ESIA’s Executive Director, Debbe Eilts, receiving a certificate of appreciation from the Inyo National Forest, presented by INF’s Nancy Upham. (Photo courtesy ESIA)
On Monday, Dec. 5, Whiskey Creek’s banquet room was full as the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association (ESIA) rang in its 40th anniversary. The theme of “Celebrating Partnerships through the Decades” was evident throughout the room with friends and representatives from many of ESIA’s partner organizations.
Featuring discussions and conversation guided by ESIA Board Member, Danna Stroud, a Partnership Panel included Debbe Eilts, ESIA; Nancy Upham, Inyo National Forest; Bernadette Lovato, Bureau of Land Management; Karen Ferrell-Ingram, Eastern Sierra Land Trust; Stacy Corless, Friends of the Inyo; and Chris Langley, Alabama Hills Stewardship Group. The group addressed topics ranging from organizational history to predictions for the future of non-profit and public partnerships.
Debbe Eilts, ESIA Executive Director, presented Jim Jennings with an award to recognize Jim’s career in the Eastern Sierra with BLM and his partnership with ESIA. “Jim has brought ESIA ‘along’ on several projects and has always been a positive force with anything we have worked on together,” stated Eilts, “Jim has been instrumental in developing relationships with other stewardship efforts, such as the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group.”
Nancy Upham, Inyo National Forest Public Affairs Officer, recognized Rocky Rockwell who founded ESIA 40 years ago, along with Tom Watkins, Don Caukins, Ann Johnson, Russ Johnson and Joe Radel. Upham explained that in 1970 the Forest Service was given the authority by Congress to co-operate with a natural history/interpretive association. In 1971, ESIA was the first Natural History Association formed on its own in the National Forest System. Rocky Rockwell worked for the Inyo National Forest at the time and was involved with interpretation on the Forest wherever there was a need. Rocky and his wife, Tish, still live in the Bishop area.
Nancy Upham also presented ESIA with a Certificate of Appreciation from Forest Supervisor, Ed Armenta. The certificate read, “In recognition of all the work Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association has done over the past 40 years; in honor of the public service you provide and with gratitude for the partner you are to the INF.” Eilts received the certificate on behalf of ESIA.
Throughout the evening, guests were treated to a slideshow sneak peak of a collection of historic photographs that will be featured in a forthcoming book, “Inyo National Forest,” an Arcadia-Images of America publication, authored by Andy Selters in collaboration with ESIA. Several champagne toasts wrapped up the celebration with a look forward to the next 40 years. –ESIA
To learn more about ESIA visit www.esiaonline.com.