After the annual event was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Virginia Yerxa Community Read Day is back on Saturday, with several events planned to recognize Richard Adam’s adventure tale, “Watership Down.” 

Due to current COVID-19 guidelines, organizers said this year’s installment will be a scaled down version of the annual event and will be held at Davis Ranches, 7681 Sycamore Slough Road, Colusa. 

To kick off the festivities, a plein air planting class will be held from 9:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., led by local artist Mary Ann Nation. Those interested in participating should register on the Virginia Yerka Read Day website. 

From 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., attendees can enjoy a self-guided story walking tour around the ranch, which will feature discussion prompts from the book as well as interesting facts about the local flora and fauna. The Master Gardeners of Colusa County, the Resource Conservation District and the Davis Ranches Conservation Team will be on hand to answer questions as well, according to organizers. 

A picnic lunch will take place from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., and food from the Arbuckle-based food truck Sauced will be available for purchase. 

Finally, an environmental humanities and animal fables seminar, led by Dr. Michael Ziser, will be held from 2-3:30 p.m. 

Ziser, the inaugural director of the University of California, Davis Environmental Humanities Research supercluster, will present his research that addresses questions about the image and agency of nonhuman nature in writing and visual arts while engaging the audience with ecocriticism, agrarianism, science, media and religious studies and bioregionalism thoughts and practices. 

The Virginia Yerxa Community Read was founded in 2010, in honor of Virginia Yerxa, whose long standing mission was to promote literacy to Colusa’s youth. Each year since, the Virginia Yerxa Community Read Committee has chosen a literary work and organized a series of community events based on the piece to promote literacy within Colusa. 

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