Seven hundred plus revel in art on Donner Summit |

Seven hundred plus revel in art on Donner Summit

Courtesy Custom Learning AcademyThird grade students enjoy art in nature with volunteer guide Deb Kelly during the Trails & Vistas event.

TRUCKEE, Calif. – More than 700 attendees experienced original dance performances, singing, music and storytelling during Trails & Vistas ‘The Dreaming Tree’ art hikes at Donner Ski Ranch Sept. 8 and 9.All of the 24 scheduled art hikes sold out. In addition, there were 10 field trips that engaged 300 third grade students from six elementary schools on Tuesday, Sept. 11. The field trips were co-sponsored by the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation and Trails & Vistas. Funds raised from Truckee’s annual Historical Haunted Tour, a fundraiser for Trails & Vistas and the Truckee Donner Historical Society, also helps support Trails & Vistas’ mission to create art experiences in nature that foster environmental awareness. The 2012 Haunted tour will take place on Oct. 18 and 19 (visit to learn more about the fundraiser).”This year’s art hike featured such brilliant performances against the granite peaks on Donner Summit overlooking Donner Lake,” said Trails & Vistas founder Nancy Tieken Lopez. “Following the public art hikes, we enjoyed a fabulous late summer day filled with poetry, art, songs and storytelling. Next year we hope to expand the field trips to two days so even more children can participate.”The field trips were guided by high school Envirolution Club volunteers through the Sierra Watershed Education Partnership (SWEP).Along the interactive nature walk at Donner Memorial State Park the elementary school students learned to identify Lodgepole Pine, rapped about Glacial Erratics with Maria Jones, stopped to smell the vanilla-scented bark of the Jeffery Pine, and got a hug from Deb Kelly playing Mother Earth. Along the 12 stops the students paused to create Peace Day artwork, write poetry, listen to poet Barbara Tieken with “The Wild Wonder of Trees,” sing with the Banana Slug String Band and listen to a story about the Dream Box by Cathee van Rossem St. Clair.Each school that participated on the nature walk received a Dreaming Tree to plant at their school funded by The Villager Nursery and Trails & Vistas.One third grade student shared her reflections, “My favorite part was watching the scenery and when I heard the song about the trees,” and another said, “…it was amazing how old the rocks were and how they disintegrated to dirt.”Planning is already underway for Trails & Vistas 10th anniversary celebration that will take place on Sept. 7 and 8, 2013. Sixty volunteers including staff from Trails & Vistas’ collaborating partners Truckee Donner Land Trust, InnerRhythms Dance Theatre and KidZone Children’s Museum contributed to the success of The Dreaming Tree.After participating in the art hikes for the first time this year, dancer Sonja Brodt from Ecokinesis in Davis, Calif. shared her experience performing with flutist Meri Superak, “We feel very honored to have been invited to perform in such a truly special and unique event that celebrates both art and nature … We really valued the freedom and had a great time creating and performing our piece together. It was such a treat to have our own little ‘theater’ – the circle of trees – to make our own in whatever way we chose … The Inner Rhythms dance at the spiral was really beautiful! I loved the multi-dimensional placement of the three dancers in blue way up on the cliff, and the two guys did an extraordinary job with all those leaps and balances.”With generous support from The Richardson House, Kelly Brothers Painting and Plumas Bank, the 2012 art hikes wowed audiences as young as 3 and as senior as 74 who came from as nearby as Truckee to as far away as New Hampshire and Texas. Event grantors include Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation and the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce.In-kind support included donations from 101.5, Atypical Design, Cap Radio, The Cedar House Sport Hotel, Hampton Inn & Suites, Larkspur Hotel, Martis Camp, Moonshine Ink, Sierra Watershed Education, Partnership, Tahoe TV, Truckee Hotel, NC Communications, Sierra Sun, Sunshine Tahoe and The Weekly.”It was great to turn the phone off, be quiet and re-connect with art and nature on an awesome leisurely hike. Wonderful music, singing, dancing and stories were very much enjoyed,” said attendee Eva Lipson from Truckee.Interested individuals and corporations are invited to contribute to the 10th anniversary art hikes and concert in 2013. For more information, contact Lopez at or 530-563-6557.About Trails & VistasTrails & Vistas is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization partnered with Truckee Donner Land Trust, Inner Rhythms Dance Theatre and KidZone Children’s Museum. As partners we believe art hikes strengthen the ties between the Land Trust and arts organizations in the Truckee Tahoe region and increases participants’ commitment to building a stronger community and environmental stewardship through creative expression. More than 30 participating artists are featured on the public art hikes. Tickets for Trails & Vistas 2013 will be available on July 1. For more information visit

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