Women Helping Women Scholarship
Business & Professional Women of Nevada County members who realized that there were already many schol-arships available for young women graduating from high school but few, if any, for more mature women re-turning to school founded the Women Helping Women scholarship program 15 years ago. Since 1998, BPWNC has awarded 30 scholarships to deserving women over 25 years old. Women who are looking to their future receive a hand up both financially and through mentoring. The WHW schol-arship is about saying, “We believe in you!”
WHW scholarships help with tui-tion, books, childcare or any other needed services or supplies that sup-port a return to education. Awards are from $1000 to $3000 and are awarded twice each year, in February and August, based on applications and need and available funds. Our goal is to give at least $5000 in schol-arships throughout the year.
While the WHW scholarship is administered by the board of the tax exempt Education Fund, the pro-gram belongs to all the members of BPWNC. Indeed, it is part of BPWNC’s mission statement to support educa-tional opportunities for women. With the enthusiastic participation of all our members, BPWNC can continue to make a difference for local women who are already working hard to achieve their goals.
The board of the Education Fund/Women Helping Women Schol-arship program invites all members to become involved by serving on the Ed Fund board, donating money toward the scholarship award, raising funds or helping in many other capacities. Join us and give women the priceless gift of education.
For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 477-0746.
Lynn Wenzel, President
Judith McCarrick, Vice-President
Charlotte Cammon, Treasurer
Linda Horwitz, Secretary
Pamela Bryars, Board Member
What About That Constitution We Have?
As a young woman in the 60s, I came to value the concept of “constitutional rights” in America because of the Civil Rights Move-ment. I worked in low income neighborhoods helping to wage the War on Poverty; I marched for Farm Worker Rights; I demon-strated against the War in Vietnam, where many of my male high school friends were sent to fight. More than 30 years ago, short-ly before moving to California for law school, I was among a group of women who suc-cessfully persuaded my home state of Indi-ana to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution – the last state to do so, I might note, and by the way, we still don’t have Equal Rights!
Now, I’m in my 60s, and we can’t even feel “safe” any longer about our right to choice, the availability of contraceptives, or whether there’s a local clinic our young women can go to for information and help around these issues. There are even threats on our right to vote. I feel kinda like a gerbil, racing around in my circular cage, getting nowhere yet trying to go faster and faster. What hap-pened on the way to the Forum? Why are our constitutional rights as women again un-der attack? What is wrong with this picture?
In our community, we give special honor to the Constitution every year on the second Sunday of September. We even have a pa-rade, and floats, and prizes to get people downtown to Nevada City. These attacks on my rights as a woman have got me upset. Thus, as loath as I am to give up a Sunday afternoon when I could be out hiking or play-ing on the water or even watching football, I’m going to march in that darn parade, and I’m going to demonstrate that MY constitu-tional rights are just as big and important as yours, dear brothers, and it’s high time every-one got used to it!
BPW of NC is inviting all our sister organizations, and all Nevada County women and men, to march with us this September 9 at 2 PM in Nevada City. We have lots of great costumes, ban-ners, and a theme sign in storage since our group has participated in several past pa-rades and in the recent Relay for Life. We have Suffragette costumes, signs about the ERA, Rosie the Riveter headscarves and t-shirts, and banners for BPW and the Chau-tauqua movement. All these “props” will be available for borrowing at the August 15 membership meeting, or later by arrange-ment, and if you don’t see anything there you’d like to wear or carry, we’ll have mate-rials and ideas to inspire something you can do on your own.
Please consider giving up a few hours on September 9 to march together and reassert our constitutional rights. We’ll have fun, that I can promise, and we’ll make a point as well.
Hopefully, we’ll remind other local women how important it is to VOTE and be heard!
Thank you, Rosemary “Rosy” Metrailer, President
Synopsis of July Program
By Bev Lyon
Debbie Arakel, Executive Director, Nevada County Habitat for Humanity, inspired us on July 18, 2012 when she spoke about both the global and local missions of the organization.
