Sierra College Press

The Sierra College Press is one of the very few academic presses operated by a community college in the United States.

The Sierra College Press was formed in 2002 to publish Standing Guard: Telling our Stories as part of the Standing Guard Project’s examination of Japanese-American Internment during World War II. 

Building upon that foundation, the Sierra College Press expanded its role and function to become a wide-ranging academic press and information outlet.

Today, we publish books and two eJournals, Snowy Range Reflections and the Journal of the Sierra College Natural History Museum.


The mission of the Sierra College Press is to inform and inspire scholars, students, and general readers by disseminating ideas, knowledge, and academic scholarship of value concerning the Sierra Nevada region. The Sierra College Press endeavors to reach beyond the library, laboratory, and classroom to promote and examine this unique geography.

Headshot of Dr. Terry Beers

Dr. Terry Beers

  • Professor of English at Santa Clara University
  • Director of the California Legacy Project
Photo of Dr. David Beesley

Dr. Patric Ettinger

  • Professor of History at CSU, Sacramento
  • Co-Director, Capital Campus Oral History Program
  • Author of Imaginary Lines: Border Enforcement and the Origins of Undocumented Immigration, 1882-1930 (University of Texas Press, 2009)
Image of Tom Killion

Tom Killion

  • Artist and author
  • Author and illustrator of The High Sierra of California and Tamalpais Walking: Poetry, Prose and Prints (both in association with Pulitzer Prize recipient Gary Snyder)
Headshot of Tom Knudsen

Tom Knudson

  • Two-time Pulitzer Prize recipient
  • Reporter for the Sacramento Bee
  • Author of the newspaper series "Majesty and Tragedy: The Sierra in Peril," for which he won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service
Image of Gary Karutz

Gary Kurutz

  • Director of Special Collections, California State Library, Sacramento
  • Written extensively on the California Gold Rush and California Culture
  • Executive Director of the California State Library Foundation
  • Previous positions held: 
    • Head Librarian, Sutro Library
    • Library Director, California Historical Society
    • Bibliographer of Western Americana at the Henry E. Huntington Library
    • Head of the publication program of the Book Club of California, 1987-2008
Image of Scott Langford at Lake Tahoe

Scott Lankford

  • Author of Tahoe Beneath the Surface, co-published by Heyday and Sierra College Press (2010)
  • Member of the 1985 American Everest West Ridge Expedition
  • Ph.D. in modern thought and literature at Stanford University with a dissertation on John Muir
  • Professor of English at Foothill College, he has also served as Foothill's Dean of Language Arts and Co-director of the Foothill College Cultural Diversity Center
  • Currently, he is Co-director of the Foothill College Center for a Sustainable Future
Image of John Muir Laws in Sierra Nevadas

John Muir Laws

  • Associate of the California Academy of Sciences
  • Author and illustrator of Sierra Birds:
    • A Hiker's Guide
    • The Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada
    • The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds
    • The Laws Sketchbook for Nature Journaling
    • The Law Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling
Beverly Lewis with Kermit the Frog and a US Park Ranger

Beverly Lewis

  • Director, Placer-Lake Tahoe Film Office
  • Worked three years in the Louisiana State Film Office
  • MFA from UCLA School of Film and Television
  • Documentarian, recipient of awards from National Educational Film and Video Festival, and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (the group that awards the Golden Globes)
Headshot of Malcolm Margolin

Malcolm Margolin

  • Founder of Heyday Books
  • An expert on Native California
  • 2008 recipient of the prestigious Hubert Howe Bancroft Award from the UC Berkeley Bancroft Library in recognition of significant achievements in support of historical research and scholarship
Headshot of Mark McLaughlin

Mark McLaughin

  • Sierra Nevada weather and cultural historian
  • Recipient of the Nevada State Press Association. Awarded on five occasions for his newspaper column
Headshot of Kim Stanley Robinson

Kim Stanley Robinson

  • Science fiction author, winner of 11 major science fiction awards
  • Guest author in UC Davis Writing Ambassadors Program
  • Recipient of the 2008 Time Hero of the Environment
  • Ph.D. in Literature, UC San Diego, 1982
  • Humanism, utopia, environmentalism and transcendentalism are major themes in his writings
Headshot of Jesikah Maria Ross

