite interesting and you see lots of really neat stuff in doing that,” he said. Thompson is a Ph.D. geologist who worked in the oil and gas industry for 40 years. He gives guest lectures at colleges and universities. The high interest and enthusiasm for the canyon made lining up speakers an easy task. “We’ve got a cast of characters to support the five main lectures,” Ferris said. “These people are looking at it as an opportunity to help educate our community in terms of the wonderful resources we have in our backyard. They’re all passionate about it and want to share it with others.” The goal of the program is to do these things for the benefit of the community at an affordable cost, Ferris said. The spring program had about 25 participants. “We’re hoping for about the same this time,” Thompson said. Reach Gloria Young at gloriay@goldcountrymedia.com. ---------- Wild Side of Auburn Registration: Visit ARD’s Recreation Park office, 123 Recreation Drive, or register online at auburnrec.com. Cost for the five classes and five field trips: $65 resident and $70 non-resident without an ARD Passport to Better Health and Savings. With a passport (which can be purchased for $5 at the time of registration), the cost is $50 resident and $55 non-resident. Additional members of the same family will receive a $25 discount off the regular price. To obtain the family discount, register in person at the ARD office. For further information about the course or registration, call (530) 885-8461