NCAP Memories: Stories From Our Members, Board, and Staff
We'd love the 35th Anniversary site to include your memories!
"I discovered my love for ecology in 1974 while working on a pre-med degree at the University of Arizona. I was 22 years old, and my pre-med program was going well... Med school was looking certain and less than 2 years away. For the last elective of my program, I took a class in Ecology. That was it! I was hooked!!... Ecology was a relatively young academic discipline in those days. Theoretical ecology was "hot". My professors, while strongly encouraging me to enter a doctoral program, could not suggest programs that would lead me toward real-world problem-solving. December 1975 found me finishing a degree in Wildlife Ecology and taking a year to figure out a plan. I moved to the Oregon coast in August of 1976. That winter barely rained. Neskowin and Cloverdale were so beautiful...I was hooked again! I became a native Oregonian by choice, this was home. January 1977: Publishers Paper Corporation began logging on the ridge at the foot of the valley. And I used my education in the sciences to answer the questions, 'What is the toxicity of Tordon-101, and should residents of the valley be concerned?' July 1977: Publishers sprayed members of Neskowin/ Roselodge; concerned citizens. The ensuing legal shenanigans convinced me of the intransigence and shortsightedness of the timber industry. The use of chemicals in forestry was clearly a real-world problem needing solving. In the Autumn of 1977 we formed NCAP. My dedication to NCAP was absolute. These pesticides were biocides, the effects of which would last for generations. Ecosystem function would be disrupted. Human mortality and chronic disease would prevail. Two of the most widely used herbicides in forestry were the components of Agent Orange. Surely some scientist had noticed that these are so indiscriminately applied that their effects will be significant. No matter how much I read in the technical literature, and in the media, there were no scientists speaking out against pesticide proliferation. I had found my real-world problem: the effects of pesticides on forest resources, and the adjacent aquatic and human resources." -Marla Gilham
"My support of NCAP springs from my conviction, which goes back almost 20 years, that pesticides are bad for the environment and our health." -Leonard Ablieter
"NCAP's work is so important to me. As a parent of young children and a high school environmental science teacher, I share NCAP's values of improving environmental health and educating citizens of the effects of pesticide use. As a board member, I value the opportunity to support NCAP's work, which I see as vital to maintaining a healthy natural world." -Helen Haberman
"We've donated two percent of the sales of organically grown Café Mam coffee to NCAP since 1990. It is important to our customers that their dollars are producing positive changes for growers in Mexico, and alternatives to pesticides in the U.S." -Brad Lerch
"During college, I was involved with migrant farm workers and learned something of the effects of pesticides on that population. When i saw NCAP's description in the Environmental Federation of Oregon's brochure... it struck a chord with me." -Cindy Roh
"[NCAP is] helping to promote something I believe in: not using pesticides." -Steven Salman
"I have been involved with NCAP going on 8 years. My initial experience was as a sponsor for some of the agriculture activities in Idaho. Since 2010 I have been a sponsor, member, contributor and member of the Board of Directors. Professionally, NCAP has been a great asset to our business. We own a company that sells natural organic soil amendments and fertilizers. It is a great fit working with NCAP because we both have the same goal in mind. That is to use natural processes in our environment and not chemicals. Personally, NCAP has been a huge help in making me more Green. NCAP is loaded with information and associates to help any person learn more on how to do things the right way. My daily outlook on life and the environment has greatly improved over the last 8 years. I have had great experiences working with the NCAP staff. Mostly they are the field days and workshops that NCAP puts on for the Organic Farmers in Idaho. Not only have I had the privilege of working with the staff, but I was able to get closer to the farmers and understand the challenges of their operations. There is a real joy to see attendees leave with a feeling of satisfaction for the time spent. The best part is I really got to know a lot of real good people! Since I have been on the board, I have become more familiar with the other staff members and the other NCAP activities. Beyond a doubt this is the best group of people I have ever worked with over my years affiliated with non-profits. I look forward to many exciting years working with NCAP." -Tony Brand
"I have worked on behalf of the environment and social justice for nearly 25 years with an emphasis on advancing alternatives to pesticides in agriculture and protecting people and planet. Working at NCAP I feel like I have come home. Our mission, our people and our success feeds my soul. The people we work with inspire me everyday with the commitment they have to finding ways to reduce and eliminate pesticide use. One of my favorite memories is from our April 2010 staff and board retreat. We were all working together to develop a new three year plan for NCAP. It was fun and inspiring and resulted in a solid and strategic plan. The board and staff worked really well together, we had a fantastic facilitator (Pam Mavrolas) and it was a lot of fun!" -Kim Leval