Jesika Maria Ross

  • Co-founder and Director, Art of Regional Change at UC Davis
  • Community media developer
  • Award-winning documentary film producer
  • Co-producer of the award-winning Saving the Sierra: Voices of Conservation in Action public radio and web project
Headshot of Michael Sanford

Michael Sanford

  • Vice-President of Content Creation for KVIE-PBS Channel 6 in Sacramento
  • More than 25 years of experience in television news, programming and production
  • Produced segments for CNN, the Discovery Channel and the Travel Channel
Headshot of Lee Stetson

Lee Stetson

  • Actor best known for his re-creation of John Muir
  • Author of The Wild Muir
  • Original member of the Board of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy
  • Mariposa County Supervisor
Headshot of Catherine Stifter

Catherine Stifter

  • Two-time Peabody Award recipient
  • Co-producer of the award-winning Saving the Sierra: Voices of the Conservation in Action public radio and web project
Headshot of René Yung

René Yung

  • Artistic and Project Director of Chinese Whispers - a project to examine the lives and experiences of the Chinese in the Sierra Nevada region
  • Faculty member at City College of San Francisco and owner of René Yung Communications Design
  • Artistic and Project Director of Our Oakland: Eastside Stories
  • Multidisciplinary artist with record of national and international exhibitions, including the 46th Venice Biennale (1995)

Board of Directors

  • Kim Bateman, Executive Dean of the Tahoe-Truckee campus
  • Sean Booth, Professor of Geography
  • Kerrie Cassidy, Graphics Manager and Designer, Sierra College
  • Daniel DeFoe, Professor of History and Communications Studies, Sierra College
  • Ralph De Unamuno, Professor of History, Sierra College
  • David Dickson, retired Sierra College Professor of English and German; President of the Sierra College Friends of the Library
  • Tom Fillebrown, Chair, Applied Arts and Design Department, Sierra College
  • Christine Freeman, retired online educational specialist
  • Rebecca Gregg, Professor Emeritus, Photography
  • Brian Haley, retired Dean of the LRC/Library, Sierra College
  • Rick Heide, Community member, award-winning Author, Co-editor of The Illuminated Landscape
  • Jay Hester, Professor of History and President of SCFA, Sierra College
  • David Kuchera, Professor of History
  • Joe Medeiros, Professor of Biological Sciences Emeritus, Sierra College; Illustrator and Contributor to The Illuminated Landscape
  • Sue Micheals, former Manager of Marketing and Public Relations, Sierra College
  • Josh Morgan, Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Sierra College
  • Gary Noy, retired, former Editor-in-Chief of Sierra College Press; former Director of Sierra College Center for Sierra Nevada Studies; Co-Editor of The Illuminated Landscape
  • Bart O'Brien, retired superintendent of the Placer Union High School District
  • Vincent Pacheco, Professor of Applied Art and Design, Sierra College
  • Sabrina Pape, Dean of the LRC/Library, Sierra College
  • Mike Price, retired Sierra College Webmaster
  • Jennifer Skillen, Professor, Biological Sciences, Sierra College
  • Barbara Vineyard, Former President and member, Sierra College Board of Trustees; former Sierra College student
  • Lynette Vrooman, Professor of English, Sierra College Nevada County Campus
  • Randy White, retired educator, Publisher Blue Oak Press

Sierra College Press entered into a multi-year, multi-book publishing partnership with Heyday Books in 2012.

The mission of the Heyday-Sierra College Press Publishing Partnership is to produce quality books with unique and thought-provoking perspectives that examine and celebrate Sierra Nevada history, culture, science, and public policy. The works published by this partnership will strive to inspire, entertain, inform and enlighten. Our ultimate goal is to create enduring publications that make a difference.

