Invitations can come from the most surprising places. The most recent was from Curt Asher, dean of Walter W. Stiern Library at California State University, Bakersfield.
Curt and I worked together at Feather Publishing Company as fellow reporters. We both moved on and I lost track of him until late last summer, when I was delighted to get an email from him. Curt invited me to participate in a panel discussion for students and the community. There were to be three of us addressing drought, climate change and California's water.
I agreed to talk about how the state's four-year drought has killed millions of trees, and the related issues of wildland fires, which are increasing in both size and frequency, and, of course, climate change. The other panelists were Dr. Robert Negrini, CSU Bakersfield professor of geology whose work includes a compilation of 20,000 years of Sierra streamflow to the Central Valley, and Brian Pitts, a CSU Bakersfield geologist who teaches the course "Water in the West."
My first visit to this CSU campus offered a well-attended discussion followed by a lively question and answer period. It was an honor to share the stage with Rob and Brian, who are both engaged in fascinating research. And it was lovely to see Curt – whose spacious office is a far cry from his cluttered desk at Feather Publishing – and to meet his lovely wife Aila.