Debbie Croft: Appreciating beauty​ around the foothills

Around the foothills and across the Sierra, rural and wilderness lands are valuable resources worth appreciating and preserving. The following events provide opportunities for both:

Make plans to be a good steward by participating in the Great Sierra River Cleanup next month.

The Sierra’s rivers and streams supply California with more than 60 percent of our water. Each year, volunteers from 22 counties remove trash and recycleable materials from more than 1,700 river miles across the eastern side of the state. These efforts restore vital health to our precious waterways.

Details, maps and registration information can be found at

The Yosemite Area Audubon Society offers field trips and other unique activities year-round. The citizen science program includes raptor surveys, plus building, installing and monitoring nest boxes.

Birding in Wawona will take place Sept. 10. Those interested in attending should meet in Oakhurst in the Sears parking lot at 7:45 a.m. For more information about this nonprofit group, visit

Two conferences for sustainability will take place this year.

The conference, Oct. 8-10, will be at Granlibakken Conference Center and Lodge in Tahoe City. Registration is open to anyone interested in helping Sierra communities continue to flourish. Call (209) 532-7200 or visit for more information.

In beautiful Yosemite National Park, guests will learn the best ways for transitioning into economic, environmental and social sustainability. They’ll also network with experts in the areas of air resources, waste management, water and energy. Individuals or teams from government agencies, nonprofit organizations, public land management agencies, private businesses and tribes, and any people wishing to implement more effective sustainability methods, will benefit from this event.

The conference takes place Dec. 8-10. Visit for details.

This year’s Sierra Art Trails catalog is available. Color photos, maps, artists’ bios and more are included, giving visitors everything they need (except gas money, of course) to enjoy this annual tour.

Sierra Art Trails invites the public for an up-close-and-personal glimpse into regional artists’ studios the first weekend of October. Inspired by the beauty surrounding them, paintings, drawings, sculptures, jewelry and more are created in the shadows of the Sierra Nevada mountain peaks.

More than 100 artists will participate, with studio locations in eastern Madera and Mariposa counties. Purchase of the catalog is your ticket for two. Visit or call (559) 658-8844 for details.

A couple of benefit events this month and next month are worth supporting:

The nonprofit organization provides professional health care and supports grieving families. For more information, call (209) 383-3123 or visit

For details, find this event on Facebook or see