MARTINEZ -- The living legacy of John Muir will be highlighted during an environmental anniversary doubleheader this weekend at the John Muir National Historic Site.
The noted naturalist -- whose 175th birthday is April 21 -- and Earth Day, celebrated April 22, are combined for a festive day at the Muir site with family fun, live entertainment, tours, nature walks and more.
A keynote address by Gary Bogue, the former wildlife and pet columnist for the Contra Costa Times, is planned, as is a visit from "John Muir," as portrayed by National Park Service Ranger Frank Helling.
Some of the more popular events returning this year are the recycled fashion show, birthday cake with Muir, and family friendly exhibits and activities.
"Kids love it," said Sherida Bush, with the John Muir Association. "There are lots of Junior Ranger programs for children."
In addition, there will be self-guided tours of Muir's 1882 home, which includes new exhibits, and the California Native Plant Garden.
"Visitors who have not been to the park recently will enjoy an ever-changing experience. The house now features displays of original documents and rotating exhibits. The orchards and grounds are being restored to represent Muir's time, and the California Native Plant Garden has expanded," said Tom Leatherman, site general superintendent, in a news release.
Known as the father of the United States National Park System and of the American conservation movement, Muir was a Scottish immigrant and naturalist who explored the country on foot, identifying plant specimens and recording his thoughts in notebooks which became the basis for his popular nature books.
Daylong events will include live music performances by the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers, Piedmont Highlanders Pipe and Drum Band, as well as Spinning Wheel, and the Ancestral Water Band.
Food and beverages are available for purchase, and informative exhibits from the Lindsay Wildlife Museum, Contra Costa Master Gardeners, National Parks of the East Bay, and many more, are open throughout the day.
Visitors will be able to collect stamps at various booths to enter a drawing to win a National Parks Pass, and participate in silent auctions.
The John Muir Conservation Awards will also be presented during the event. Conservationist of the Year is Lee Stetson, who has portrayed Muir in numerous documentaries with conservation messages.
The Legacy Conservation Award will go to Dr. L. Martin Griffin Jr., who founded the Audubon Canyon Ranch and preserved thousands of acres of additional wildlife habitat.
The Environmental Education award goes to Divya Karnad, an environmental journalist who helped conserve more than 500,000 sea turtles in India through a community-based program.
Pavan Raj Gowda will receive the Youth Conservation award for founding Green Kids Now at age 8, and now, at 12, for having written two children's books and founding the Green Kids Conference.
The Mt. View Sanitary District receives the Public Agency Conservation Award for its use of treated effluent to create wetland habitat and to discontinue use of hazardous chemicals.\
And Muir Glen Organic is receiving the Business Conservation Award for repurposing its agricultural waste into organic compost and for funding research to protect native pollinators.
John Muir Birthday-Earth Day is sponsored by the city of Martinez, Martinez Shell Refinery, Martinez Community Foundation, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union 302 and Allied Waste Services.
What: John Muir Birthday-Earth Day Celebration with family fun, guest speakers, entertainment, exhibits, nature walks, food, beverages. Gary Bogue and "John Muir" on stage at noon, recycled fashion show at 12:30 p.m., birthday cake at 2 p.m. music at 10:15 and 11:30 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m.
When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. April 20
Where: John Muir National Historic Site, 4202 Alhambra Ave., Martinez
Transportation: Free parking, shuttle at Martinez Adult Education, 600 Alhambra Ave. at F Street; disabled parking at Muir site
Information: www.nps.gov/jomu or 925-228-8860