"As a University of Oregon graduate student studying pesticide issues, I feel very fortunate to be able to work with NCAP. This amazing organization is a constant, encouraging reminder of the on-the-ground work to promote alternatives to pesticides in agriculture and urban areas. I had a lot of fun participating in the 2011 Eugene Celebration Parade with NCAP. We were dressed as bees, and promoting the annual event Pollinator Party. We got to waggle and buzz around. It was great to be goofy and hopefully get people interested in NCAP. I also really enjoy all of our in-person board meetings. NCAP's board has an amazing variety of expertise, so it's great to hear everyone's point of view." -Sarah Nienaber
"I have worked at NCAP since June of 2000. In that time I have worked on a number of campaigns including Clean Water for Salmon and and Healthy Schools Healthy Children. Since high school I have been involved in environmental justice issues. I always knew my career would work to create a healthy legacy for future generations. Working at NCAP I have learned much about how to reach my goals and make a difference in the lives of others. When I hear about the hardships in this world, it really helps to know that my work is part of the solution." -Aimee Code
"NCAP provides invaluable scientific expertise in conjunction with its grassroots activism to assure us a cleaner environment and safe food supply. I began working with NCAP in the early 1980's as a county commissioner in an attempt to end indiscriminate roadside spraying. Their work was key to our success. The next year, when the state threatened aerial malathion spraying over large areas of Lane County to eradicate the gypsy moth, NCAP was a key player in our successful efforts to a adopt a less toxic alternative.
Since my election to Congress, NCAP has provided vital information on a host of issues. They played a key role in my fight for nationwide organic food standards and work to eliminate toxic pesticides in the Klamath refuges.
Our environment would be more degraded, more species would be at risk and our food supply less safe if it weren't for the work of NCAP." -United States Congressman Peter DeFazio
"In our software group, we try to get a handle on the overwhelming wave of priorities by sorting things up into buckets, with Bucket One containing things we must do, Bucket Two, those we'll do in time, Bucket Three, things we'll never get to. Well, everything NCAP does is in Bucket One. People weakened by poisons won't be able to solve the big problems in their lives and communities." -Roger Padvorac
"NCAP was great support when we had our problems with 24-5T here on Coos River." -Lionel Youst
"I make my living as a health educator at a university, yet realize that many of our health outcomes today are affected by far more than our individual health habits and choices. Many diseases and chronic health conditions come about because of living in a toxic environment. It takes a greater organization like NCAP to work toward a healthy environment. I included NCAP in my will because they address the larger issues of protecting human health as well as that of our ecosystem." -Annie Dochnahl
"It was like i was in a chemical war zone or an animal caught in a trap and there was no one to help me. NCAP was always here when I called- with a suggestion or the name of a person I could call." -Diana Purdy
"NCAP is a wonderful organization to work for. I love the approach the organization takes to work with the entire spectrum of pesticide (or nonpesticide) users. NCAP is a real bridge builder and it is a pleasure talking about our work to members and supporters. NCAP is also a great source of information on effective non chemical solutions for garden and home problems that I have benefitted from! I would have to say some of my favorite memories thus far with NCAP are from the annual events. The Rachel Carson Award ceremonies and recipients are so inspiring and really encapsulate why we are doing what we do. I look forward to many more annual events and meeting more and more of our supporters!" -Shelly Connor
"NCAP has allowed my volunteer activities to be more focused on methods for removing invasive plants without using herbicides. Having NCAP staff visit or exchange emails about the methods volunteers are using to remove clematis, ivy, blackberries, holly, laurel, black locust, hawthorn, garlic mustard, herb robert, and purple loosestrife has been helpful and a great two-way exchange of ideas. We have learned that we must have more persistence than the weeds. All of the noted weeds have been reduced in numbers in the past 5 years at Mary S Young Park in West Linn. A few are almost nonexistent. " -David Kruse
"As a result of my affiliation with NCAP I became a member of the county weed board and advocated for non-toxic control of noxious weeds along roadways and riparian areas. At my first NCAP Board Meeting I met Dahinda Meda, husband to then Executive Director of NCAP Norma Grier. In the early 90's Dahinda had recently begun importing and marketing Fair Trade and organic Cafe' Mam Coffee from Chiapas, Mexico. He asked if I'd be interested in marketing Cafe' Mam in Montana. Twenty years later it has become my principal income. Thanks Dahinda! When visiting Eugene for a board meeting, or other occasions to this day Norma Grier and Dahinda always welcomed me to stay with them at their organic blueberry farm. We became great pals and shared many hours together in the garden and on Willamette Valley Trails. Some NCAT Board Meetings were held in remote and scenic places affording special pleasures looking out to the Pacific Ocean or floating the Rogue River or playing volley ball with fellow board members and staff at Doe Bay on Orcas Island. Another favorite was seeing Kialani Lee perform A Sense of Wonder twice here in Montana and several times in Oregon. I especially enjoyed sharing some suds with her at a local watering hole following the performances. Other very impressive individuals I met through NCAP activities include Theo Coburn author of Our Stolen Future and Sandra Steingraber author of Living Down Stream and Having Faith. Thanks for the memories, great people on staff and board, and valuable information, NCAP!" -Jim Barngrover
