Advancing Equity for Women and Girls

Saturday, April 20, 2024, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Our Election Process–from one who oversees it

Jan Bedayn, Natalie Adona, & Lynn Forbes

You do not have to look far these days to find headlines about stolen elections and Americans waning confidence in the election process. While research indicates a slight rebound in election confidence in 2022, voter distrust persists across the partisan divide and among Black and Latino voters. How has our local election process shifted and adapted to this contentious political climate?

Natalie Adona, Nevada County Clerk Recorder.

On April 20th, the AAUW Branch Meeting hosted a ‘candid conversation’ with Natalie Adona, Nevada County Clerk Recorder, responding to questions posed by League of Women Voters Co-Presidents Jan Bedayn and Lynn Forbes. Since winning the election in 2022, Natalie Adona has worked diligently to create transparency in our local election process. Natalie’s experience and knowledge were on full display as she addressed queries about ballot security, mail-in vs. in-person voting, how votes are tallied, and our county vs. other counties’ demographics.

Sidney Pixley

Prior to this conversation the audience was treated to a lively and impassioned report from Sidney Pixley on her previous year’s participation in Gov Trek. Sidney emphasized the eye-opening aspect of her interactions with women in government positions across the state of CA, the many details involved in putting together a political campaign, and how surprisingly well the Zoom format worked, despite its virtual nature. Sidney impressed us all with her confident speaking and her ability and articulated commitment to future involvement. She encouraged the Branch to support Gov Trek going forward. 

Co-Presidents of the League of Women Voters, Jan Bedayn and Lynn Forbes

Jan Bedayn

Lynn Forbes

Peace Lutheran Church, 828 W Main, Grass Valley. Note: AAUW-NC is not affiliated with Peace Lutheran; we rent the church’s spacious event room for general meetings.

Saturday, March 16, 2024: LGBTQ+ Panel Discussion
To view the recorded video of the program, CLICK HERE.

Photo courtesy of Martha Rees

The American Civil Liberties Union is currently tracking 425 state laws attacking the rights of LGBTQ+ people in the United States in 2024. These laws range from curriculum censorship in schools, redefinition of sex, health care barriers and even suppression of expression.

On March 16th, we received multiple perspectives from a student panel and Branch member Rhea Williamson on how they have dealt with discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. Rhea shared a personal history and the panelists offered their recent experiences and feelings around the challenges they have faced.

AAUW Local Scholarship Chair, Dr. Rhea Williamson, presented the audience with a lively recounting of her long and difficult journey as an LGBTQ+ person, working in academia with two strikes against her: being a woman and being an LGBTQ+ person. Rhea detailed some of her encounters with persons both hostile and accepting, and ultimately how she found her way to success both personally and professionally. We also heard from Maddux Eckerling, a first-year student at San Francisco State University, who led the student panel by posing a variety of questions about their different experiences and their advice to the audience on how to sensitively interact with those who identify within the LGBTQ+ community. The program was coordinated by AAUW-NC DEI Officer Lisa Turlo.

A video of this program will be available on this page in the next few days; please check back!


April 27, 2024, Gala Fundraiser, click here.

Feb 17 General Meeting: Healthcare in Nevada County

Accessibility to high quality, comprehensive health care is especially critical as we age. Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital (entry pictured) plays a central leadership role in ensuring that our local health care delivery system meets the needs of the community.

 Click the YouTube image for a recording of the program.

As featured speaker, Sandra Barrington, Executive Director of the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation (SNMHF), outlined the strengths and challenges of health care delivery in Nevada County. Ms, Barrington described the efficacy of newer approaches to patient care, including telemedicine, care triaging, and partnerships with regional providers. She also highlighted SNMH’s approach to Integrative Medicine, an evidence-based approach to treat the whole person – mind, body and soul. Integrative Medicine combines conventional approaches with complementary therapies to achieve optimal health and healing, something we all desire.

