Flowers and Books

Grand Opening of Sierra Flowers at the John Muir Geotourism Center

On December 6, 2014, a beautiful sunny day in historic Coulterville, the grand opening of Sierra Flowers inside the John Muir Geotourism Center reminded me of a wonderful quote from the great naturist himself: “Handle a book as a bee does a flower, extract its sweetness but do not damage it.

Inside newly decorated Center featuring museum and flower shop

Inside newly decorated Center with Nina, featuring museum and flower shop

The event offered plenty of books and flowers, which would have been much to the liking of John Muir, who was a talented botanist and author of at least a dozen books. The flowers were supplied by Nina Mimnaugh who has operated her flower shop at various locations since 1998.

The museum portion of the center includes first editions of John Muir’s books written later in his life, which are on loan from the Center’s curator, Karen Wilson, who also serves on the Center’s board of directors. She expressed delight with the opening, telling me, “Our vision is being fulfilled. I saw from the enthusiasm of visitors and in working with Nina that our education mission blends well with this partnership, which will help secure economic sustainability for our community.”

Joy Kitchell, one of the organizers and supporters of the first Festival for the John Muir efforts in Coulterville, attended and observed, “I was really impressed with the way that Nina has blended her displays with the John Muir theme and products.  It was beautiful.”

The John Muir Geotourism Center and Highway Route 132 Project was conceived by Ken Pulvino, and JMGC was incorporated after he read, “My First Summer in the Sierra” and began his strong advocacy for the recognition of John Muir’s first walk to Yosemite. A first edition of that famed book can be seen in the Center.

Debbie Cook, the Center’s first executive director, secured the historic Gozzolo Building as a permanent museum and headquarters in 2012 for the Center. At the event she praised its improvements, remarking, “I’m so happy to hear that it is going really well.”   And, to cap it off, Sharon Coolidge, the Coulterville Visitor Center representative was enthusiastic, saying “Sierra Flowers provided a beautiful combination John Muir would approve of.”

On behalf of the JMGC Board and supporters I want to thank the entire Coulterville and Greeley Hill community for giving such a warm welcome to Nina and Sierra Flowers. Her beautiful flower arrangements are surely something Muir would appreciate.

Finally, signed copies of the Scott Miller photographic edition for the 100th anniversary of My First Summer in the Sierra are available for sale at the JMGC Center. It is being sold along with other Muir books and proceeds help support our non-profit lease. Please stop by and visit the Center and Nina on your next visit to Coulterville and Yosemite.

Hope to see you soon.

Dr. Monty Thornburg, President