On February 25, 2020, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors designated the site of the John Woolman School, now simply known as “Woolman,” as a historic Nevada County landmark.
Previously a working ranch, Woolman is centered on a beautiful rural site in the Sierra Nevada foothills, within the native homeland of the local Nisenan tribe on property, and welcomed its first students in 1963. The John Woolman School is historically significant as an important example of the profound commitment of American Quakers to education, and to the individual discovery of truth through silent reflection and continuing revelation. Quaker programs for youth emphasized simplicity, equality, community, and nonviolence, while fostering an appreciation for the natural world, and the importance of studying and understanding science.
New programs have replaced the boarding school since it was laid down. Adults and youth of diverse identities and geographies come to Woolman to experience programs based on Quaker ideals. They reconnect with the personal values of fairness, diversity and equality in our social systems, and learn to take action to heal the planet while living in a nurturing community on the land.
Unique aspects of Woolman as an historic landmark:
- We are the first Quaker boarding school to be located on the West Coast.
- John Woolman School students helped build the Independence Trail with John Olmsted.
- We have an original Noborigama Climbing Kiln, one of the largest wood-fired kilns in existence in the U.S.
- The school founders helped start the local BriarPatch food co-op.
- Gary Snyder, the Beat Poet, sent his daughter to Woolman.
- John Tecklin, a former student, founded Mountain Bounty Farms.
- Shana Maziarz, an alumna of the school, founded Three Forks Bakery and Brewery.
- Malaika Bishop, a former student, founded Sierra Harvest.
- Lew Sitzer, founder of the Sunflower School, taught at Woolman.
- Songwriter Kate Wolf visited the school in 1977, and wrote a song called "Fly Away" about our rope swing tree, which appears on her album The Wind Blows Wild and on a DVD of one of her concerts.
from Sierra Friends Center (2/26/2020)