Brenda Negley knows a lot about Nelder Grove - so much it will take her two Friday Night presentations at Fresno Flats Historic Village & Park to tell it all.
On March 2, Negley will discuss the Nelder Grove trails, Sequoia ecology, flora and fauna and the history of fires in the area include the recent Railroad Fire.
On April 6, she will share the history of the grove including the first inhabitants, explorers Galen Clark, John Nelder and John Muir, the Mariposa Battalion, Robert Eccleston and the areas logging history. She will also discuss early families and individuals in the area including the Bissetts, Kelleys, Wrights, McLeod and Puhn.
“People who like Mountain Area history and specifically the history of Nelder Grove will really enjoy these two presentations,” Negle said.
Negley gained national attention in 2012 when she was named National Volunteer Host of the Year by the U.S. Forest Service for her dedicated work at Nelder Grove, home to 99 majestic giant sequoia trees, 13 miles north of Oakhurst off Sky Ranch Road (632). She served as the official host of the grove for eight years.
Negley’s love affair with Nelder Grove started as a youngster, as her grandparents, John and Marge Hawksworth, served as the first hosts at the grove for 20 years (1975-1995).
Negley four years old the first time she camped at the grove with John and Marge, and soon began learning the grove’s history.
When she graduated from Yosemite High School in 1985, Negley joined the U.S. Army but would go to the grove to see her grandparents whenever she had the opportunity until they retired. After her military service, she became a teacher and taught for many years.
In 2008 and 2009, Brenda and her family began spending summers at Nelder Grove and Negley volunteered full time developing interpretive information and greeting visitors.
In 2010, Brenda became the official interpretive campground host and initiated interpretive walks through the 1,540-acre grove. Because of all her work, Nelder Grove has maintained its status as an interpretive historical logging site and recreational area with a number of multi-use trails.
Negley was even proposed to in 1998 by husband Brian, at the foot of the appropriately christened Hawksworth tree, officially named for her grandparents in 1997.
Her book, “Nelder Grove - A Granddaughter’s Stories,” was published a year and a half ago.
Having founded the nonprofit organization Friends of Nelder Grove (www.neldergrove.org) in 2009, Negley is steadfast in her honorable pursuit to seek additional volunteers for the never-ending task of protecting and maintaining the the grove.
She still offers personal tours of the grove by appointment only.s
Originally schedule for March 2, it was canceled due to snow. The lecture has been rescheduled for March 9 and April 6, Fresno Flats Historic Village & Park Cunningham School - (559) 683-6570 - Doors open at 6 p.m (limited seatin) - presentation 6:30 - neldergrove.com - firstname.lastname@example.org - (559) 760-9108.