Women in the Forest Service

Hallie M. Daggett 

Portrait of Hallie M. DaggettFirst female fire lookout in the agency on California’s Klamath National Forest – 1913

Quote: “I grew up with a fierce hatred of the devastating fires and welcomed the Forest Service force which arrived to combat them. But not until the lookout stations were installed did there come an opportunity to join what had up till then been a man’s fight…Then, thanks to the liberal-mindedness and courtesy of the officials in charge of our district, I was given the position of lookout…with a firm determination to make good, for I knew that the appointment of a woman was rather in the nature of an experiment, and naturally felt that there was a great deal due the men who had been willing to give me a chance.


Annie E. Hoyle

Portrait of Annie HoyleIn 1930 she retired after 30 years of service (including 5 extensions after reaching retirement age). She was 80 years old.  She was an Artist in Dendrology (plant illustrator) in the DC engineering office.  She made over 160 drawings of range plants used in range research and publications.


Geri Vanderveer Bergen

Portrait of Geri Vanderveer BergenFirst female Forest Supervisor on Tahoe National Forest – 1985

Quote: “I think the Forest Service has significantly changed, but I don’t believe it’s just because of women. I think another change is because of the brining in of different values from hiring a wider range of professionals and more professionals, and bringing in people also at higher levels that don’t have the Forest Service experience of that. There has to be gradual change.”


Wendy Milner Herrett

Portrait of Wendy Milner HerrettFirst female District Ranger on White River National Forest – 1980-1982

Quote: “Another time somebody wanted to talk to the man in authority, and I said ‘Well, I’m the person in authority if you want to talk to me. I make decisions. If you want to talk to a man I’ll get somebody for you to talk with. But if you want the decision maker you’ve got to talk to me.’ And he left.”


Gail Kimbell

Portrait of Gail Kimbell16th and first female Chief of the U.S. Forest Service – 2007-2009

Quote:  "I never set my sights on having the title of chief," she said. "I've just had the good fortune to move into successively more responsible positions, but always with a focus on quality resource management and working with people. I just always wanted to be able to look back and say, 'I did the very best that I could for the resource and the people.' 


Jane Westenberger

Portrait of Jane WestenbergerFirst female Public Affairs Director in 1979 and the developer of the Conservation Education program in 1964

Quote: “We can no longer afford the search for scapegoats nor the constant and futile recitation of the ills of our planet. We can no longer…expect someone else to do the education job. We must, each one, become part of the team and give our time and talent to the conservation education effort.”


Dorothy Gray Guck

Portrait of Dorothy Gray GuckRanger’s wife - 1940’s

Quote: “I wonder if the Forest Service could possibly survive without me?” I didn’t ponder that question. It was too upsetting. I had long known that I would have an empty existence without the job as ranger’s wife.”


Eleanor “Ellie” Towns

Portrait of Eleanor “Ellie” TownsFirst female Regional Forester in Region 3. (1998-2002).  Her social justice work and inspiring career paved the way for people of color and women in forestry.

More information on Eleanor S. Towns