Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, July 6, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page A:5



Mountain Views-News Saturday, July 6, 2013 

“What’s Going On?” 

News and Views from Joan Schmidt


By Christoper Nyerges

[Nyerges is the author of “Enter the Forest,” “Self-Sufficient Home,” and other 
books. He teaches regular self-reliance classes and does a weekly podcast on 
Preparedness Radio Network. He can be reached at School of Self-Reliance, 
Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041, or]


 Recently I attended the Southern California Mormon Choir’s 29th annual 
Patriotic Concert. The great event was sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ 
of Latter-day Saints Arcadia Stake. Musical director for the exceptional choir 
was Jan Bills and accompanists were Coleen Thatcher and Janet Smith. Chris 
Bills, Jan’s husband was Narrator. Throughout the Program, he was at the 
podium, with historical background of the various selections-what inspired/
promptly their composers.

 After a warm welcome by President Walter Steimie, Presentation of 
Colors by the Junior ROTC Color Guard from Gladstone High School, Pledge 
of Allegiance, our National Anthem and Invocation by Craig Stogner, the program began.

 What could be more appropriate than George’s Cohan’s Patriotic Fantasy which concluded 
with the Choir waving small flags? Mr. Bills noted that after 237 years, the flag is still a potent symbol. 
“After destruction from any kind of a disaster, people return to the wreckage, and always display the 

 Set I of the concert included Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor; No Man is An Island; and America 
the Beautiful. To set the mood, Mr. Bills reminded us of “our colossal iconic Statue of Liberty, rising 
majestically from New York Harbor” with those words etched on a plaque at her feet. He revealed 
that the inspiration for No Man is an Island was 17th Century English poet John Donne.

 Mr. Bills’ introduction to Set II reminded us “how we rightly treasure our precious gift of freedom”. 
Sadly many nations and people do not have this freedom. He recalled parts of late President Reagan’s 
“tear down the wall” speech in Berlin, “Freedom is not the sole prerogative of a lucky few, but the 
inalienable and universal right of all human beings. Set II selections were Distant Land: A Prayer for 
Freedom and Bring Him Home- Do You Hear the People Sing from Les Miserables.


 After Set II, Guest speaker Supervisor Antonovich spoke of our precarious situation 
today. He began praising scouts, boys and girls clubs and the YMCA/YWCA. These organizations 
helped shaped our youths with a lot of good character building. He lamented that the politicians 
in Sacramento want to eliminate the 501C status. Supervisor Antonovich reminded us that “the 
government didn’t make the people, but the people made the government.” He spoke of the Supreme 
Court knocking down Proposition 8, and questioned Religious Freedom if a Catholic hospital is 
forced to perform procedures against its teachings. He could not understand that when one group 
doesn’t have the same opinion on an issue, they are harassed. What has happened to tolerance? He 
advised us that values are in jeopardy and for us to become involved in our church, synagogues, 
community and government.

 Set III began with God of Our Fathers, Whose Mighty Hand and The Morning Trumpet. Mr. 
Bills then revealed that members of the Choir had recently participated at the National Memorial 
Day Concert at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts! After introducing Veterans from the 
Choir, Mr. Bills reminded us of the many great men and women of our country who answered the 
call of duty to defend our country’s freedom by serving in its wars. The grand finale was the great 
Salute to Armed Forces, featuring the songs of all the branches of service.

 What a great inspirational evening! A special “Thank You” to Mayor Finlay and the Arcadia 
Stake for including me in this meaningful tribute to our country. Everyone left the Church with a 
deep appreciation of our great country and its defenders.

Note: You can have your wild 
plants identified by Timothy 
Snider any Thursday at the 
Glendale Certified Farmers 
Market, 9:30 am to 1:30 pm, 
on Brand Blvd. between Wilson 
and Broadway. The city of 
Glendale provides convenient 
free parking for 90 minutes.


 Pasadena resident Timothy 
Snider is a man of the trees. 
When you’re driving around a 
neighborhood, or driving on 
the freeway and looking at all 
the trees in the city, most folks 
just see green. Snider glances 
at a tree and will tell you the 
Latin name, the common name, 
and many things about the tree. 
He knows how to identify trees 
better than just about anyone, 
and he knows the history and 
uses of the trees as well.