Habitat for Humanity was established thirty-five years ago to build homes, community and hope and to build sustainably, which may mean using bricks made from local soil in Uganda and building stick houses elsewhere.
The organization is the sixth largest home-builder in the United States, is in ninety coun-tries and has built over 500,000 homes. Habitat for Humanity partners with local gov-ernments, businesses and individual donors. Whirlpool, for example, provides a new range and refrigerator to every home built in the U.S.
Critical to Habitat’s success is that they work WITH those in need. They are co-workers, not case workers. Habitat for Humanity does not give people houses; instead future homeown-ers must provide a 1% cash down payment and perform five hundred hours of communi-ty service, of which at least one hundred hours must be physical labor on their house. Habitat carries the loan, which is without in-terest.
Habitat for Humanity has been working in Nevada County since 1996. So far, they have built twenty-two houses in Grass Valley. Of these, they are all still owner occupied by the original families. There have been no foreclo-sures. Part of this track record comes from careful screening of applicants for need, in-come stability, and good credit. Also, each family is provided a mentor for a year.
A special Women Build week is held each May, and BPW members will be recruited next year. The ReStore covers all the administra-tive costs of the local program. So, please shop at, volunteer at and donate to ReStore. Also, you can attend the Street of Dreams Auc-tion/Dinner on October 5.
ONE WOMAN’S JOURNEY
– Recollections on a Unique Career
By Geri V. Bergen, Forester
A young girl enjoys the scent of a summer rainstorm in the Pocono Mountains, seeing the origin of the Delaware River in the Catskills, fishing for smelt in a Maine lake, or visiting the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens with her grandfather – all of this before WW II. No one who knew her then would have dreamed she would end up as a forester in California, the first women to become a Forest Supervisor of a National Forest in the US. I certainly couldn’t have. I can’t recall hearing the word “forestry” before I was 19 years old.
I had a very prosaic, traditional upbringing living in the Greater New York Metropolitan area, at a time when social classes were distinct and girls were expected to grow up to be wives and mothers. Although my father had a relatively good job with J. P. Morgan on Wall Street, my parents felt that they only had enough money to send my younger brother to college, and my older sister and I should go to secretarial school as insurance for the future. As a top student in high school, I was encouraged to go to college by many. But I had a high school sweetheart and, along with my parents’ inability to send me to college, elected to marry at age 19. My husband, a newly graduated electrical engineer, and I moved to Seattle Washington, where he had a job with Boeing. Although I had long wanted to visit National Parks, driving across the country provided me with my first exposure to National Forests. Living in the Pacific Northwest for seven years was a life-changing experience for me. A more open society was very refreshing. My hus-band and I camped in the summer and skied in the winter. We visited the nearby National Parks, Rainier and Olympic. We traveled throughout Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. I became somewhat acquainted with forestry concepts through visits to the University of Washington Arboretum and the Pack Experimental Forest near Mt. Rainier. We settled into a normal married life, and had three children.
Unfortunately, that didn’t last, and some years later, after we were divorced, I found myself living in Reno, Nevada. Since I had grown dissatisfied with secretarial work, I tried my hand dealing blackjack at a local casino. I had always been very shy, but as in this job I was dealing with the pub-lic, it was overall a good experience for me. I still wanted to make better use of my mind than I had been able to do working as a secretary or a dealer. Over the years I had come to want to attend college, and started to look into taking classes at the University of Nevada (UNR). But what to study? Something that I liked, that would expand my mind and my earning power. After some thought, I realized that the practice of forestry encompassed all the interests I had acquired during my years in Seattle. I could take preforestry courses at UNR while continuing to work nights, and I planned to transfer later to a four-year college. At that time (1958), some universities with forestry curricula still limited enrollment to men. The School of Forestry at the University of California at Berkeley (UCB) did not seem to do so, and I planned to get my forestry degree there. Building from my experiences living in the Pacific North-west, my goal was to become a practicing conservationist.
