The Kootenai Valley Chapter of Women in Timber is a non-profit women's group that addresses timber-related issues here in Boundary County. An affiliate of the Idaho Women in Timber group and the Federated Women in Timber organization, the local group of women meets once a month to discuss forest, logging and community problems and seeks to help solve them when possible.
Becca Harrison, Ina Pluid, Nolda Gross, Michelle Gross, Mary Kay Lutes, Marva Mendenhall
According to Michelle Gross, president of the local Women in Timber group, after a hiatus of several years, the group reformed about six years ago. She estimated that there are currently 10 active members in the group.
"We are here to raise awareness on timber issues," said Michelle. "We also try to do some education. On Arbor Day, we give seedlings to school children. In October, to celebrate Idaho Forest Products week, Boundary Trading Company donates paper grocery sacks and we go to the schools and have the first through fifth grade children draw pictures of timber-related concepts on the bags. Winners get a pizza party for the class and then those bags are used at BTC the next week."
Michelle, who is the Day Shift Lead Person at Welco of Idaho, said that Women in Timber originated as a group of loggers wives' who started an injured logger fund. However, over the years, the group's mission expanded to include raising awareness on timber issues, discussing forest concerns such as blocked sales and giving the forest service input. On occasion, they also discuss related Agri-Women issues.
"Most everybody in this town is related to someone in the timber industry," Michelle added.
Every spring, Michelle said that representatives from Idaho Women in Timber travel to Washington DC to lobby on behalf of timber concerns.
"These are a well-respected group of ladies who are able to get appointments with congressmen and senators in Washington DC to lobby for local timber issues," she stated.
In addition to working on timber issues, Michelle explained that Women in Timber also performs community service. Their main fundraiser is the sale of Christmas wreaths during December made by the Wreath Farm.
"Our main focus is to give back to the community," she emphasized. "If there are any big projects around the community, or individuals in need, we're more than happy to help, such as people who need money or are injured or sick. Most of our fundraisers have been raffles of different seasonal items. We've helped quite a few people and families in the past four years. We enjoy it and we would like to have more people in the group. That would help us out a lot. We're all pretty busy people but we try to find time to do what we can."
Women in Timber meets at Mugsy's on the second Tuesday of each month at 6pm. For more information on the group, or to request assistance from the Kootenai Valley Chapter of Women in Timber, contact Michelle Gross at 267-0691.