Many of you already know Laurie Walters as the friendly faced “eco-librarian” at the OVGC Resource Center. We are pleased to announce she has joined the Coalition Board of Directors.
“I’ve watched this organization tackle so many issues I consider important, and all with very little money and a minimal staff working very hard, from the heart,” said Laurie. “I am honored to join the board and help the work of the Green Coalition continue and expand.”
If you’ve been involved with the Coalition for a few years you’ve probably also know Laurie as our volunteer of the year in 2013. Laurie worked alongside Deborah Pendrey getting our Resource Center library organized.
“The Coalition is very fortunate to have Laurie as a member,” says Deborah Pendrey, OVGC program director. “She has supported the organization financially and regularly spends time at the resource center. When our lending library needed a champion, Laurie's love of books and film made her a natural and she has taken on this project with gusto. I’m looking forward to working with her in this new role.”
If Laurie’s face seems familiar it may also be as a local actress and director. Or, if you are of a certain age, it could be for her role as Joanie Bradford in the television series “Eight is Enough.” That popular role brought her into households across America during the late 70’s and into the 80’s.
“Funny story: I graduated from high school in 1964 and enrolled at Humboldt State College to become a conservation major!” says Laurie, who ended up in the drama department there. “I wanted to save animals from extinction but it was before the environmental movement really began and my classes were full of big burly sons of lumberjacks in that redwood lumbering region and I was the only girl. Besides, they also had a brand new theater building with an exciting new drama department, and the rest is history. I became a professional actress and worked in that field for about 30 years, and still do off and on.”
According to Laurie, it was in the mid-90’s that she “returned to my first love and went to work for TreePeople,” a non-profit urban forestry group that helps citizens plant trees for a cleaner, shadier, and more water-secure city. “I worked as volunteer coordinator there for 2 years, and later as head of Citizen and Campus Forestry Training for almost 3 years, teaching community and school groups to organize large tree planting events,” explained Laurie.
The many career skills Laurie learned she soon put to work in Ojai after relocating here with her husband John Slade. Laurie not only volunteers her time with the Coalition, she has facilitated the Ojai Shakespeare Reading Salon for 12 years. She is looking forward to her newest opportunity with the OVGC. “My particular interest is our unique and precious watershed,” said Laurie, “as well as promoting greater awareness of the Green Coalition’s work… but I’m ready to help wherever it’s needed.”