Oak Tree Bash

Tickets available at the door
Suggested Donation:
$20 Members
$30 Not-Yet-Members

Cost includes entry to event; appetizers

Wine, beer & non-alcoholic beverages available for purchase

Become a Member

Join Bear Yuba Land Trust (BYLT) to recognize lifetime conservationists during the annual Oak Tree Bash.

BYLT’s Annual Member Meeting and Leadership Awards will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 22 at the Gold Miners Inn at 121 Bank Street Grass Valley.

During this fun community gathering, the Land Trust will honor two community heroes, Joanne Hild Executive Director of Sierra Streams Institute with the William “Bill” Nickerl Award for Conservation Leadership and Rick Berry Founder and Director of the Four Elements Earth Education (4EEE) with the John Skinner Sierra Outdoors Recreation Award.

About the Award Winners 

Joanne Hild has her MS in Zoology from University of Massachusetts in Amherst and her BS in Biology from Tufts University. She worked as a research scientist with the Wildlife Conservancy (mountain lions) in Sacramento, with the Bermuda Biological Station (effects of oil on coral growth and limpets) and with Cornell University (pigeon navigation).

She was a Biology Professor at Sierra College for 15 years, teaching various general biology, anatomy and physiology, and ecology courses. As a professor, Joanne involved her students in a number of hands-on environmental projects including a stream bioassessment using macroinvertebrates to determine the health of the Yuba River, vegetation studies using U.S. Fish and Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Procedures to be used for environmental impact, ecological studies for Sierra College land use plan, local restoration projects with Nevada County Land Trust, and a trail guide for a Nature trail at Sierra College. Joanne previously worked as a high school biology teacher for one year.

Joanne began working at Friends of Deer Creek (now Sierra Streams Institute) as a River Scientist in February 2000 and became Executive Director in 2004. In her free time, she enjoys going on family adventures.

“As Executive Director and Biologist at Sierra Streams Institute for the past 18 years, I have had many opportunities to do scientific work using community-based participatory research. Sierra Streams’ citizen science has involved working with community members on many projects including those involved with scientific research, restoration, community health, adult and child education, laboratory analysis, and training.  I feel a great sense of responsibility to work in partnership with the community to study and improve our environment and the health of our citizens.  I am also dedicated to doing this work by collaborating with our state and federal agencies, local non-profits and community groups, universities, colleges as well as our community members. These collaborations are critical to the successful implementation of creative solutions to restore and protect the health of the environment and the community. Because I have lived and raised my family in this community for over 25 years, I have a unique connection to it, both personally and professionally,” said Joanne.

Sierra Streams has also been involved in collaborations with epidemiologists who can help us translate our communities’ health concerns into epidemiological studies that will help us better understand the health risks from living in our mining community.  After working together to better understand the relationship between our health and the environment, the community has become more educated about our research and its results and has become well equipped to begin to create ways to prevent harmful health effects to the inhabitants of the region,” said Joanne.

Rick Berry began with the Tracker School in 1986 at the age of 15 and has been teaching these skills for the past 25 years. After graduating with a B.S. from Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA, Rick tested his skills in the remote Klamath Mountain range where he immersed himself for 12 years in indigenous life-ways–passed on to him by Gary Morris who himself had lived with Yurok Elder Calvin Rube for 20 years.

Later, Rick spent two years in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey as a caretaker for the Tracker School, testing and refining his tracking and survival skills. Rick taught with both Jon Young and Tom Brown, Jr. through the Tracker School’s Coyote Camps, and moved on to serve seven years as Director of The Children of the Earth Foundation.

Today, with 25 years experience teaching Earth Skills, Rick shares dynamic teachings and philosophy of living as one with the Earth through 4 Elements Earth Education (4EEE) and its Fox Walkers program for school-aged children.

4 EEE is a unique non-profit, located in Nevada City, which immerses children, families and adults in nature and building skills of which most of us are unaware exist.

“Our programs introduce Earth skills, which are a blend of the ancient arts of tracking, wilderness survival, and nature awareness. Our programs give children first-hand experience of how to “read” the landscape as a steward of the Earth. Through our programs, a re-thinking of our relationship to nature begins to occur; Nature is not simply a “resource” that we control as a product, but a relationship we must cultivate. Students are introduced to the world of the unseen and eternal, tapping into “the spirit that moves in all things” as awareness and skills are woven together to serve as a foundation for creating visionary leaders.”

Come Celebrate with BYLT

At this Annual Meeting designed for land trust members and supporters, the community will hear about expanded protection of lands in the upper watershed, updates on ongoing restoration work, and new treks, trails and youth programs.

During Happy Hour, guests can sample gourmet local food provided by Emily’s Catering and CakesBriarPatch Co-op, wine from Double Oak Vineyards & Winery and beer from ol’ Republic Brewery while catching up with new and old friends. Live music will be provided by Michael Padilla.

About the Awards

William “Bill” Nickerl devoted his life to land cconservation in the California foothills. The William Nickerl Award for Conservation Leadership is given to Nevada County residents with a similar conservation ethic who inspire others to build a connection with the land. Bill passed in November and we are truly saddened by the loss of this inspiring man.

“Bill gave him self wholeheartedly to the cause—The forest, the environment, the educational side of the land trust’s mission.  He inspired me and others in his quiet way. I am glad we have a prize in his name that he be long remembered,” said Founding Member Dave Palley.

Retired Forest Supervisor of the Tahoe National Forest, John Skinner led many treks for the Land Trust. Despite a heart condition, Skinner hiked as many local trails as he could. He was the author of the book and online resource featuring over 200 trails, 100 lakes and 125 camping and picnic areas, Sierra Outdoors Recreation. Skinner wrote numerous articles for Sierra Heritage Magazine. John died on July 27, 2009.

See past award winners here