After 1-½ years at UNR, I was able to move to Berkeley, where I attended Oakland City College for one year, com-pleting all the needed Forestry prerequisites. In 1960 I was ready to attend forestry summer camp – only to find myself one woman with 40 male students, not all of whom were ready to accept me at first. Only later did I find out the Dean of Forestry had had to get approval from the Dean of Women Students to allow me to attend the camp. I was housed separately from the main camp, with the teaching assistants and their families, giving me extra walks up and down the hill to the Mess Hall and Study Hall every day. I was told I did as well as the “average” student, and went on to complete the next two years without major problems. Learning the value of teamwork was as important to my growth as my grades, which were excellent. At our gradua-tion, I was a runner-up for the UCB University Medal. But more important to me was the fact that my fellow forestry students had come to accept me and presented me with an axe-handle signed by all of them.
Agencies were not yet ready to hire women in the field at that time, and I was advised to go into research. I em-barked on a Ph.D. program, first in tree physiology, then in forest genetics, and also worked part-time as a Research Forester with the research branch of the U. S. Forest Ser-vice in Berkeley and Placerville, CA, spending one summer at the Institute of Forest Genetics in Placerville. After two years of study, I took time off to rethink my goals, and real-ized I missed working more closely with people. I decided to pursue a conservation-related career in the public infor-mation or writing fields, and finished off one semester later with a Masters degree in Botany. My children were then junior-high-school-aged, and I chose to work part-time for two years for the School of Forestry at UCB, researching and writing up histories of two research forests in the Sierra Nevada, Blodgett Forest and Whitaker’s Forest.
In 1967, a position opened on the Information and Educa-tion Staff in the Forest Service California Regional office in San Francisco. This position, called Women’s Activities, was normally filled by a woman who had risen within the organization but who did not have a professional degree. Grant Morse, the Staff Director, offered me the job at a professional level, and I decided it was too good an oppor-tunity to turn down, even though it meant working full-time and commuting across San Francisco Bay.
I worked as a public information specialist for five years, broadening the scope of the job across conservation pro-grams and audiences. In 1972, I was offered the Envi-ronmental Coordinator position for the Region. This was an exciting opportunity, as it was not long after the National Environmental Policy Act was passed. It was essentially a new job, with the opportunity to shape Regional policy and to contribute to National NEPA policy. I really enjoyed this position, but after six years, was starting to look for a change. In 1978 I applied for the Deputy Forest Supervisor (DFS) position on the Tahoe National Forest (NF), and was selected. I had remarried in 1959, and even though my husband had just started a new Bay Area printing business, I welcomed the opportunity to be DFS on the Tahoe. Myhusband and I agreed to set up two homes and split our
time between the two locations.
Bob Lancaster was the Tahoe Forest Supervisor at thattime. He was a great mentor and gave me many good development opportunities. He retired in 1984, and in January
1985 Regional Forester Zane Smith selected me as Tahoe Forest Supervisor. This was to me the high point of my career. I loved the Tahoe, and considered us to be a family. What was remarkable at that time was that I was the first woman nationally to be selected as a Forest Supervisor, a long way from a childhood in Brooklyn in the 1930’s. Among many accomplishments while I was on the Tahoe were the dedication of the Pacific Crest Trailhead at Donner Pass and, in 1990, the completion of the first Tahoe
NF Land and Resource Management Plan. That coincided with my successful application for a Washington Office position as Deputy Staff Director for Environmental
Coordination, which position I held until I retired in 1994. I had a number of other firsts during my career. I believe I was the first woman to be licensed as a California Registered
Professional Forester, and I served for a time on the California Professional Foresters Licensing Committee. In the Society of American Foresters (SAF), I was the first
woman to be elected a Fellow, and one of the first two women to be elected to the SAF national governing Council, in 1989.
It was a great career. I was fortunate to have many opportunities to prove myself and my abilities and to savor the rewards of my efforts. In both my career and my postcareer
accomplishments, I feel I really did achieve my goal of being a “practicing conservationist!”
The National Women’s History Museum- virtual or “real”? Or perhaps it’s both?
