FRC’s Spring Sustainability Symposium begins Thursday

Feather River College’s Sustainability Action Team invites all to the Spring Sustainability Symposium, with the theme Environment PLUS for 2021. We will explore topics of race, culture, and nature in our 3-part series.

“Our theme is so relevant, given the never-ending need to increase awareness about racial inequities, and the importance of challenging ourselves to improve communication with people who are different from us,” said Dr. Darla DeRuiter, chair of the Sustainability Action Team. “We hope you join us.”

Environment + Justice: Voices of Prisoners

The first event, Environment + Justice, features Dr. Joan Parkin, FRC English professor and co-founder of the Incarcerated Student Program. Her talk, entitled “Prison Ecology: Incarceration, Nature, and Environmental Justice” will explore the relationship between the environment and social justice issues, particularly as it pertains to the lives of prisoners in California prisons.


Dr. Parkin’s edited volume, Perspectives from the Cell Block: An Anthology of Prisoner Writings, includes writings from prisoners as they contemplate nature while incarcerated. She says, “Prison ecology is a human rights issue,” and hopes hearing prisoners’ voices will raise awareness around environmental justice.

Dr. Will Lombardi, member of the Sustainability Action Team and FRC English Professor, will host the event, to be held Thursday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. on Zoom.

Environment + Culture: Forest Management Strategies

The series continues in March with an exploration of how one’s cultural experience, history, and lens can influence how a forest is managed and cared for. Bridget Tracy hosts this event, which will feature multiple perspectives on forest health and management. Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and contemporary Western science will be presented. Join Thursday, March 25 at 7 p.m. on Zoom:

Environment + Race: Recreation Access & Perspectives on Public Lands

For Earth Day, Thursday April 22nd, the series will culminate with a panel of speakers sharing their experiences with recreation as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).


Faith E. Briggsis a film-maker and producer who is passionate about sharing contemporary stories from diverse communities. Her inspiring film “This Land” will be shown at the event and while she Zooms in from her home in Portland.

Mario Guelis the founder of Taco Fly Co., a fly-fishing lifestyle brand. Mario loves fly fishing, and Mario loves tacos! His focus on opening up a stuffy white activity to more folks from right here in Plumas County is pretty inspiring.

Nizhoni O’Connell grew up in Greenville in a mixed-race family: her mother is Navajo, her father from Irish descent. She attended FRC in the Outdoor Recreation Leadership program, then went on to Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. Her name, Nizhoni, means ‘beautiful’ or ‘sacred’ in Navajo (Diné).

This diverse group will help the audience find common ground, acknowledge that racism exists in the recreation field, and feel more open to discussion about the topic. DeRuiter, also a professor of Environmental Studies and Outdoor Recreation Leadership, will host the event with help from her ORL 120 Event Planning classon Thursday, April 22 at 7 p.m. on Zoom.


For more information on any events in the series, contact DeRuiter at [email protected] 530.283.0202 x262.