"BLM [The Bureau of Land Management] never recovered from the impact NCAP had on my professional life!!" -Odos Lowery
"NCAP has enabled us to direct our focus and our support toward a local cause that falls completely in line with our own personal and professional values. I enjoyed the Fundraiser Auction in Eugene earlier this year, meeting other various supporters and folks who care a great deal about the future of our planet." -Deanna Vazuqez
"Personally, NCAP has allowed me to work with wonderful people who are smart, dedicated and very talented at what they do. I am proud to call my co-workers friends. Being on staff also serves as a daily reaffirmation of my own commitment to the environment. I am fortunate to be able to go to work every day and do something that I believe in. Professionally, NCAP is an incredible teacher. I have learned more than I could have imagined about the current science and policy regarding pesticides, the ways in which science and policy interact, and the ways in which they don't...but should. One of my favorite things is when I get to work with people who exist partially or wholly outside of the environmental movement. It is highly satisfying when I can make a difference with people who, due to whatever circumstances, don't spend the majority of their time thinking about the environment in general, or pesticides in particular. Earlier this year I traveled to speak to a community group out in rural Washington. They were a diverse mix of property owners who were highly concerned about municipal plans to build a new right-of-way that would affect the boundaries of their lands. While researching the various things the construction of this right of way would entail, members of the group discovered a rather long list of herbicides that would be applied to manage vegetation throughout the area in question. Their main concern was the right of way itself, but they definitely didn't like the idea of other people spraying stuff on their land. So they contacted NCAP for information. One evening, after some initial discussions with the community leader, I made the long drive through some incredibly beautiful forestland to meet with the entire group. In a lonely Grange Hall, deep in the woods, we went down the list of pesticides together, referring to the NCAP factsheets for each chemical and discussing the latest health impact studies. There were quite a few questions, even some skeptical faces at first, but by the end of the night everyone in the room was sincerely considering the impact these chemicals can have - on the environment, on wildlife, on water quality...you name it. Many of them became NCAP supporters through signing up for our newsletter. Several assured me they'd no longer be using pesticides themselves. Afterward, NCAP got many gracious thanks and a donation from the group to support our programs. It was a long drive home after a good day at work." -Josh Vincent
"I appreciate NCAP's emphasis on alternatives and equally appreciate the public education about the biology of pest species. Understanding the biology of a pest tends to bring sanity to the process. I've been a member of NCAP for 10 years, and I continue to depend on NCAP's resources to work on issues in my community." -Mary Blackmore
"I like NCAP's whole mission of suggesting alternatives. I'm interested in spreading the word about the dangers of pesticides. I liked doing research and writing for the Journal. It's a good experience and rare that a high school student gets to get published." -Rebecca Williams
"NCAP has enabled me to have access to pertinent information on herbicide formulations and their impacts on human and animal life, the waters and environment of the earth. I have been able to use this in the many comments I have made and in press releases for our group Alaska Survival in Talkeetna Alaska." -Becky Long
"NCAP has been very helpful in keeping up to date and widening our scope of understanding" -Dick Evans
"We've been relying on NCAP's updates for years- they provide a central composite for issues that we are experiencing in the field. When you learn in more detail about these issues, you can ask the critical questions that need to be asked." -Peter Brucker
"NCAP's information material is helpful in convincing neighbors and the press of the harms of pesticides. It has given us information and support to know we're not alone in combating the use of pesticides, particularly the involuntary exposure to humans (such as via aerial spraying and drift)." -Richard Sigler
"NCAP not only works to help local citizens reduce pesticide use in their communities, but they help to raise the awareness of the general public about this issue. We contributed to NCAP's endowment because we recognize it will take long-term dedication to bring about meaningful change." -Debbie and Dave Pickering
We'd love the 35th Anniversary site to include your memories!