Many opportunities grow from Garden Tour funds

Judy Salamacha
Judy Salamacha

Morro Bay’s American Association of University Women (AAUW) will present its 29th Garden Tour from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Three of the five gardens featured on the self-guided tour through Morro Bay, Cayucos and Los Osos were redesigned last year to save water.

“One demonstrates the use of artificial turf, the other two removed their lawn and replaced it with concrete,” publicity chairwoman Janelle Richardson said. “People will probably be amazed how artistic concrete can be.”

The $10 tickets fund AAUW’s annual programs, including three scholarships and participation in UC Santa Barbara’s Tech Trek program that is intended to encourage middle school girls in the areas of math and science. AAUW and the Cayucos Lioness Club send five girls a year to the summer camp. 

Diana Barnhart, a retired Los Osos Middle School science teacher and the 2006 California Teacher of the Year, suggested a former student’s story demonstrated how a Tech Trek grant could inspire a student’s future career success. Barnhart recommended Clare Nowel for the program and she agreed to share her story so that it might help others. 

“At 26, Clare Nowel is now a recognized national coach, has her master’s degree, is fluent in German, and in November will assume her duties as a coach for a Stanford University women’s rowing team,” Barnhart wrote as she explained Nowel’s journey.

“An enthusiastic, unusually energetic seventh-grader, Nowel struggled with math. She was tutored after school by Ruth Martin almost every day. With extra help and encouragement, Nowel was successful” — until high school when she “hit a wall.”

Science class began with a unit in metrics and mathematical conversions. Nowel failed math twice and was barely able to pass science. She decided to be home-schooled and take classes at Cuesta College, which offered a math tutoring lab.

Noticing she did well on the first half of tests, but could never finish in time, Cuesta diagnosed a learning disability.

“With the tutoring help and extra time allowed for tests, Clare completed not only required math classes, but also extra coursework through statistics.”

She attended Humboldt State to study recreation management and soon discovered rowing.

She was selected as a graduate candidate and assistant coach for Ohio State University’s women’s rowing team. For three years she worked long hours coaching and attending classes. For fun she took German.

“Her rowing team won their conference two out of the three years, achieving national champions in 2014,” Barnhart wrote.

You can buy tickets for AAUW’s Garden Tour at Volumes of Pleasure Bookshoppe in Los Osos, Coalesce Bookstore in Morro Bay, Sage Nursery in Los Osos and Farm Supply in San Luis Obispo, Arroyo Grande and Paso Robles, or by calling 748-4731.