Asheville Citizen Times article March 18 on WENOCA Sierra Club Chair
Judy Mattox, 71, took a winding path to her job as executive committee chair of WENOCA Sierra Club, a chapter of the national Sierra Club, one of the oldest and most politically powerful environmental nonprofits.
She grew up in Oklahoma, earned a degree in English from Northwestern University and taught at schools and at a shelter for runaways. But she also was a farmer, social worker, teacher and actor. She was living and working on her organic farm when she met her future husband, Ken Brame, political chair of the national Sierra Club chapter. The couple moved to Asheville nine years ago.
“I got roped in,” Mattox said. But she’s glad to be at the rodeo, her lively description of the Sierra Club’s mission clearly showing her passion for the work. “We do the fun stuff, and we do the really heavy stuff.”
The WENOCA group hosts presentations by environmental experts, leads hikes and nature outings, and also advocates among the public and politicians to affect positive environmental change.
“We’re really proud of our work on coal ash. We’re shutting down coal plants, getting coal ash removed, and calling on politicians to take action to prevent climate change and to fund research into climate change and fund the Environmental Protection Agency,” Mattox said. “We’re trying to prevent a third peaking gas power plant from being built in Asheville.”
She is also proud of the club’s work on the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest Revision Plan, which will guide management of the two largest forests in the state for the next 15 years.
“The forest is just healing and love and nurturance. We as humans have to have the forest and so it’s important to protect it and to have a good management plan that everyone can live with and keep Congress from privatizing these lands.”
Judy Mattox is the chair of the executive committee of the Sierra Club of Western North Carolina. Members of the Sierra Club are all volunteers, and the grassroots organization lobbies for environmental preservation.