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BY HANNAH J. RYAN
Her crew was only 200 feet from the summit of Mount Baldy when lightning blazed across the peak that would have been the highest ascent of their 111-mile trek. Paula J. Del Giudice left it up to her son, the leader of a Boy Scout group, to decide their next move. They were already down one comrade. Though they were so close to the mountaintop, they turned around and safely made their way back down the slope.
In 2008, Del Giudice chaperoned a group of teenage Boy Scouts in an epic hike across northern New Mexico. This adventure illustrates one side of her dedication to showing people how to better care for our natural world.
Some hats she’s styled include that of an English teacher, freelance writer, editor of The American Shotgunner magazine, volunteer and center director with the National Wildlife Federation and director of Seattle’s Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
An OWAA member since 1980, Del Giudice said the experiences and skills taken from these varying posts synthesize into her present job as a mom and director of Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center.
PPRC is an organization that gives businesses the tools needed reduce their pollution.
One such PPRC project had Del Giudice working with trucking companies to install “skirts” that hang off the sides of semitrailers decreasing the vehicle’s air resistance and improving its fuel efficiency. Sean Graham, a student in Pennsylvania State University, developed these skirts in a graduate school program. In 2003, Graham opened an entrepreneurial business called Freight Wing in Seattle to market these energy-saving skirts. Del Giudice partnered trucking companies with Freight Wing and secured grants from the EPA to install the skirts on 2,000 trucks.
“Trucking is a polluting industry, there’s nothing we can do to stop that,” she said. “But some companies are really interested in doing what they can to pollute less.”
This project exemplifies PPRC’s mission to assist businesses.
“It’s just a different approach to conservation,” Del Giudice said, “and all approaches are needed if we want to maintain wildlife, wild places, clean air and clean water.”
Chris Madson, editor of Wyoming Wildlife, said Del Giudice keeps a positive outlook on the challenges facing people like her that he calls “hunter-conservationists.” He said she expounds a lively enthusiasm for hunting and fishing with a deep commitment to wildlife.
“On several occasions, she’d look at me at the end of a dark conversation about the state of the planet and finish with a smile and a jab saying, ‘Well, then, we need to get after it!’ and then she did,” Madson said.
Tom Huggler, former OWAA president, has known Del Giudice for more than 25 years.
While other are preoccupied with making a living, he said Del Giudice is first and foremost dedicated to the cause at hand.
“This takes both courage and conviction; in my opinion, she has raised the bar for all of us,” Huggler said.
In addition to working with business to clean up their practices, Del Giudice is dedicated to the Boy Scouts of America pro- gram. With them she is educating the next generation of outdoors lovers and protectors. Though the 2008 trek left the scout group short of one summit, the experience was a terrific two-week adventure of 10 peaks at more than 10,000 feet above sea level, she said.
“This trip was like a culmination of the boys’ scouting experiences,” Del Giudice said. “They gained an understanding of compassion for other people as well as the environment.”
Del Giudice said there were only a few women on the trail and it felt pretty good to have her son call her a “hard-core, kick-ass woman.”
“I learned that I can still really push myself and have a great experiences hanging out with these kids in the backcountry.”♦
— Brought up wandering in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming, Hannah J. Ryan continues to feed her curi- osities by pursuing bachelor degrees in journalism and Spanish. She is the spring semester intern at OWAA headquarters. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.