By Former State Representative Liz VanLeeuwen –
Prior to 1978, Jane Newton of Philomath joined Oregon Women for Agriculture (OWA) because she felt we were representing the balanced needs of natural resource industries. Educating the public about the production of food and fiber.
OWA organized a week-long group trip to Washington, DC in January of 1978, to visit with congress persons, USDA officials and especially Douglas Costle of the Environment Protection Agency.
On the day that the tour group of 52 was scheduled to take a historic tour of the Capital area. Jane Newton and I decided it was more important to continue visiting Congressional offices with our concerns. I remember that while leaning against a table in a hallway Jane came up with the idea that she would go home and start a Women in Timber group similar to the Women for Agriculture group. The seed of Oregon Women in Timber (OWIT) was planted then in Jan 1978.
By Diann Washburn –
Jane was one of OWIT’s founding members and an advocate for educating Oregon about managed forests.
I was recently sent an article that was written in 1988 about Women for Timber and our education program before the days of “Talk About Trees”.
As I read through it– I thought of her, remembering her enthusiasm to share her passion for forestry. I could imagine her speaking to the reporter about the benefits of multiple use management of forest lands that require sunshine, moisture, nutrients and weed control!
Jane and a few others stand out in my mind as mentors who spoke to my generation about the importance of telling others our story. She encouraged us to get involved, and before I knew it I was helping with a presentation in my own local school and volunteering to be on a statewide board. Her enthusiasm was infectious, and she made an impression on many.
She cheered us on encouraging the OWIT membership to adopt a forest education program from California Women in Timber that would evolve into our current statewide program Talk About Trees. We’ve gone from 4000 to 5000 students a year to well over 150,000 and have sustained the program for 27 years.
Quite a legacy when you think back on its impact today.