The Heyday-Sierra College Press Publishing Partnership:

  • Works with and strengthens Sierra Nevada scholars, institutions and organizations that are striving to protect, preserve and improve the future well-being and good health of the region
  • Develops new artists and authors with a goal of preserving the memories, achievements and traditions of past generations
  • Introduces young people, students, visitors and newcomers to the extraordinary Sierra Nevada story
  • Builds upon the reputation of Sierra College, the Sierra College Press and Heyday for scholarship and outreach to help nurture a more informed Sierra Nevada community
  • Promotes discussion of important issues facing the Sierra Nevada both today and in the future

Under the renewable agreement, Sierra College provides $75,000 to produce at least three books within a five year period.

The partnership was approved by the Sierra College Board of Trustees in honor of retiring College Trustee Barbara Vineyard, in recognition of her 28 years of extraordinary service to Sierra College.

About Heyday Books

Heyday Books is an independent, nonprofit publisher and unique cultural institution. They promote widespread awareness and celebration of California's many cultures, landscapes, and boundary-breaking ideas. Through their well-crafted books, public events, and innovative outreach programs they have built a vibrant community of readers, writers, and thinkers.

Heyday was founded by Malcolm Margolin in 1974 when he wrote, typeset, designed, and distributed The East Bay Out, a quirky, personal, affectionate guide to the natural history of the hills and bayshore around Berkeley and Oakland. Out of this modest first effort a major California cultural enterprise has taken shape. Heyday publishes around twenty-five books a year, founded two successful magazines—News from Native California and Bay Nature—and has taken a lead role in hundreds of prominent public education programs throughout the state.

HeyDay Books since 1974 logo Sierra College logo

The Journal of the Sierra College Natural History Museum

Provides information about Sierra College’s extraordinary Natural History Museum and the natural history of our region and world.

  • v1n1: Wonders of the Natural History Museum.
  • v1n2: The Sierra Nevada and the conservation movement it inspired.
  • v2n1: Nature and history along the Interstate 80 corridor.
  • v2n2: Evolutionary theory on the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth.
  • v3n1: Ways in which various organisms fly.
  • v3n2: How we use science in our decision making.
  • v4n1: The celebration of Sierra College's 75 years by giving a history of field trips at Sierra College.
  • v4n2: Directory of museums of the Sierra Nevada
  • v5n1: Natural History Museum lecture series
  • v5n2: Six on the Sierra: Rock Stars. Audio lectures relating to the geology of the Sierra Nevada.
  • v6n1: Women in Nature: A Gallery of Influential and Pioneering Female Naturalists
  • v6n2: State symbols related to the Sierra Nevada

Snowy Range Reflections: The Journal of Sierra Nevada History and Biography

Examines the fascinating history and characters of what John Muir called “The Range of Light.”

  • v1n1: The Range of Light itself: earth, fire, water, and wind.
  • v1n3: Education and entertainment are entwined in an issue devoted to entertainment, Gold Country style.
  • v2n1: Explores the rugged romance and the harsh reality of the California gold fields.
  • v2n2: The highways and byways, buildings and bridges that connect all of us who live in the shadow of the “Range of Light.”
  • v3n1: Alonzo Delano: nomad denizen of the world
  • v3n2: For your reading and listening pleasure a small sampling of the prose and poetry to be found and enjoyed in The Illuminated Landscape.
  • v4n1: The celebration of Sierra College's 75 years by providing a few examples of the inspiring history, and, especially, people who contributed to the history of the Sierra College.
  • v4n2: On the Sierra Nevada: Women writers of the 19th Century—presents the writings of fourteen 19th century women writing on their experiences in, and opinions of, the Sierra Nevada region.
  • v5n1: Seventeen little-known figures from Sierra Nevada history
  • v5n2: Six on the Sierra: Authors. Audio lectures on authors writing about the Sierra Nevada.
  • v6n1: Hetch Hetchy Restored?
  • v6n2: Mark McLaughlin: Sierra Nevada Weather and Cultural Historian

The following books were published by Sierra College Press or in collaboration with Heyday Books.

California Glaciers book cover

California Glaciers

Photographs and text by Tim Palmer

About the Book
A victim to climate change, California’s glaciers are receding at an alarming rate. Award-winning photographer and nature writer Tim Palmer takes us on a trek into the backcountry to experience the remaining glaciers up close, to observe the raw power that for millennia has carved glacial valleys, replenished our lakes, rivers, and streams, and supported a bounty of life that may soon be in jeopardy with the loss of one of the state’s most vital and awe-inspiring natural wonders.

