This new event, described as a combination of the TED Talks and a reflection of the Chautauqua Movement style that originated in 1874, brought an array of speakers to McCloud to explore, inspire and converse with others about what’s around us here in Siskiyou County, the therapeutic value and living in harmony with it all in a self-sustainable lifestyle.

During the first what is hoped to be many to come, the McCloud Chamber of Commerce held “The Mountain Talks” over the weekend.

This new event, described as a combination of the TED Talks and a reflection of the Chautauqua Movement style that originated in 1874, brought an array of speakers to McCloud to explore, inspire and converse with others about what’s around us here in Siskiyou County, the therapeutic value and living in harmony with it all in a self-sustainable lifestyle.

“The Mountain Talks speaker series is connecting the Norcal region and Siskiyou residents in particular with a forum for a thought-provoking exchange of ideas and public dialogue. Our inaugural event offered a smorgasbord of topics to give attendees a sampling of subjects we hope to explore in more depth in our 2020 programs,” said co-coordinator Cindy Rosmann.

The three days of talks included two geological tours or the Cascade volcanoes and the Klamath Mountains seafloor lead by geologist Daune Willahan from Monterey County.

Willahan’s four-hour tour explored and shown how the geologic forces are responsible for the dramatic landscapes of this region. A short presentation called “Plate Tectonics and Volcanoes” was given to help provide some background. The excursion stopped at McCloud Falls, Everitt Hill, Bunny Flat and then Castle Lake.

The speakers included locals and guests from out of the area. Filmmaker Paul Kirby spoke on two of the days along with author Anna Edey from Martha’s Vinyard, who talked about sustainable living in a solar-green ecosystem. Also speaking was Jessie Ayani from Southern Oregon, who talked about biodynamic gardening which is a holistic, ecological and ethical approach to year-round farming and gardening.

Other speakers included local authors Ken Goehring and Michael Zanger, beekeeper Lorinda Meyer, micro nutrient farmer and beekeeper Ruth Peddinghaus, open range cattle rancher Jessica Truax Oddo, retired COS instructor and geologist Bill Hirt, and President/CEO of The Commonwealth Club and also the Assistant Secretary of Defense under the Clinton administration, Gloria Duffy.

Duffy, who has had a residence in McCloud for 30 years, talked about how The Commonwealth Club of California is the nation’s oldest and largest public affairs forum. It rose from the Chautauqua Movement and coincidentally, she displayed a season ticket to the McCloud Chautauqua talks that were held in June of 1923 that she had found in the wall on her McCloud house when she was remodeling. Her theme, in part, was of the quality of our national discourse and how “civil discourse” can help to solve some of it.

At the end of the three-day talks, a panel of environmentally conscious stewards of agriculture and harvesters, moderated by Anthropologist Kevin Dalton answered questions.

The messages left were clear:

“Support your local farmers,” said Aynai.

“Just because you see something a lot on social media doesn’t mean it is true. We have a personal responsibility to do our own research,” said Meyer.

Traux Oddo said, “Being a conscientious consumer is doing your own research and not just reading labels.”

Peddinghaus said, “Quality is all in the marketing. People need to support local growers by going to farmer’s markets and know your product.”

Co-coordinator Airiel Scotti said, “I’m struck with deep admiration for the three powerhouses that are my colleagues in this journey, Cindy Rosmann, Darlene Mathis and Lorinda Meyer- spearheading this event with little time to recruit and even less help. Talks left a deeper impression than I’d expect, both on me and my fellow audience. All engagements I attended compelled, striking my emotional tuning fork, helping me see where we should channel our personal energies as humans and consumers, but also on areas that The Mountain Talks can focus throughout future forums. It has been a long while since I felt the spark of being surrounded by an educational enclave, having graduated my Post-bacc studies in 2013, but this weekend has set in motion a new beginning, a reinvention of our sleepy town into one that is diverse and endlessly enriched by residents and visitors alike.”

The Mountain Talks were held at the Axe and Rose Public House Cascade Room and in the Great Room of the McCloud River Mercantile Hotel.

Seed money was provided from a local initiative grant from Discover Siskiyou which promotes tourism through the Siskiyou County Economic Development Department.

For future venues of The Mountain Talks, go to mclcoudchamber.com.