NCAP Supporter Spotlight
NCAP members are critical to our success and we are so grateful for member support and partnership. We deeply appreciate everyone who supports our work, but some supporters deserve special recognition for the commitment they've made to NCAP and pesticide reform. Read about some extraordinary NCAP members and why they are committed to our work.
NCAP supporter Martha Clatterbaugh has shown a life-long commitment to education. She spent more than 30 years teaching elementary and middle school students and developing curricula for Washington’s public schools. Since 1998, Martha has also been involved in the Snohomish County Master Gardener program, where she’s been able to share her life-long love of gardening, and to educate and learn from other gardeners and community groups.
Martha first encountered NCAP at the 2002 National Pesticide Forum, which NCAP co-sponsored. There, she had the chance to meet writers and activists like Duff Wilson, whose stories on toxic heavy metals in fertilizer she had been following in the Seattle Times. For Martha, the forum helped to link global problems she was concerned about, like GMOs and toxic pesticides, with community action groups like NCAP. Martha has been a supporter ever since.
In the coming years, Martha says she’d like to see more organizations working toward transparency in labeling products that affect our health and environment. She believes that consumers should have access to better information about products in order to help them make more informed decisions.
Martha believes that creating a sense of empowerment—whether it’s the ability to choose safe and healthy products or the power to influence community decision-making—is vital to solving big problems: “Sometimes the issues can seem overwhelming. I have found that taking one small action, such as speaking at a public meeting, can be rewarding, even if the results are often elusive.”
Although she’d be too modest to tell you so herself, NCAP member Beth Rasgorshek was a pioneer in the urban organic farming movement. In the mid-90s, she was trained in Portland’s Master Gardener Program, and her Urban Bounty Farm was certified organic by Oregon Tilth. Urban Bounty Farm also offered one of the first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs in Portland.
In 1995, Beth discovered traces of the chemical insecticide Dieldren in her soil. That’s when she first became involved with NCAP.
“NCAP helped us understand the problem and some of our options. They were a valuable resource at a difficult time.”
Since then, Beth has returned to her home state of Idaho, where she operates Canyon Bounty Farm, an organic nursery and seed seller in Nampa. She’s happy to be continuing a tradition of Idaho family farming.
“I was raised in a farm family and have benefited from their generosity and knowledge. I am so grateful for that.”
Over the years, she’s worked to pass along that knowledge and experience to a new generation of first-time organic farmers: “I see a need to get young farmers on the land and to create support systems to keep them there.”
Although Beth is reluctant to call herself an activist, she says that working to bring people healthier food is a matter of common sense. “If your gut is telling you to get involved or to start a conversation, then do it.”
About six years ago,
Maya moved from Chicago to
Blachly, a small town in the Coastal Mountains of Oregon. She was looking for
an opportunity to live closer to the land: “I wanted to observe nature,” she
says. “To learn from nature, and to appreciate the intelligence behind nature.”
Since then, Maya has channeled her passion for the natural world into a successful organic farm, where she grows apples, pears, cherries, plums, blueberries, and root vegetables.
But Maya was saddened when she learned that, near her home, toxic pesticides were being used by the timber industry. When she began to notice a correlation between the pesticide spraying and her health, Maya started taking action.
“There’s a lot of false science out there,” she says, “but I know when pesticides are affecting my health”
She started asking questions about local pesticide spraying, going to public meetings, and working with other activists to stop the spraying. That’s when Maya discovered NCAP. She’s been a supporter ever since.
Jean began her affiliation with NCAP in 1985. While working on a degree in environmental management from the University of Oregon, she took an internship with Oregon Environmental Council (OEC) to study IPM policy in collaboration with NCAP. Understanding the need to replace pesticides with environmentally sound alternatives, and knowing much about how to do it, Jean soon joined NCAP's board of directors.
In the early 1990s, Jean and OEC worked with NCAP to help pass Oregon's original IPM bill, creating IPM programs for state agencies as a way of reducing the pesticides used on state managed lands. Since moving to the Oregon Coast in 2001, she has been serving on her local water district board and working with West Coast state environmental agencies to develop policies for dealing with oil spills.
Jean returned to NCAP's board as secretary in the early 2000s, and then served as board president from 2003 to 2007 before “retiring” to focus on other environmental policy work.
Currently, Jean says she's as motivated as ever when it comes to protecting kids and the environment from toxic pesticides. She remains a strong supporter of NCAP's work, and has plans to pursue estuary protections and address roadside spraying near her seaside community.
A lot of us here in the northwest have a certain affinity for the outdoors. By far, Jason Blake is no exception.
in Kentucky, Jason spent much of his time camping and fishing. These experiences
instilled in him, at a young age, a great appreciation for nature and an
understanding of how important it is to live in balance with the natural world.
This formed the foundation for his commitment to environmental work, which
became all the more urgent when he saw the devastation from mountain-top
removal mining in Eastern Kentucky and throughout Appalachia.
In the early 2000s, Jason went to work as a community organizer, working in Indiana on energy efficiency issues as well as in Michigan on organic agriculture. He then joined the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance with whom he helped to establish the 16,030 acre Sabiñoso Wilderness Area (also Sabinoso), only the second wilderness established in New Mexico in over 20 years.
Jason visited Eugene in 2009 and got to know NCAP through a job interview. When he moved here the following year to take a job with the Western Environmental Law Center as their Administrative & Development Assistant, he became involved with NCAP as a volunteer and monthly donor.
"Pesticide use has such an impact on the environment," Jason says. "It's a huge issue for me."
Gail first became involved with NCAP in the mid 1990s while working on toxics issues in Missoula with a group called Women's Voices for the Earth. At the time, Missoula county was proposing a roadside spray regimen of 2-4-D and tordon, so Gail contacted NCAP seeking information that might help local residents block the project. NCAP responded with factsheets and a letter to the county commissioners which Gail used as she persisted in opposing the county’s plan.
Eventually, she and WVE succeeded in stopping the spray. They also participated in a working group to develop alternatives to pesticides for the county management plans. Shortly thereafter, Gail joined NCAP’s board of directors where she served for over 10 years. During her time, she helped lead NCAP through strategic planning processes and the transition from one executive director to another.
Gail also served in the Montana State House of Representatives during this time, where she spent two sessions as the Vice Chair of the Natural Resources Committee. She was elected to the Public Service Commission of Montana in 2008 where she now aims to increase the number of renewable energy inputs, particularly wind-power, in Montana’s energy portfolio.
She is currently a member of NCAP’s Ladybug Lovely monthly giving program and insists that her sustained support will continue because, “NCAP is the organization that houses the preeminent information on pesticides. It is a resource unparalleled in the United States.”
While she retired from NCAP’s board of directors in December, 2010, Gail remains a dedicated proponent of our work who, “…wholeheartedly believes in the mission of the organization.” When asked about her current work on energy and the environment and what key changes she’d like to see happen in the next year, Gail offered this: “So many environmental issues can be dealt with regionally or at the state level, but it’s time for the President and Congress to get serious about energy efficiency, reducing fossil fuel consumption and lowering our nation’s carbon impact.”
We totally agree.