Singin’ for the Species
There’s nothing like music to unite people for a cause, and folk musician Walkin’ Jim Stoltz knew it. His cause happened to be appreciating our wild places and all the species — ahem, “critters” — that call them home. In addition to his extensive repertoire of wilderness music for adults, Stoltz sang about a wide range of creatures in fun kids’ songs, from “Slugs and Bugs” to “Mountain Goat Promenade” to “It Ain’t Easy Bein’ an Ol’ Grizzly Bear.”
Tragically, Walkin’ Jim died in fall 2010 of cancer. He was beloved by many, and the thousands of children and others with whom he shared his deep understanding, profound respect, and unconditional love of nature.
The Center’s favorite Walkin’ Jim song has got to be “Pika Pika” — about the American pika, a small, mountain-dwelling, cold-adapted relative of the rabbit in imminent peril from global warming. We’ve been working hard to get the pika protected under the Endangered Species Act, but until Walkin’ Jim, we hadn’t had a song to whistle while we do it. We wish we could have been there when Stoltz led elementary school students in singing the song — presented as a “squeak-along” to showcase the pika’s distinctive call — and taught them all about the animal and the threats it faces.
Not only did Walkin’ Jim Stoltz sing about protecting species; he also helped protect them through his own nonprofit, Musicians United to Save the Environment (MUSE), which used music to raise funds for conservation projects. In 2009, MUSE sent the Center a grant specifically to help our campaign to save the pika.
Walkin’ Jim, we’ll always remember you — and thanks for all you’ve done.
Listen to "Pika Pika," check out Walkin’ Jim Stolz’s website, and learn more about MUSE.
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