Sustainability Conference Sustains Interest


Shasta College’s third annual Sustainability Conference is scheduled for this Friday, April 22. The free event features speakers from the college and the community addressing a wide variety of subjects related to the environment – from geoengineering and climate change to nuclear power and water pollution.

Although I wrote some smart-aleck comments on the event last year, I would encourage anyone with even a minor interest in the subjects to attend. The event is academic, but not stuffy, and questions are encouraged.

This year’s gathering taps the expertise of Shasta College faculty more than the first two conferences did, said Pamela Spoto, a Shasta College English instructor and a conference organizer. Faculty members’ areas of expertise helped guide this year’s program, she said.

Shasta College geography professor Dan Scollon is a good example. He is scheduled to open the session called “Farmers Facing Global Warming.” Scollon said he intends to put climate change into context and talk about regions that are particularly vulnerable.

“The topic is clearly something that has relevance. We have a strong local food movement in the north state. California agriculture is famous as the bread basket of the world,” Scollon said. Changing climate conditions are having an impact, he said, citing the effects of an earlier high country snowmelt on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta as an example.

At the last minute, Spoto added a session about the dangers of nuclear power, which will be led by chemistry professor Divan Fard. He previously worked on cleanup of radioactivity from the Hanford nuclear reactor in central Washington, according to Spoto.

“I wanted to do something timely. We added nuclear power at the last minute because of Fukushima,” she said in reference to the nuclear disaster in Japan.

Spoto keeps the sustainability conference going despite the total lack of a budget, which suggests to me that there is a decent amount of local interest. Everyone who participates does so without compensation, she noted.

The full schedule is here. Again, the event is free and open to the public, but campus visitors will need to purchase a daily parking pass.


Also free … Don’t forget that National Park Week concludes on Sunday, April 24, the last day to get into the parks for free. Rangers at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area will be leading hikes to Whiskeytown Falls this weekend. Call 246-1225 to reserve your place on one of those hikes.

More freebies … Landscape photographer Rick Braveheart will be presenting his images of Rocky Mountain, Badlands and Petrified Forest national parks and other places at 6 p.m. on April 28 at the Turtle Bay Exploration Park visitor center in Redding. Braveheart is concluding a stint as artist-in-residence at Whiskeytown and should have some images from our local park, too. Friends of Whiskeytown will host a reception following Braveheart’s presentation.

Running strong … I hear that pre-registration for Saturday’s Tehama Wildflowers Trail Runs at the Sacramento River Bend area is up by more than 50 percent this year. Races of 50K, 10K and 5K, plus a two-person 50K relay, are slated for what looks like a perfect weather weekend. You may still register for any of the distances. Check the event website for details.

Huzzah … City of Redding assistant engineer Ron DeMaagd recently received the “2010 notable public official” award from the Shasta District of the Associated General Contractors of California. A seven-year city employee, DeMaagd has helped manage Churn Creek Road widening and realignment, removal of the downtown mall roof and other capital projects.

shigley-mugshotPaul Shigley is senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a frequent contributor to Planning magazine and doesn’t pass up free stuff. He lives in Centerville. Paul Shigley may be reached at

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment.

Paul Shigley

has been a professional journalist since 1987. For 12 years, he served as editor or senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a statewide trade publication for land use planners, real estate development professionals and attorneys. Prior to that, he worked as a reporter or editor at newspapers in Redding, Grass Valley, Napa and Calistoga. Shigley's work also has appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Planning magazine, Governing magazine, California Law Week, National Speed Sport News and elsewhere. In addition, he is co-author of Guide to California Planning, a college text and reference book, and is currently working on a book for the American Planning Association about the Bay Delta and California water resources. A graduate of California State University, Sacramento, Shigley has contributed to A News Cafe since 2009. He and his wife, Dana, live in western Shasta County.