In November and December 2006, The California Report, a public affairs broadcast presented on National Public Radio, aired a three-part series entitled “Preserving a Rural Sierra.” The reports were produced by award-winning journalists Catherine Stifter and jesikah maria ross as part of a project entitled “Saving the Sierra: Voices of Conservation in Action.” Sierra College is a partner in this project. The three reports are compiled in this SierraCast.
The California Council for Humanities has recently granted funding to a project entitled “Saving The Sierra: Voices of Conservation in Action.” Sierra College is a partner in this multi-year project.
Community-based conservationists are champions of place; preserving not only the environment, but also the history, culture and economy of the Sierra Nevada. Saving The Sierra (STS) documents their struggles and successes in public radio reports. A mobile story booth (which will allow for onsite recording and archiving of Sierra conservation stories), listening workshops and a website create numerous opportunities for public interaction and dialogue.
This project will highlight contemporary efforts to save and renew the Sierra Nevada. The project reports will be presented on National Public Radio programs, such as The California Report.
Saving the Sierra draws upon the advice of humanities experts from the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Vermont; San Francisco State University; and Sierra College’s own Dr. David Beesley, History Professor Emeritus.
The Project Coordinators — Catherine Stifter and Jesikah Maria Ross — have decades of experience in producing radio and film documentaries. They have won numerous
awards, including two Peabody Awards; the Alfred I. DuPont Columbia University Award; and the APTRA (Associated Press Television-Radio Association) Award for Best Regularly Scheduled Radio Feature. Ms. Stifter worked for National Public Radio from 1980 -1997) until she turned to independent productions. While at NPR, she produced numerous award-winning audio documentaries and helped developed the network’s Diversity Initiative and On-Site Training Programs. In 1993, Ms. Stifter was instrumental in organizing the first integrated journalism workshops in South Africa. An additional Stifter project is the first public radio series on Asian-American history, which will air on NPR in Spring 2006. Ms. Ross teaches at UC Davis. She has produced media projects in such locales as Kentucky, New York, Holland, South Africa, and Ireland. Her most recent documentary, Paulina, was screened at the Sundance Film Festival, and won major awards at the San Antonio CineFestival, the San Francisco Film Festival, the Hamptons Film Festival, and WorldFest Houston.
Saving the Sierra’s grant partners are the Project’s Coordinators; The Sierra Fund; The Sierra Nevada Alliance; and the Sierra College Center for Sierra Nevada Studies. Also associated with the project are the UC Davis Department of Media Production, and many photographers, broadcast technicians, distributors, and other media professionals.
Through the Center for Sierra Nevada Studies, Sierra College’s role was to design and develop the companion web site and to manage the mobile story booth. The college purchased the mobile recording equipment which will then be available for any campus recording projects, such as oral histories. Sierra College students and interns were
trained to utilize these studios and traveled to regional events to provide workshops and recording opportunities. Sierra College also designed the project logo, some promotional materials, and arranged for the web hosting. In 2007, the Saving the Sierra website won the prestigious Dottie Award for the “Best Arts, Culture, and Music” website in Northern California.