Free Nature Presentations

The Portage Trail Group offers many popular educational sessions for both children and adults of all ages. These informative slide shows are presented by John Rodgers, long time Sierra Club member and seasoned traveler. John has presented these shows to hundreds of groups throughout Northeast Ohio over the years.

A list of programs is below.

For more information or to schedule a presentation, contact John H. Rodgers, at or 330-923-2317. Donations are accepted by are not required.

John Muir – Apostle of Wilderness (60 minutes)
Based on the writings of John Muir – one of the greatest naturalists of all time. He was also one of the founders of the Sierra Club and its first president. Two people present the text – one speaks only Muir’s words, while the other provides commentary linking Muir’s philosophical views on wilderness, trees, water, and people. This has been presented over one hundred times and is our most popular offering. Pictures from about 35 states are used.

The Turning Point – A Tribute to Rachel Carson (60 minutes)
Selections from her books (The Sea Around Us, Silent Spring, and others) make up much of the text. A number of her beautiful descriptions of the sea give way to her challenges of the whole agrichemical industry as she produces the turning point – Silent Spring. Finally, her last book – A Sense of Wonder – is highlighted. And, in the words of Sydney Harris, “may birdsong be her perpetual memorial.”

Holy Ground – Stewardship of Mother Earth (45 minutes)
Examines the various problems facing us on the earth. Also some possible solutions. Deals with trying to change attitudes to the point that we are in harmony with Mother Earth. Ends with a poem called “Sing for our Mother Earth”. Used extensively around Earth Day 1990 although it began as a sermon.

Stand Up for Mother Earth  (45 minutes)
(For young people, but has been shown to many adults)
Examines many of the problems facing us on earth. The pictures, that end one problem & lead to the next, show many animals and scenes in national parks and the emphasis on these pictures is that we, the American people, own those parks. Although it covers a wide range of problems, solutions are suggested and the tone is upbeat. It concludes with a poem – “Sing for our Mother Earth”. At the time of this writing this show has been seen by over 9000 students.

Mother Nature’s World (45 minutes)
Starts with a little bit about the 100th anniversary of the Sierra Club and then, bird migration, balance of nature, the seasons, water – a truly basic need, and variety in nature. This last section shows pictures of ten terrains, ten plants, ten birds, and ten animals that are not birds. Ends with more or less open verse on what has been seen and calls for the viewer to wonder and be appreciative of Mother Nature.

Defending Mother Earth – 100 years of the Sierra Club (45 minutes)
From the founding of the Sierra Club in 1892 and on into the future. The items selected from the 100 years of history are the ones that affect the whole country. Creation of National Parks, fights against dams, early leaders in conservation including John Muir, a bit about Ansel Adams, Theodore Roosevelt, the crusade to preserve parts of Alaska for us all, the United States leadership versus the environment, and “where do we go from here?”.

Nature, History, and Memorials – Our National Park System (2 parts, 30 minutes each)
From battlefields and memorials to a profusion of scenic splendor in the National Parks and Monuments – 16 classifications illustrated. 50 million people visit in the 49 national parks each year. (And there are more parks since that was written.) Yellowstone is the first National Park in the world. Everything in the system belongs to the people – not to Congress, the President, or the Secretary of the Interior. A diversity of scenery found only in our United States.