Submitted by SharonO’Hara
Women’s contributions and accomplishments for the most part have been overlooked and consequently omitted from mainstream culture. The National Women’s History Museum will help fill that void. Rather than rewriting current exhibitions at other history museums or having to decide what to omit elsewhere to “fit in” women’s history, the NWHM will serve to place women’s history along side current historical exhibitions. Women’s history isn’t meant to rewrite history. The objective is to promote scholarship and expand our knowledge of American histo-ry.
The National Women’s History Museum affirms the value of knowing Women’s History illuminates the role of women in transforming society and encourages all people, women and men, to participate in democratic dialogue about our future. To do this, the Museum will research, collect and exhibit the contributions of women to the social, cultural, eco-nomic and political life of our nation in a context of world history. The Museum will use innovative and engaging means including permanent and traveling exhibits, its Online Museum, educational programs, and outreach ef-forts to communicate the breath of women’s experiences and accomplishments to the widest possible audience. The sharing of this knowledge will illuminate and encourage women and men, people of all classes, races and cultures to move into the future with respect, equal confidence, greater partnership, and opportunity.
Our mission is to build the first ever national museum in Washington, D.C., dedicated exclusively to women’s his-tory. It will be centrally located near the world’s most prestigious museums and monuments in our Nation’s Capital. www.nwhm.org
YES: It’s all about the women at the London Olympics
It took 116 years, but the Olympic Games will finally enter the 20th century before too much more of the 21st goes by.
Nearly all the 205 nations marching into Friday’s opening ceremony will have at least one woman competing. It required a lot of arm-twisting for the ultimate holdout, Saudi Arabia, to relent, but even the world’s most chauvinistic Olympic nation has fallen in line, sending two women — a judo player and 800-meter runner — to compete in London. Perhaps it was the peer pressure from Brunei and Qatar.
Those most traditional old boys’ clubs caved this time, too, giving International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge a clear victory in what has been an extremely uneven journey to some sem-blance of gender equity at an event that once was as discriminatory as Augusta National Golf Club.
To be fair, we’re talking about a long time ago, 1896 to be exact, when Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the modern Olympics, forbidding women because, as he reasoned, it would be “impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic and incorrect.”
The USA has led the way in this push for equality, and it’s all because of Title IX, the 40-year-old law that opened the athletic floodgates for girls and wom-en to play sports in America and in the process be-come the envy of the rest of the Western world. Consider this: If there were no Title IX, there would be no women’s national soccer team, nor college scholarships for the female stars of the U.S. Olympic swimming and track and field teams, among many others.
Which leads us to another first: The 2012 U.S. Olym-pic team is composed of 529 athletes: 261 men and 268 women. Never before has America sent more women than men to an Olympic Games. And they are being led by another woman, chef de mission Teresa Edwards, a five-time Olympic medalist in basketball.
To be sure, had the U.S. men’s soccer team qualified for the Olympics that would have tipped the scales the other way. And many of the top American Olym-pic stars are male —Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Kobe Bryant. But if this American squad de-velops a nickname, odds are it will be something along the lines of “Team Title IX,” which sounds just about right to some of the nation’s best female Olym-pians.
“I think it’s a big deal, to come so far,” two-time Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh, herself a scholarship indoor volleyball player at Stan-ford, said Wednesday. “I don’t even know how many women would have been on the 1972 Olympic team, when Title IX was just starting. And now, to think of this. But I think we celebrate the growth and then we stop comparing.”
Swimmer Rebecca Soni, who is favored to win as many as three gold medals in these Games, also is a product of Title IX as a scholarship athlete at Southern California.
“It’s just a beautiful thing,” she said of the number of American women competing here. “It’s really wonder-ful to see that women athletes are celebrated just as much as men. I feel that, as a woman athlete, we’re recognized equally. To have more women than men on the team is really exciting. Having had Title IX all these years changes the sport of swimming. We have our Olympic swimmers being college swimmers and now (competing) even further (out of college) be-cause of all the opportunities that they were given in college.”
That doesn’t mean U.S. women win every time they leave the Olympic lock-er room; far from it. In fact, the American soccer team fell behind France 2-0 early in their opening Olympic match Wednesday before storming back to win, 4-2.