Stienstra's 'Wildlife Encounters' featured in fundraiser for Weed Library

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald
Tom Stienstra will showcase the most dramatic stories from his award-winning career documenting the outdoors during a fund-raising event for the Weed Library and celebration of Boles Fire heroes Dec. 11 at College of the Siskiyous in Weed. Included in his "Electrifying Wildlife Encounters" presentation are stories of a grizzly bear charge and black bear charge.

Stories of bear charges, bigfoot, man-eating sharks, and finding giant bucks are all part of award-winning outdoor writer Tom Stienstra's "Electrifying Wildlife Encounters" presentation scheduled for Dec. 11 in the Kenneth W. Ford Theater at the College of the Siskiyous in Weed.

The free show is being held as a fundraiser to help rebuild the Weed Library that was destroyed in the Boles Fire. Stienstra, a three-time National Outdoor Writer of the Year award winner, and Rotary Clubs from Redding to Medford have proposed to rebuild the library and make it better than ever.

Local residents who responded during the fire to bring children to safety and save lives, pets and homes will be recognized at the event for their “Boles Fire Acts of Heroism.”

Scheduled to start at 7 p.m., the event is free to the public and will be produced for all ages. Rotary will accept donations and raffle off prizes with the funds going to rebuild the Weed Library and other community projects.

Each person who attends will receive a commemorative bookmark, courtesy Mount Shasta and Weed Rotary. Weed entertainer Jimmy Limo and his one-man band “Smooth Guitar” will open and close the event, playing both during seating from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. and at show close from 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“As a community and a region, we need to recognize the people, who in time of a devastating, lightning-fast wildfire, acted heroically to save lives, pets and property,” said Stienstra, who is representing Rotary for the event. “We’ve heard the fire started from an illegal fire,” Stienstra said. “We need to make a public showing that we will not tolerate this kind of behavior any more in our hometowns and that we will do everything possible to help the victims.”

The Boles Fire burned 157 homes, 8 commercial buildings and two churches as it swept across 516 acres from the Boles Apartments north past Weed Elementary, Weed High School and through three neighborhoods and Roseburg Forest Products. A total of 14 fire crews with 453 firefighters with air support fought the blaze.

In some cases, residents had less than 15 minutes after first warning to evacuate before their homes ignited into blazes and then burned down to their foundations. “It looked like a tornado of flame had ripped across the landscape,” according to one account.

A series of local benefits across the region have helped displaced residents with food and clothing. Stienstra said this event is designed “to put everybody under the same roof to come together, recognize our heroes, what we all face as north state residents, and then move ahead to rebuild.”

Greg Messer, who is producing the event for Mount Shasta and Weed Rotary Clubs, the College of the Siskiyous Foundation, and the Siskiyou Media Council, called it a way to “Bridge the holidays for the Boles’ fire victims.”

Stienstra’s wildlife show showcases the most dramatic photos and stories from his career as the outdoors editor of the San Francisco Chronicle and KCBS/Radio-San Francisco, the author of the bestsellers Moon California Camping and Moon California Hiking. He was the fourth-living member inducted into the California Outdoors Hall of Fame.

The show includes:

• Grizzly bear charge: Charged into a river by a 1,000-pound Alaskan brown bear in Katmai National Park

• Bigfoot: Led a six-week expedition to find Bigfoot in northern California and southern Oregon, where he located footprints that measured 17 inches long, nine inches wide, and then explained them.

• Man-eating sharks: Face-to-face with 5,000-pound Great White sharks and a series of photographs where a 17-foot shark attacks and eats a replicated surfer.

• Deer: How to track and find giant bucks, and know exactly how big they are, without ever first seeing them.

• Black bear charge: Charged at point-blank range by a 600-pound black bear in Kings Canyon National Park.

For more information, contact Greg Messer at: