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Newsletter | May/Jun 2004

Volume 32:3
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In this issue:
Shades of Green - Tracy Fox
Photos of Filoli Garden - Sarka Volejnikova

OWA Scholarship for AAUW Tech Trek at Mills

by Marian Ring    |    Share #430

Tech Trek is a math/science week-long camp designed to develop interest, excitement and self-confidence in young women who will enter eighth grade in the Fall. It features hands on activities in math, science, and related fields. Instructors include credentialed middle school teachers and women professionals in math, science and technology. Evening programs in fields such as astronomy, engineering, marine biology, and environmental studies enhance the learning experience and introduce students to a variety of potential careers.

Camps take place on 5 college campuses throughout California. This affords campers the added experience of the life of a college student for a week.

An OWA member presents the field of architecture to the girls during the professional women's evening program. In 2003 the AAUW Tech Trek scholarship recipient was Gionna Younger, who attends a Berkeley Middle School. OWA contributed $650 to the fund. The effort was coordinated by Marian Ring for OWA.

In 2004 OWA contributed $600 to the fund. Kathleen Cruise will represent OWA at this year's camp. We'll let you know the winner, when it is announced.

Shades of Green

by Tracy Fox    |    Share #431

In its infinite number of shades, green symbolizes growth, money, healing, and peace. It is the most restful color for the human eye and suggests stability and endurance. Because green is directly related to nature, it has been endowed with the omnipotent role of saving our planet in the 21st century - The "Green Movement" also referred to as "eco-design" and "sustainable design," is based in awareness and concern about the well being of the environment and the economic, ethical and social impact of design. Like any discipline there is a learning curve, and being "green" isn't always black and white.

At the San Francisco Mart several showrooms carry products that are made in part from renewable resources such as bamboo, water hyacinth, banana leaves and rattan--all of which edify sustainable design principles because they are harvested then grow back quickly. "If it is made by Mother Nature to survive, exposed to the elements, it can survive in western homes," says Uve Korak founder of Sweet Smiling Home, speaking of these natural and sustainable materials. Korak grew up in Vienna and Austria and began his career in architecture before he began designing and importing products from Indonesia. While several showrooms at the mart carry accessories and furniture made from sustainable materials, hardwoods are also needed to produce case goods and this is where being true to green design practices becomes grey. "Reclaimed" teak in a 3rd world country such as Indonesia, presents a moral dilemma; a few hundred dollars given to the right person will grant any type of certification desired. At this time, there are not reliable governing bodies to make assurances of the authenticity or safety of woods and other resources.

In the mid 17th century, the Dutch started to colonize Indonesia to secure their monopoly of the spice islands in East Indonesia. Their architecture was transplanted with many other things that did not take into consideration the climate, environment, or culture. Those buildings are falling down now and in them can be found very dry teak that is then reclaimed. It becomes a commodity because of people like Korak, who are dedicated to the environment, present and future. Natural reclaimed teak is expensive. So in it's place and where aesthetically appropriate, fruitwoods are used. Durian and mango fruit trees have a limited life span and as they get older their fruit yield decreases making use of woods that would otherwise be discarded. Dovetail Furniture, also on the second floor, procured enough one- hundred- year- old railroad ties from India to create their Heritage Line of furnishings, which offers a unique product and story for buyers.

