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Field labour isn’t a male preserve

Two female additions to Summerland research centre crew have what it takes to get the job done. By Susan McIver


n early January, two local women, Marcella Bartolomeoli- Cosgrove and Melanda Danenhower, assumed their duties as labourers in field services at the Summerland Research and Development Centre.

“We have had female employees before. Priscilla Hindson worked for about eight years, stopping in the early 2000s, and Vicky Rylander worked in the mid- to late-1990s,” said field services manager Keith Johnstone. The new hires bring considerable experience and expertise to their positions.

Both were raised on orchards — Bartolomeoli-Cosgrove in Summerland and Danenhower in Cawston.

“I worked for the Okanagan Tree Fruit Co-operative for 28 years starting in 1987. I started as a sorter on the packing line and ended up as a forklift operator,” Bartolomeoli-Cosgrove said. When the Summerland

packinghouse closed in 2009, she was transferred to the facility in Lake Country, where she worked until last year.

“The drive got to be too much and I now own the orchard my grandfather, Ned Bartomeoli, had,” she explained.

She and husband Kelly Cosgrove, a baker by trade, operate the family orchard secondary to their other jobs.

Danenhower received a diploma in global stewardship from Capilano University before earning a bachelor’s degree in geology and environmental studies from the University of Victoria.

Following graduation in June British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Spring 2016 17 SUSAN MCIVER

Melanda Danenhower, left, and Marcella Bartolomeoli-Cosgove, centre, recently joined the field services crew at the Summerland Research and Development Centre. Keith Johnstone is field services manager.

2015, Danenhower worked as a tree planter and travelled. “ I didn’t realize how exciting my new job would be. I’m thrilled to be able to work outside,” she said.

Bartolomeoli-Cosgrove and Danenhower do everything from pruning to removing blocks of old trees and replanting.

“We’re the ‘gofers’ for all the odd

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