Explore, enjoy and protect the planet

Women of the Sierra Club

Email this

March is women's history month. Below are some of the Sierra Club's female environmental activists who have made a contribution to saving our planet. They come from all walks of life  -- soldiers, biologists, college students, farmers, community activists, artists -- and range in age from 17 to 105. But one thing they share is a passion for keeping our enviroment safe.

Cece Durdin

Cece Durden knows more about coal ash than the average 17-year-old. She became an activist by attending a meeting near her home, where she learned that the local landfill is receiving toxic coal ash from the 2008 spill in Tennessee. Her volunteer work with community group Black Belt Citizens Fighting for Health and Justice involves the local wastewater facility, which has polluted a number of waterway. Read more.

Erica Thames

Erica Thames grew up and spent most of her life in a low-income community in Southern California's Inland Empire, a region of more than four million people just east of Los Angeles that is beset with some of the worst air pollution in the U.S. She hooked up with the Sierra Club in 2012 when she was a student at San Bernadino Valley College. She quickly became a key volunteer leader with the campaign. Read more.

Krysta Schlyer

Photographer, writer, and borderlands activist Krista Schlyer won the National Outdoor Book award for Continental Divide: Wildlife, People, and the Border Wall. Read more.


Mary Anne Hitt

Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Club's history-making Beyond Coal campaign, was honored by SNL Energy as one of ten most influential people in 2013 for her pioneering work to move the nation off polluting 19th Century fuels and onto clean sources of energy like wind and solar. Read more.


Dr. Ruth Patrick

Dr. Patrick's research determined for the first time that the number and kinds of species in a body of water -- its biological diversity -- reflected environmental stresses. The idea, which became known as the Patrick Principle, proved that biological diversity holds the key to understanding the environmental problems affecting an ecosystem. Read more.

Jordan Howard

The importance of engaging youth in activism early on is not lost on Jordan Howard. Since attending Environmental Charter High School, a school with a curriculum focused on environmentalism, she has been attuned to those issues and how they connect with her own life. Howard, now 21, has been changing the face of youth engagement one classroom talk at a time. Read more.


Lynn Henning

Family farmer and activist Lynn Henning won the 2010 Goldman Environmental Prize. She exposed the egregious polluting practices of livestock factory farms in rural Michigan, gaining the attention of the federal EPA and prompting state regulators to issue hundreds of citations for water quality violations. Read more.

Liz Wheelan

Liz Wheelan is the chair of Inner City Outings in Dallas. With the help of its few dozen volunteers and partnering agencies -- Jubilee Park & Community Center and a downtown charter school -- the Dallas group has helped hundreds of kids from some of the toughest neighborhoods. Read more.


Becky Gillette

Becky Gillette has long fought for stronger public protections against formaldehyde emissions. The Sierra Club's Volunteer Formaldehyde Campaign Director, Gillette first became involved in this issue when high levels of formaldehyde were harming the health of the families living in the emergency trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Read more.


Giao Tran

Before joining her school's Wilderness Adventure Club as a high school freshman, Giao Tran had never experienced the outdoors. Little did she know then that after her first outing, she'd be more than just a club member –- she'd become an outdoors lifer. Read more.


Marion Randall Parsons

In 1902, Marion Randall Parsons was a young woman, who moved from Piedmont with her family to Berkeley. There she met Wanda Muir, age 21, which led to an involvement in the Sierra Club which was to last to the end of her life. Read more.


Melaina Sharpe

Hints of Melaina's 15 years in active duty might creep out from time to time during ICO trips. But it's her connection with kids that makes her stand out as a leader. Melaina now co-chairs the Louisville ICO program -- one of ICO's 50 groups across the country that coordinate more than 800 outdoor trips for 12,000 kids every year. Read more.



Email this