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Mary L. Bowerman
· Arthur Bonwell
· Lifetime Achievement Award
 
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Our Founders
Mary Bowerman and Art Bonwell


"My dream is that the whole of Mount Diablo, including its foothills, will remain open space…that the visual and natural integrity will be sustained." Mary

Mary L. Bowerman 

Dr. Bowerman was co-founder of Save Mount Diablo in 1971, was Vice President for Resources until 1995, and continued to serve on the Land Acquisition Committee until her death in August of 2005. Dr. Bowerman was a botanist and a student of the flora and vegetation of Mount Diablo for over seventy years. She received her PhD from the University of California at Berkeley and authored The Flowering Plants and Ferns of Mount Diablo, California; Their Distribution and Association into Plant Communities, The Gillick Press, 1944. Her book has been updated and was republished in 2002 by the University of California at Berkeley’s Jepson Herbarium. She received many awards--including a State of California Golden Bear award, the Chevron Times Mirror Magazine National Conservation Award, Diablo Magazine’s Threads of Hope Award and the Daughters of the American Revolution’s National Conservation Medal--for her work with Save Mount Diablo. Mount Diablo State Park's Fire Interpretive Trail is named in her honor. She was further honored by East Bay Regional Park District in 2001 when the crest of Highland Ridge, in Morgan Territory Regional Preserve, was renamed “Founders Ridge” in honor of Save Mount Diablo’s founders. Dr. Bowerman was a resident of the Bay area since 1928 and lived in Lafayette for her last 50 years.

» Mary L. Bowerman's obituary - Mary Bowerman-Helped Start Save Mount Diablo, San Francisco Chronicle

» Read a tribute to Mary L. Bowerman in the Fall 2005 edition of Diablo Watch

» Read Interview of Mary Bowerman, 1997 by Galen Rowell, from his book Bay Area Wild

 

"I thought Mount Diablo could use more attention." Art

Arthur Bonwell

Art Bonwell co-founded of Save Mount Diablo in 1971, was a past-president and Emeritus member of the Board of Directors. He was retired from Dupont-Antioch Works where he was a Process Control Engineer, and received his B.S.E.E. from Purdue University. He received many awards--including a State of California Golden Bear award, the Chevron Times Mirror Magazine National Conservation Award, Diablo Magazine’s Threads of Hope Award, the Daughters of the American Revolution’s National Conservation Medal, and Save Mount Diablo’s first Mountain Star Award--for his work with Save Mount Diablo. He was further honored by East Bay Regional Park District in 2001 when the crest of Highland Ridge, in Morgan Territory Regional Preserve, was renamed “Founders Ridge” in honor of Save Mount Diablo’s founders. A resident of California since 1956, Mr. Bonwell lived in Concord.

» A Celebration of Life for Art
A “Celebration of Life” event in Art’s honor was held on Sunday, August 19th, 3:00 pm, Mitchell Canyon, Mt. Diablo State Park, Clayton, CA. You can watch the video below.



In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Art’s memory to: 

Concord Historical Society            Save Mount Diablo
P.O. Box 404                                1901 Olympic Blvd., Suite 320
Concord, CA 94522                      Walnut Creek, CA  94596
www.concordhistorical.org

» Read Arthur D. Bonwell's obituary

Watch a brief history of Save Mount Diablo through Art's eyes.

 

 


Photograph by Sandra Hoover-Saul Bromberger

Art Bonwell and Mary L. Bowerman
Winners of Diablo Magazine’s “Threads of Hope – Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2000

The problem with the accomplishments of Art Bonwell and Mary L. Bowerman, cofounders of Save Mount Diablo, is that you can’t see them. Literally. You can’t see the hundreds – perhaps thousands – of houses that would have overrun the foothills during the past 30 years and would be creeping up the slopes of Mount Diablo were it not for their work.

The two activists met at the local chapter meetings of the Sierra Club in 1969. Bonwell, an engineer, was an avid cyclists interested in environmental issues. Bowerman, a botanist who wrote her doctoral dissertation on the plants of Mount Diablo, would often describe the glories of the mountain to the Sierra Club members. In 1971, irritated that the state of California used money earmarked for Mount Diablo State Park expansion for another purpose, Bonwell asked Bowerman, “Isn’t it about time we did something about Mount Diablo?”

Bonwell, the organizer, invited representatives of local groups, from parks and recreation commissions to the American Association of University Women. About 20 people showed up, and each contributed 25 cents for postage costs. “Just because we didn’t know where we wanted to go didn’t mean we shouldn’t start out,” says Bonwell, 73, who sits on the Save Mount Diablo Board of Directors and maintains the Web page.

Then, as now, Save Mount Diablo faced two obstacles – ignorance and scarcity of financial resources. Most people believe Mount Diablo is state park land that is already “saved”. The truth is that much of the land is privately owned grassland, potentially ripe for development. As private parcels become available, Save Mount Diablo needs the money to buy them, or the clout to pressure the State parks Department or the East Bay Regional Park District to do so.

“Thirty years ago, I never dreamed we would have acquired as much land (63,000 acres) as we have.”, says Bowerman, 92. She has been exploring the mountain since 1929 and is also revising her life’s work, The Flowering Plants and Ferns of Mount Diablo, California, originally published in 1944. She remains active on Save Mount Diablo’s land acquisition committee because of the depth of her knowledge of the area. “But I don’t think we’ll ever be done,” Bonwell says. “How do you go out of business when there’s still land to buy?”

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