 Snider began his study 
of botany at Riverside City 
College and continued at 
CalPoly (Pomona), where he 
thought he might have a career 
in the Forest Service. When he 
realized they weren’t hiring, he 
shifted his focus to ornamental 
horticulture at Riverside City 
Colleg, and learned how to key 
out plants using the technical 
botanical books. 

 “Everyone was into the ‘back 
to nature’ thing back then, and 
I was mostly interested in wild 
plants that I could use for food,” 
says Snider.

 Snider was a quick learner and 
seems to have an encyclopedic 
knowledge of trees and plants. 
He was hired out of college 
to do street inventory work 
in Riverside. This involved 
walking the streets in Riverside 
and cataloging the trees in the 
computer with a number. Snider 
smiles and points to the tree next 
to where we’re standing. “This 
is a number 83,” he tells me, “a 
Cupaniopsis anacardioides, a 
carrotwood tree, and I would 
record this in my computer 
as an 83.” His tree inventory 
work included noting the exact 
location, and condition of the 

 Snider relates that this was 
pretty straightforward work, 
with an occasional dog that 
would chase him. 

 His tree identification work 
has taken him near remote 
Indian sites, from mountain 
tops to the deserts. He say that 
although there is more diversity 
of trees today than there was in 
the days when only the Indians 
lived here, the trees that are here 
now are not necessarily more 
useful. “There was mostly a 
grass savannah here, with lots of 
oak trees producing acorns, and 
lots of open space to hunt game. 
Today, the greater diversity of 
trees does not produce more 
food, plus much of the open 
space is taken up by buildings 
and roads.”

 Snider is keenly aware of the 
health of trees, and how this 
relates to the general health and 
wellbeing of the local populace.

 For example, Snider points 
out that the ideal number of 
trees in the Big Bear area was 
figured out to be about 40 per 
acre. However, before the 
massive burn 6 years ago where 
everyone on the mountain had 
to be evacuated, the ratio was 
about 300 trees per acre. “This 
meant that there was less water 
per tree, and this allowed the 
bark beetle to cause devastation. 
The drought made things even 
worse,” explains Snider. People 
were unwilling to thin their 
trees, and so when the wildfire 
came, it burned out of control. 
Snider was called in after the fact 
to assist with tagging trees that 
had to be removed. 

 Snider is working on a 
plant identification book using 
primarily photos. (He also has a 
book in the works compiling all 
known guitar tunings).

 Part of the problem of the Big 
Bear firestorm was convincing 
residents to thin out the trees. 
“The residents said the trees 
were too pretty, and wouldn’t 
cut them. So the fire came in and 
forced the issue.”

 Snider also has a gripe with 
tree-pruners who don’t know 

 “Most tree pruners know 
nothing about trees or pruning, 
and some only know how to use 
a chain saw. Most do not know 
how to shape a tree, and they 
over-prune in hopes that they 
will not need to come back to the 
tree soon. But in fact, trees grow 
twice as fast when they are over-
pruned, since the tree is trying 
to compensate for the imbalance 
between the root system and the 
leaf system.

 “You should never remove 
more than 20 to 30% of the 
foliage of a tree in any one 
season,” says Snider.

 If looking for a good tree 
pruner, Snider suggests talking 
to the Ornamental Horticulture 
Department at CalPoly. 

 If you ask Snider to name 
the best tree for your backyard, 
he’ll tell you that’s the wrong 
question. “There is no best tree,” 
he explains, “since we need to 
take into account the lighting 
and shade conditions, the soil, 
the amount of space, the size of 
the mature tree, and maybe other 
factors.” To see some examples 
of trees and their conditions, 
Snider suggests going to Rancho 
Santa Ana Botanical Gardens in 
Claremont, the Arboretum in 
Arcadia, or Huntington Gardens 
in Pasadena. 

 Another interest of Snider’s 
is the natural history of the 
area, especially unique Native 
American calendric sites. One 
such example is Mockingbird 
Canyon, where the light of the 
sun makes a dagger through 
a circle on the winter solstice. 
This was a site used by the desert 
Cahuilla Indians and others.

 “These calenders in stone told 
the people when to find food, 
when to do the ceremonies, 
and about the changing of the 
seasons,” explains Snider.