Gold Rush book cover

Gold Rush Stories: 49 Tales of Seekers, Scoundrels, Loss and Luck

By Gary Noy

About the Book

Gold Rush Stories: 49 Tales of Seekers, Scoundrels, Loss and Luck
 explores the deeply human stories of the California Gold Rush generation, drawing out all the brutality, tragedy, humor, and prosperity as lived by those who experienced it. In less than ten years, more than 300,000 people made the journey to California, some from as far away as Chile and China. Many of them were dreamers seeking a better life, like Mifflin Wistar Gibbs, who eventually became the first African American judge, and Eliza Farnham, an early feminist who founded California’s first association to advocate for women’s civil rights.

The Illuminated Landscape book cover

The Illuminated Landscape

Edited by Gary Noy and Rick Heide
Illustrated by Joe Medeiros
Foreward by Robert Hanna

About the Book
The essays, poetry, and stories presented in The Illuminated Landscape encompass the entire Sierra Nevada experience. With the power of the written word to inspire, energize, and challenge, this anthology shines a light on what is at risk for the Sierra Nevada today and reinforces the importance of sustaining its beauty and ecological diversity.



King Sequoia book cover

King Sequoia: The Tree That Inspired a Nation, Created Our National Park System, and Changed the Way We Think About Nature

By William C. Tweed
Foreward by Joe Medeiros

About the Book
From a towering tree, one of California’s preeminent naturalists unspools a history that echoes across generations and continents. Former park ranger William C. Tweed takes readers on a tour of the Big Trees in a narrative that travels deep into the Sierras, around the West, and all the way to New Zealand; and in doing so he explores the American public’s evolving relationship with sequoias.

Featuring an entrancing cast of adventurers, researchers, politicians, and environmentalists, King Sequoia reveals how one tree species has transformed Americans’ connection to the natural world.

Sierra Stories book cover

Sierra Stories

By Gary Noy

The Sierra Nevada, with its 14,000-foot granite mountains, crystalline lakes, conifer forests, and hidden valleys, has long been the domain of dreams, attracting the heroic and the delusional, the best of humanity and the worst. Stories abound, and characters emerge so outlandish and outrageous that they have to be real.

Could the human imagination have invented someone like Eliza Gilbert? Born in Limerick, Ireland, in 1818, she transformed herself into Lola Montez, born in Seville, Spain, in 1823, and brought to the Gold Country the provocative “Spider Dance”—impersonating a young woman repelling a legion of angry spiders under her petticoats.

Or multimillionaire George Whittell Jr., who was frequently spotted driving around Lake Tahoe in a luxurious convertible with his pet lion in the front seat. These, and scores more, spill out of the pages of this well-illustrated and lively tribute to the Sierra.

Tahoe Beneath the Surface book cover

Tahoe Beneath the Surface

By Scott Lankford
Cover art by Tom Killion

About the Book
Lake Tahoe transformed America, and not just once but many times over—from the earliest Ice Age civilizations to the mysterious death of Marilyn Monroe. It even played a hidden role in the American conquest of California, the launch of the Republican Party, and the birth of John Steinbeck’s first novel. Along the way, Lake Tahoe found the time to invent the ski industry, spark the sexual revolution, and win countless Academy Awards.

Tahoe beneath the Surface brings this hidden history of America’s largest mountain lake to life through the stories of its most celebrated residents and visitors over the last ten thousand years.

Standing Guard book cover

Standing Guard: Telling Our Stories

Edited by Dr. Debra Sutphen and Lynn Medeiros, Sierra College history professors

Designed by Tom Fillebrown, Sierra College Assistant Professor of Applied Art and Design

About the Book
Standing Guard: Telling Our Stories is a collection of oral histories from survivors of the internment camps, Japanese American veterans, and Placer County residents, recounting their experiences during the time. 

