Sierra Summit

Conversations and observations about California's mountains

August 22, 2008
In Yosemite, old notes yield new insights on climate
Joseph Grinnell, the founding director of U.C. Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, was a fanatic about taking notes. Put it all down, he would say. You might not think it's important but someone may. 
Today, Grinnell's detailed, nearly century-old field notes about chipmunks and other small mammals in Yosemite National Park are revealing new insights about climate change in the Sierra Nevada, a subject I explore in an article in this Sunday's Bee. 
Click on this link and step back in time as a colleague talks about Grinnell's archival obsession in the wilds of California:

Believe it or not, you can even read Grinnell's hand-written Yosemite journals on line. They're available at: 

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About Sierra Summit

The Author
Tom Knudson lives in the Sierra Nevada and travels widely throughout the range. His hobbies include fly-fishing, backpacking and cross-country skiing. He is the recipient of numerous journalistic awards, including two Pulitzer Prizes, one for a 1992 Sacramento Bee series "Sierra in Peril," a watershed work about environmental threats to the mountain range. E-mail Tom at

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