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The Planet
Who We Are

By Jenny Coyle & Sarah W. Heim-Jonson

Laura Hoehn - San Francisco, Calif.
Member, National Wildlands Campaign Committee

If life is a river, then Laura Hoehn must relish the rapids. And she doesn't seem to mind if they come all at once, either.

Laura HoehnHaving cut her activist teeth working on wildland issues in Montana, Hoehn ran successfully for the Sierra Club board of directors in 1994. At age 27 she was a relative young'un, but she wasn't the baby on the board - 21-year-old Adam Werbach was. Hoehn had been accepted to law school at the University of Oregon, but that didn't faze her; the board term would just have to coincide with her schooling.

But here's the clincher: After she was elected to the board in April and before she started law school in September, Hoehn spent four weeks of the summer canoeing an extremely remote system of rivers in Canada's Yukon Territory. She and her companions saw wolves, bears and moose, but very few other humans the entire month.

Which raises a question. Between law school, the Yukon Territory and the Club board of directors, which was the most daunting?

"The board," Hoehn says with a laugh. "All three experiences stretched me in their own way, and they were all rewarding at the same time. But serving on the board was the most unknown territory for me. I didn't know anyone, but they were open-minded and gave me a chance, and I appreciate that."

Dick Shore - Vine Grove, Ky.
Chair, Cumberland Chapter Political Committee

Dick ShoreDick Shore is a good storyteller. That's why, one night in 1987, leaders of a Boy Scout camp near his home in Kentucky invited him to their campfire. As Shore pondered various topics to talk about, he came across an article about Sierra Club founder John Muir. And that gave him an idea.

Shore as John MuirHe fashioned some glasses out of a coat-hanger, tousled his hair to look rugged, donned a Scottish accent and, as Muir, told the story of how he came within 10 miles of that very camp in 1867 during his 1,000-mile walk from Indiana to Florida. The kids loved it. The Scout leaders invited him back every week that summer.

Shore, a retired industrial engineer, has since added a wig and beard, baggy pants with rope suspenders, a walking stick and a floppy hat. He has performed for a total of about 31,000 people.

He always takes questions at the end. Sometimes, he doesn't know the answer and has to wing it, but has found, with follow-up research, that his improvised answers were pretty accurate. "When you immerse yourself in a someone's writing and persona, you begin to think like they do," Shore says. "It's an awesome, sometimes spooky, experience."

(Shore performs free for Sierra Club groups. Call him at 888-44-JMUIR.)

William Lauren Mack - Boise, Idaho
Outings Mule Packer

He wasn't on the first Sierra Club outing 100 years ago, but close to it.

William Lauren MackWilliam Lauren Mack was only 17 when he worked as a mule packer for a Sierra Club outing in 1928. Now 89 and living in Idaho, he remembers vividly the three California trips he took with the Sierra Club between 1928 and 1941.

The 1932 Sequoia National Park trip, Mack recalls, "was one of the largest Club (outings) - with about 150 members." Mack was one of 18 mule packers who were in charge of 91 mules and 25 saddle horses. The mules carried everything: separate folding toilets for men and women, members' bedrolls and clothing and kitchen stoves.

Ansel Adams and his wife, Virginia, were among the hikers present. Mack explains that Adams, with a tripod over one shoulder, stopped frequently to take photographs, and was sometimes left to catch up to the group on his own. "Photography wasn't the same back then. You had to level the tripod, get your camera set up…it took a lot of time."

Now, 73 years after his first outings trip, Mack says, "Whenever I hear the name Sierra Club, my ears perk up."

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