Huge thanks to this program’s sponsor David Ball, owner of Sierra Tech Guy!!

January Meeting: Frank Helling Impersonates John Muir

In an hour-long monologue, Frank Helling brought the experiences, thoughts, and accomplishments of John Muir to life. As John Muir, Helling recounted an early childhood in Scotland, a relocation as still a child to the US, a growing love of nature and its beauty, a knack for invention and memory, an enduring marriage and many important friendships along the way, Teddy Roosevelt among them. Muir hiked extensively throughout the US and traveled the world. He played an important role in preserving wilderness areas and was the founding president of Sierra Club. His death in Los Angeles marked the end of a remarkable journey, documented in a final note. Complete with Scottish accent and period clothing, Mr. Helling delighted the audience with a heartfelt John Muir impersonation.

VIDEO RECORDING: Anyone who missed this program and would like to view it, click the image below to view the recording of Helling’s presentation on YouTube. 

Mr. Helling’s background includes over 20 years as a teacher and dozens of years as a seasonal Park Ranger. He began to impersonate John Muir in 1981, when as a teacher, he stayed in character all day. Audience demand for his performances grew from educational and park settings to Earth Day and John Muir Birthday celebrations. He now presents the life and times of John Muir throughout California and other states.

The January program was generously sponsored by Kim White, Attorney at Law, specializing in estate planning, wills & trusts, power of attorney, and advance care directives. 

For those of you who missed the other gathering in November (“De-Polarizing Political Conversations”), and want to see what you missed, a video recording is available: CLICK HERE.

Saturday, November 18 – Climate Change & Water Management

Karen Hull, President, NID Board and Co-Vice President/Programs, AAUW Nevada County Branch The second program in our Fire and Water Series featured Nevada Irrigation District (NID) Board President and AAUW Programs Co-Vice President, Karen Hull.

The second program in our Fire  and Water Series featured Nevada Irrigation District (NID) Board President and AAUW Programs Co-Vice President, Karen Hull.

[For those unable to attend, the program was recorded, and the video is available by clicking HERE.]

[Click here for October meeting slides on the Wildfire Threat by Brittany Covich.]

In her presentation to the general meeting attendees, Karen made clear that water, as one of our region’s most precious natural resources, is carefully managed by NID. With over 270,000 acres of service territory. NID manages one of the largest and most complex water districts in California. While NID is blessed with a pristine high Sierra watershed, in the coming decades climate change will have a profound impact on the District and the communities it serves.
At this program, we heard about the challenges posed by the extreme weather events we now experience and how NID is planning ahead to face a potential water scarcity, even in seasons producing atmospheric rivers.  NID is exploring options on possible solutions that will ensure minimal impact to its customers.

Karen assured the crowd that treated water, that which we depend on to flow from our faucets, will never be in danger as treated water gets first priority and makes up only a small fraction of the water provided within the District. Raw water, that which is used for irrigation and by far making up the lion’s share of supplied water, will likely reflect the impact in increased cost per miner’s inch. Karen impressed the crowd with her deep knowledge of the history of water management in California and her command of the data that has been accumulated and studied over the last 50 years. She revealed that NID is considering several options for capturing and storing more water in the future.  NID, she maintains, can and will avert any water crisis and that we are in capable hands.

Gov Trek,New AAUW CA Program, Encourages Public Service

This virtual program for high school junior and senior girls was launched in February of 2022 with a keynote pre-recorded address by former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. To watch her recorded message, click the image of her.This program is designed to elevate the next generation to pursue careers in public service and elected office. Over five two-hour sessions, students will engage in interactive and inspiring activities with exposure to women legislators, career options, and the inner workings of a political campaign. The program will culminate in a group competition to create a realistic campaign simulation.

Former Tech Trekker Sid Pixley attended the sessions and was greatly enthusiastic and about all that she learned. Her success in the program was covered in The Union. To learn more click this link:  Gov Trek – AAUW California

Branch Scrapbook Photos, click here