The South Cone Trading Company, located on the second floor, is the green movement leader in the furnishings industry. The South Cone team works with The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) which certifies case goods, manufacturers, mills and forests. "Furniture manufactures add the most value to wood. If all of us were to require FSC certified wood from our suppliers, we would ensure the preservation of the world's forests for generations to come," says Gerry Cooklin, Founder and CEO. South Cone projects that 90% of their case goods will be FSC certified by the end of 2005. While there are over 2,000 species of wood, consumers often desire the endangered species such as mahogany, which appears on the endangered species list. The good news is that that there are alternatives to this and many other at risk woods. Mohena is most similar in strength to mahogany and is fragrant like cedar. Cachimbo is most similar to Rosewood. Ironwood indigenous to Argentina and also known as algarroba, is a dense hardwood and very heavy. It is a visually interesting wood that takes on characteristics of walnut when stained dark and when stained lighter is comparable to pecan. "Once designers and their clients learn we are FSC certified and what this means, it often helps them make their decision," says Gina Harmon, Showroom Manager at The San Francisco Mart. Harmon compares the exotic woods and finishes to more commonly known woods to help buyers identify the right product. The partnerships and alliances that South Cone has made with the FSC and Amazonian communities guarantee the authenticity of their sustainable woods. In 2001 South Cone founded Partnerships and Technology for Sustainability,, which serves to support Amazon communities for generations to come. Now is the time to visit to the San Francisco Mart and discover the field of growing green design. Whether light, medium or Amazonian, green in any shade is a beautiful color.

Ms. Fox is the principle of Foxline Design, which specializes in green design and freelance writing. She is a member of the SFMart, IDS and the USGBC. You may reach her at

Photos of Filoli Garden

by Sarka Volejnikova    |    Share #432

New and Old Steering Committee Members

 Share #436

Hana Mori is joining the OWA steering committee in June 2004. Hana we look forward to your participation and getting to know you. In addition to her architectural talents, Hana performs with Baroque Etcetera, which will be performing May 8 and 9th.

Please join Baroque Etcetera as we celebrate the musicof Georg Philipp Telemann, one of the most prolificcomposers of the late Baroque. In this concert we willbe presenting two fabulous and fun concerti for 3competing pairs of instruments, along with two choralecantatas from Telemann's late career Danzig years,full of some great instrumental writing, and wonderfulvocal lines with rich text painting. The works werepublished recently by Albany's own PRB Productions. They believe this to be the West Coast Premiere ofboth cantatas, so you are in for a real treat!

Dates and Times: Saturday, May 8, 8pm Zion Lutheran Church 5201 Park Blvd (near Rt. 13)OaklandSuggested donation: $10 Sunday, May 9, 3pmSt. Matthews Lutheran, 3281 16th St San Francisco (across from Mission Dolores, parking available) Suggested donation: $15 adults, $10 students

Mui Ho is leaving the OWA steering committee, although she is still performing services as Treasurer for the organization. Mui's commitment to the organization has been unsurpassed, most recently with all her efforts associated with the 30th anniversary celebrations. The steering committee and the membership thank her for her insights and continued efforts. We will miss you at our meetings.

Strong Women Summit June 4-6

 Share #437

Claremont Resort & Spa in Berkeley, CA

The Stonyfield Farm Strong Women Summit with Dr. Miriam Nelson, is a pivotal weekend in the Strong Women campaign. Set at Claremont Resort & Spa, a pristine, beautifully landscaped oasis nestled in Berkeley. Summit participants will discover new ways to succeed in the face of everyday stress. Seminars will explore new ways to create balance and reduce stress, while juggling all aspects of a modern woman's life. Women will learn how to better find moments of reflective time, new solutions for nutrition and how to balance time for themselves, their families and their careers. Attendees will experience powerful, uplifting speakers, including:

Erin Brockovich - An internationally renowned activist, and California native, who is best known for her contributions towards the largest direct action lawsuit of its kind, aimed at Pacific Gas & Electric which were dramatized in the hit movie "Erin Brockovich."

Zainab Salbi - An Iraq native, and founder and president of Women for Women International, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing women survivors of war, civil strife and other conflicts with tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty into self-sufficiency.

Loretta LaRoche - A comedienne who has helped people deal with everyday stress for over thirty years. Loretta's wit, wisdom and humor are a common-sense view of life that leaves Strong Women Summit audiences inspired, motivated and roaring with laughter.

Dr. Miriam Nelson - An international best-selling author of the Strong Women book series, and founder of Her Strong Women books have collectively sold more than a million copies worldwide. Dr. Nelson recently released her second volume of tips to help women stay strong.

To register for the Strong Women Summit West visit
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