Cascade Girl || Oregon Honey Festival

Research Informed, Passion Driven || Connecting People with Bee Culture & Science

Oregon Honey Festival © 2013

Cascade Girl Organization Board of Directors

Natalie Wilson, Secretary, is a founding member of Cascade Girl.  She is a Farmer and Educator.  Natalie received her Master's Degree in Education from Southern Oregon University in 2017.  She taught Biology for Southern Oregon University and presently is a substitute teacher for Southern Oregon Education Service District.  She is also a Yoga Teacher at Rasa Yoga and Wellness.  She is passionately interested in soil health.

Dolly Warden is lovingly called the "Grandmother of Beekeeping" in the Rogue Valley.  Coming from a beekeeping family, she often helped her father with the beehives when she was a youngster.  She received her Masters Degree in Library Science at Kent State.  She later earned her Master of Divinity Degree and a Certification in Permaculture.   She has also worked in human services, founding the Initiative for Trafficking Survivors in Dallas.  She has founded and worked in programs for immigrants and survivors of torture.  Dolly is bilingual and also speaks Spanish.  She is deeply involved in environmental and pollinator health issues and began the Bee City USA "movement" in the Rogue Valley, initiating Talent, Oregon as the second Bee City in the United States.  Dolly is also a member of the Oregon State Beekeepers Association.

Cascade Girl Organization / Oregon Honey Festival is an Oregon registered non-profit.  Contact us for information about our 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor.

Founder, Sharon Schmidt is a Beekeeper whose background is in Nursing and and whose doctoral degree is in Clinical Psychology which she earned at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.  She earned her Bachelor's at Northern Illinois University and her Masters from University of Illinois at the Medical Center.  She has taught in University settings and is the grandaughter of midwestern farmers and beekeepers.  Her practice and research interests lie in the areas of ethical beekeeping, honey sensory analysis, mindfulness, education of underserved populations, soil health, honeybee nutrition, recognizing and minimizing the effects of pesticides and opportunities for women in beekeeping.

Mary Billings James, a founding member is the resident owner of one of the oldest family farms in the valley and can trace her family history in the Rogue valley over 150 years.  She studied Food Science and Technology at Oregon State University then spent 15 years as a Federal Meat Inspector in California.  She switched gears to start a family with husband Larry and eventually became active in the schools and church.  In 2005, the timing was right to return to Ashland to take care of her aging father on the family farm.  She now operates the historic Billings Farm. The farm has been home to many bee swarms for decades.  Mary raises Angus Beef, goats, chickens, ducks, geese, llamas and even peacocks.  Her hobbies are singing and enjoying extended family.

Kelly Leatherwood, Treasurer (left) pictured with Volunteer Taylor Tolen earned her Bachelors of Science in Biology.  She moved to Oregon 5 years ago, acquired a small ranch and  completed the Apprentice level of the OSU Master Beekeeper program.  She also earned her certificate as a  Master Gardener through OSU.  Kelly is an insightful educator who works as a substitute teacher. An avid gardener, she creates beautiful outdoor areas.  She says she has learned the Science of Beekeeping and now strives to perfect its art.

Col. Pamela Mindt (r) is a Beekeeper residing in Oregon.  She has served her country with distinction and has been awarded the Bronze Star for her work as a commander in Iraq. She was awarded a Meritorious Service medal for her work at Guantanamo.  Col. Mindt obtained her Masters Degree in social work from the University of Nebraska in 1983.  In addition to working with Pollinators, she is also involved in dog and cat rescue.  She and her wife reside with their many four legged friends in Redmond.

Chris Sohl is a Beekeeper and Youth Minister in Ashland.  His love of bees and compassion for people distinguish his work in the community.  He is passionate about Honey Bee Rescue and is an ardent climber who has been known to scale trees of 40 feet or more to rehome honeybee swarms.  (more to come...)


Sydney Hamlett graduated from Texas A&M with a BS in Bioenvironmental Sciences and a Masters in Vineyard Ststainability from RMIT, Melbourne, Austrailia. Back in Texas, she worked with wineries to improve vineyard practices.  She moved to Seattle and then Oregon with her husband and together they run a farm in the Applegate.  They help other farmers understand the relationship between their plants and the soil.   Her companies include Infinite Tree Nursery and LSH Earth Conservation.  Sydney maintains that, "Pollinators are such a visible part of a thriving ecosystem and a great way to introduce young earthlings to stewardship!"