Tuesday, December 10, 2019

A Campfire Conversation

During a private, three-day camping trip in the Yosemite Valley in 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt and preservationist John Muir shared their views on wilderness use while "talking freely around the campfire." Both men shared a life-long appreciation for the wilderness and its natural inhabitants. But each brought different views on how, why, and to what extent that environment should be protected. Their exchange of those views eventually led to the expansion of Yosemite National Park under the federal government.

In this lesson, students will use online tools – as well as information contained in this episode – to research the backgrounds, experiences, and points of view of both men. They will then share that information in a re-creation of one of the pair's "campfire conversations."

1. What was Muir’s point of view on wilderness use? What was Roosevelt’s view?

2. In what ways were their points of view similar? In what ways were they different?

3. For each man, what was the value in hearing the other’s point of view?

4. In what ways was the campfire setting an appropriate one for the conversation?

5. If you were in attendance at that campfire, what would you have liked to say to either man?