Regional history series by local legend Hank Meals

Writer and publicist extraordinaire Laura Brown sent along this press release — a reminder of the wonderful educational opportunities in our area. Hank Meals is a local legend:

“The Just Enough Regional History Course, a five session audio-visual presentation by archaeologist, historian, hiking guide and author Hank Meals is coming to audiences at the Banner Guild on Feb. 13.

“Meals first presented his series to history lovers who filled the North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center on the San Juan Ridge last fall. The course is designed to provide the fundamentals of historical savvy in the Yuba River region.

“Pulitzer-prize winning poet Gary Snyder attended the popular series last fall.

“’Hank Meals does it all: He walks through a place, does the best available scientific reading, checks the trouble spots and damaged sites and sections, then urges people to hike in a chosen territory and learn it more personally. All this with humor and spirit.  The wisdom and playfulness of a lifetime is in his public talks,’ said Snyder.

“The Yuba, Bear and American Rivers have played a major role in California’s history.  Personalities and incidents in this dramatic story have influenced science, industry and ethics on a world-wide scale with good and bad consequences.  With so much heritage, how can a person begin to appreciate it?

“This collection of photos, historical drawings, maps and first hand knowledge of local natural landscapes is designed to be a refreshing departure from dense, dusty and dull textbook-style history.

“’It’s just enough to make you somewhat legacy literate. So much of the commercially oriented history we’re exposed to consists of jumbled clichés, inaccuracies and cuteness – It’s simply not satisfying enough when the full stories are so engaging and illuminating. I’ve found that knowing what happened in your neighborhood makes you see a place differently, gives it extra texture and creates a sense of regional pride and ownership,’ said Meals.

“The series begins with Petroglyphs on Thursday, Feb. 13. Meals will explore the enigmatic and fascinating evidence of the first people of the region. Next up is Before the Gold Rush on Feb. 20. Meals will bring to life Spanish exploration, malaria and smallpox on the Sacramento River, Yokuts and Miwok horse trading, fur traders, Mexican land grants and more.

“‘Just Enough’ is a richly-informative and well-illustrated lecture series on Nevada County History. A consummate story-teller and scholar, Hank Meals brings more than a half-century of knowledge and understanding to his subject,’ said Tanis Thorne, a retired history professor.

“On Feb. 27, Meals will share stories of the Gold Rush including Manifest Destiny, technologies and their environmental impacts, trails and roads, water appropriation and transport, early hydraulic mining and so on.

“After The Gold Rush on March 5, Meals will talk about investors and stockholders, the Transcontinental Railroad, lumbering, the Chinese Exclusion Act, hydraulic mining and the Sawyer Decision, hard rock mining and grazing.

“During the concluding session March 12, Meals will look at the Legacy in the Local Landscape such as the lasting imprint of former land use activities and reading the landscape today.

“Each 90-minute presentation in this series is rich with unique historical and contemporary photos, maps and diagrams.  Meals will answer questions, provide references and provide enthusiasm for the topics addressed.

“’If you’ve ever wondered how this delightful place we live in came to be, listen to Hank Meals’ ‘Just Enough’ history of our area. Afterward, you’ll appreciate it even more and want to dig deeper,’ said local resident Sarah Sparks.

KNOW & GO

WHAT: The Just Enough Regional History Course

WHERE: Banner Community Guild (formerly Banner Grange)

12629 McCourtney Road, Grass Valley (530) 273-8747

WHEN: Thursdays at 7 p.m.

Feb 13  —     Petroglyphs                                          

Feb 20   —    Before the Gold Rush                        

Feb 27   —    The Gold Rush                                    

March 5  —   After the Gold Rush                            

March 12  — Legacy in the Local Landscape                  

ADMISSION: $10 at the door. (No advance tickets available)

Yuba Flume crew (submitted by Laura Brown)

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

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