By Janine Gates
It's one thing to take pictures and write articles and have them magically appear in newsprint or on the web for public consumption, but it's another thing to be intimately involved in the organization that makes that happen. As the new president of the South Puget Environmental Education Clearinghouse (SPEECH), I am honored with the board's confidence that I can and will continue its mission and long-lasting legacy.
As an Olympia resident for nearly 25 years now, I remember when my good friends Gita Moulton, Sue Patnude, and Peter Moulton incorporated SPEECH in March 1990, and rented out the space next to Childhood's End Gallery in downtown Olympia. I lived downtown then, and my daughter was in her infancy. We'd walk by the storefront window and often pop in to see Gita, who was always organizing materials and fixing everything up so cozy. In those days before the widespread popularity of the internet, it was quite the welcoming hub of environmental and non-profit group meetings, information sharing, and Green Pages production.
Now based further up 4th Ave. in the White Building, SPEECH still enjoys the consistent, dedicated, energy of local activists who have taken turns fostering this unique and , independent voice. I'm excited to take my turn and do my part.
New 2007 Board members who are equally excited to carry on SPEECH's efforts are Dr. Paul Allen, Vice-President, Kandice Caldwell, Secretary, and Melissa Drakeford, Treasurer. Thea Davis is now our Green Pages Managing Editor, a new title to match the excellent job she has been doing so effectively for so long. Through monthly meetings and a steady stream of group emails, we are motivated to follow through on ideas and commitments.
Suzanne Malakoff, whose Board term ended in February, helped SPEECH immeasurably with time and energy for several years in numerous capacities, including treasurer, bookkeeper, and distributor. Erica Guttman and Keith Cotton will stay on the board to provide much needed and appreciated institutional guidance. Longtime SPEECH friends like Krag Unsoeld and Paul Pickett continue to help with Green Pages labeling, bulk mail distribution and writing. Thank you!
All are invited to attend any SPEECH meeting. Every meeting brings forth new faces.
Abi Groskopf, an AmeriCorps member with the Native Plant Salvage Project, has lived in Olympia for four years and has always wanted to get involved with the Green Pages. She will now be learning our computer's label system to revamp and update our mailing list and solidify distribution efforts. Melissa Drakeford, who just arrived in Olympia from California, is now serving as our Treasurer, and will also delve into advertising outreach. Scott Bishop, South Sound's non-profit website developer extraordinaire, is in the process of developing a new SPEECH website!
While the Green Pages will stay a six issues/year publication in its hardcopy form for 2007, we envision our website as an interactive, up-to-the-minute local environmental news and information resource, and an organizing tool for activists. Look for more information about this in our next issue.
As a non-profit 501(c)3, SPEECH can sponsor student independent study contracts if you wish to use our organization for educational endeavors. The skills learned through SPEECH and the Green Pages are useful and transferable. Right now, we are particularly looking for a volunteer coordinator. In mailings or phone calls, people often indicate that they want to get involved. We need someone to contact those individuals and figure out the best use of their skills.
Finally, thank you to those who contributed an unbelievable $2300 in response to our December fund-raising letter. We really appreciate it. To bring in more money, we will be pursuing foundation grants for specific projects and environmental outreach efforts. In the past, SPEECH sponsored live, independent community forums on current environmental issues. Maybe it's time to get back to these forums.
Bottom line, we have a lot of energy and ideas because there are simply too many environmental issues unique to Olympia and the South Sound to ignore. Rampant growth, transportation issues, city, county, and port land-use issues, salmon habitat, the critical health of Budd Inlet and South Puget Sound, potential oil spills, locally endangered or threatened species, food politics, and larger issues, such as global warming, impact all of us.
We can all work better if we work together. Please feel free to contact us to see how you can fit in or offer your information or services to SPEECH. Thank you!
Janine Gates is President of the SPEECH board and a contributing writer and photographer.
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