Nature Trail Guide book cover

Sierra Foothills Nature Guide: A Guide to Biology and Ecology of the Sierra College Nature Trail (Fourth Edition)

Edited and updated by Shawna Martinez, Sierra College Professor of Biological Sciences along with colleagues and students 
Illustrated by Sarah Tomich, Ken Kirkland and Heather Mehl

About the Book
As knowledge of the Nature Trail area has expanded, the guide has grown as well. This edition features the flora and fauna one can see while exploring Sierra College’s nature trail and much of the Sierra foothills. The newest edition of the guide is beautifully illustrated and includes detailed drawings and descriptions of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians common to the foothill regions of California.

Hellacious California book cover

Sierra Stories/Gold Rush Stories/Hellacious California

Written by Gary Noy
Introduction by Gary Kurutz

About the Book
Lured by boons of gold and other exploitable resources, California’s settler population mushroomed under Mexican and early American control, and this period of rapid transformation gave rise to a freewheeling culture best epitomized by its entertainments. Hellacious California tours the rambunctious and occasionally appalling amusements of the Golden State: gambling, gun duels, knife fights, gracious dining and gluttony, prostitution, fandangos, cigars, con artistry, and the demon drink. Historian Gary Noy unearths myriad primary sources, many of which have never before been published, to spin his true tall tales that are by turns humorous and horrifying.

Sierra Wildflowers book cover

Sierra Wildflowers: A Hiker's Guide

Written and illustrated by John Muir Laws

About the Book
From sprawling fields of showy hillside poppies, lupines, and paintbrushes in the foothills to orchids, lilies, and primroses in the higher meadows of our national parks, the Sierra Nevada is one of the premier wildflower destinations in California. Naturalist John Muir Laws has adapted his painted-from-life flower illustrations from The Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada into a lightweight yet durable guidebook to the area's florae. Sierra Wildflowers includes the most common species that you will encounter, with fully updated common and scientific names. Flowers are organized by color and shape, making identification easy for flower enthusiasts of all experience levels.

Book Cover of Hansen's Field Guide to the Birds of Sierra Nevada

Hansen's Field Guide to the Birds of the Sierra Nevada

Written and illustrated by Keith Hansen, Edward C. Beedy and Adam Donkin

About the Book
Identify and learn about more than two hundred and fifty birds of the Sierra Nevada. From the tiniest hummingbirds to condors with nine-foot wingspans; from lower-elevation wrens to the rasping nutcrackers of the High Sierra; from urban House Sparrows to wild water–loving American Dippers, Hansen’s Field Guide to the Birds of the Sierra Nevada showcases artist-naturalist Keith Hansen’s sixteen-year project to illustrate the birds of the Sierra. Paired with stunningly detailed portraits is text informed by more than one hundred years of the authors’ collective birding experience—prose that while firmly grounded in expertise will nonetheless delight readers with its whimsy, allusion, and affection.

Sierra Writers Conference 2021 titled Empowering Voices featuring keynote speakers James McBride and Dr. Bettina Love First held in 2016 as a collaboration between Sierra Writers and Sierra College, now supported by Sierra College Press, the Sierra Writers Conference is an annual event that provides inspiration, thought-provoking discussions of timely topics, access to professional writers and publishers, and writing activities for Sierra College students and the greater community through lectures, panels, workshops, and networking opportunities.
Sierra Journal 2019-2020 cover features image of Sierra Nevada mountains with a body of water in the foreground The Sierra Journal is an important touchstone in the history of Sierra’s students and staff. First created in the English Department by faculty and students in 1960, the publication transitioned from View-point (1960–72) to I Am (1973–75) and finally to the Sierra Journal in 1976. The publication continued annually until 2011–12. It was published online in 2012–13. Publication was suspended until it was resumed by the Sierra College Press in 2017–18.

Today, the Sierra Journal continues as an example of the typical spirit that exists at this institution. The Sierra College Press Board of Directors eagerly voted to act as a reliable and sustainable supporter of the Sierra Journal. Sierra College Press hopes to stabilize this student-produced publication, especially to free up the precious faculty time that it takes to be creative, work on submissions, vet, edit, and fine-tune the literature, photographs, and art that graces its pages—as well as design and layout the winning sub-missions, and finally creating a cohesive collection for publication. Copies of the entire run of this literary and arts publication can be found in the Sierra College Archives in Rocklin, CA.