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Honoring Women’s Contributions to Exploring, Protecting and Honoring Mother Nature

Photo: Patrick’s Point State Park

Women’s History Month invites us to honor women who have blazed new trails of exploration and conservation to protect and preserve the places we love. (Let’s be honest – we do this every month. ❤️)

From Junko Tabei – Japanese mountaineer and first woman to reach the top of Mount Everest and achieve the Seven Summits, to Secretary Deb Haaland – the first Native American person to serve in the United States Cabinet, women have climbed to great heights (literally!) to discover and care for some of the most beautiful places on Earth. 

More specifically, the following women demonstrate tremendous leadership and vision for protecting our natural spaces in California:

Additionally, women across the state manage programs and projects to preserve California’s unique biodiversity, and California State Parks has a rich history of women pioneers who have shaped the parks we love and enjoy today, such as:

  • Harriett “Petey” Weaver, for example, was the first unofficial woman state park ranger who, after 20 summers of service to the state parks, carried a deputy ranger badge upon retirement.
  • Paula Peterson became the first woman to officially bear the title of state park ranger that eventually became chief ranger for the Monterey District.
  • Patricia M. Scully, a park ranger dedicated to the preservation of the environment, was unfortunately killed on duty and today is honored with a dedicated portion of State Highway 1 in San Mateo County. 
  • Mary Wright became the first woman to hold the title of park superintendent at California State Parks, later becoming chief deputy state parks director. She continued to help protect old-growth redwood groves after retiring from state parks. 

Whether it’s at the White House or at your local state park, the work to make our state parks and public lands welcoming, inclusive and climate-resilient spaces would not be the same without women’s presence and contribution. 

Want to learn more about the women of Parks California? Click here.