Sarah Stierch

Hi. I am a writer and polymath.

I serve as contract grantwriter and researcher for Bischoff Performance Improvement Consulting, where I lead our research work and write grants for nonprofit clients with a focus on corporate and foundation requests. I also work part time at Corner 103 winery doing social media - we have been named the #1 Tasting Room in the US by USA Today twice (2020 & 2021) and are a BIPOC/LGBTQI-owned winery producing award-winning wines from Sonoma County.

I earned my bachelor's degree in Native American Studies from Indiana University and my master's degree in Museum Studies from George Washington University. I was a commencement speaker for the College of Liberal Arts at GWU, too. I am a former fellow at the Berkeley Center for New Media, Wikimedia Foundation, Library of Congress, and Smithsonian. In curatorial practice, I have worked for the National Museum of the American Indian, Colonial Williamsburg, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. If you have been to any of these institutions, you have seen my work!


In my other "life" I am a professional journalist who covers disasters, food, and alcohol and I am a subject matter expert about wildfires and Wikipedia. 


Access to critical information in a timely manner and a general fascination with the science behind wildfires has led me to become a lead voice in reporting on wildfires in Northern California. I reported extensively during the 2017 North Bay Fires and have since covered all major wildfires in the North Bay, as well as additional fires in Northern California, annually. My work has been called "groundbreaking" my KQED Forum's Michael Krasny. It is credited with changing the face of emergency disaster reporting on natural disasters. I was nominated for a Red Cross of Northern California Hero for my fire work in 2017. I continue to report on natural disasters and local emergencies as an independent journalist utilizing social media as my main communication tool. In this capacity, I have appeared on KQED Forum, WNYC's The Takeway, the Weather Channel, KPFA, KSVY, KSRO and in the Washington Post, St. Helena Star, SF Gate, San Francisco Chronicle and ABC Weekend Nightly News.


I have been editing Wikipedia for over 15 years as a volunteer. I am the former Wikipedian in Residence at the Smithsonian Institution and Library of Congress and former Susan B. Miller Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. My efforts to encourage more women to edit Wikipedia and cultural institutions to partner with Wikimedia has been featured in Smithsonian, Slate, the Atlantic, East Bay Express, the Daily Dot, The Mary Sue, Tech Republic, Linux Magazine and on KCRW, National Public Radio, Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. I have been named an Ada Lovelace Day Hero by the Ada Initiative for my efforts.


As a freelance mainstream journalist I have contributed to to Sonoma Magazine, Sonoma Index-Tribune, Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, North Bay Woman, NorthBay Biz, Huffington Post, Wine Enthusiast, North Bay Business Journal, Nuvo Newsweekly, Sonoma Valley Sun, and the Bohemian. I am currently independent and utilize social media as my primary outlet for sharing information.


As a photographer, I shoot historic sites, auto racing, and food/beverage. My photography has been published by WAMU, California State Parks, ROAR, Washington Post, Utne Reader, NBA, Motorburn, Red Bull, Nature World News, Buzzfeed, Christian Post, KNPR, Thrillist, Frommers, Lonely Planet, Financial Observer, Hilton, PETA, Joie de Vivre Hotels, the National Park Service, Country Queer and more. I am a passionate advocate for Creative Commons and all of my photography is released under a CC license.

A 'bomb cyclone' hit California. Photos and videos show the mudslides, floods, and destruction left in its wake.

• A group of storms pelted California and the Pacific Northwest with heavy rains on Sunday. • Photos show mudslides, flooding, and destruction were left in the storms' wake. • In California, nearly 117,000 customers across the state were without power as of Monday morning. A series of fierce storms known as a "bomb cyclone" pounded California on Sunday, leaving mudslides, flooding, and destruction in its wake. The Golden State saw record-shattering rainfall totals and flash flooding, leading

Landslides, Flooding Clobber California

Evacuations were ordered, roads were closed and hundreds of thousands of people were without electricity Sunday night as a powerful storm roared across parts of California and the Pacific Northwest. The weather brought the threat of potentially deadly landslides and flooding. The risk is particularly high in terrain left barren by wildfires, which is vulnerable to flooding and an especially dangerous and fast-moving type of landslide that scientists call "debris flows."

Cache Fire Destroys 60 Homes in Clearlake; Firefighters Say They've Stopped the Fire's Progress

The Cache Fire that began on Wednesday in Lake County very quickly spread to 60 and then 80 acres, and destroyed at least 60 homes in the town of Clearlake. Cal Fire, which is assisting in the firefight alongside the Lake County Fire Protection District, says that the fire is already 20% contained and that forward progress in the fire has been stopped. All evacuation orders and warnings that were issued on Wednesday remain in place.

Small Fire Breaks Out In Sonoma County Just After Power Is Restored, Downed Power Lines Found Nearby

Another possible near-miss for PG&E was recorded Tuesday night in northern Sonoma County when a vegetation fire broke out just minutes after power was restored in one area — and apparently there were two downed power lines in the vicinity that were missed in the utility's inspections. Named the Franz Fire even though it was contained at just a quarter of an acre, the small blaze broke out around 7:20 p.m. on the 8000 block of Franz Valley School Road, in or very near the footprint of the Tubbs

When blazes spark, 'Fire Twitter' heats up

The hills were on fire and Sarah Stierch was asleep. It was the man shouting in the street, outside her home in downtown Sonoma, who woke her to the orange glow on the horizon and the smoke in the air from the 2017 Nuns Fire. The text messages started coming; it would be a long time before they stopped. “People didn’t know what was happening,” she says. It was the middle of the night; everybody was confused. “Evacuation orders were being issued, but people weren’t evacuating.”

The North Bay Journalist Providing Vital Fire Information for Her Neighbors

North Bay journalist Sarah Stierch has become a resource for locals looking for critical fire information, down to their specific block. That’s because when the North Bay was burning in 2017, she knew the streets and roads and homes intimately enough to gain the trust of her neighbors seeking information. But aside from the latest fire reports, she’s also been a compassionate voice for many people during these traumatic times.

Wildfires Sweep through Wine Country, Forcing Thousands to Evacuate

Thousands of Northern California residents awoke to flames on Monday, as dry conditions and high winds caused multiple fires to explode in size overnight. The Glass Fire - after merging with the Boysen Fire in St. Helena and Shady Fire near Santa Rosa - scorched an estimated 11,000 acres in Napa and Sonoma wine country. Tens of thousands have been forced to evacuate as of Monday afternoon. We'll get an update on the wildfires and evacuations and we want to hear from you: if you live in the affec

California wildfires double in size, force, and degrade air quality; tens of thousands to evacuate

The massive blazes are sending plumes of smoke and ash into the skies surrounding San Francisco, fouling air quality for hundreds of miles and endangering public health. Evacuations expanded overnight Wednesday into the early morning hours Thursday, including portions of Travis Air Force Base, an Air Force logistics hub. Tens of thousands of people have been instructed to evacuate from advancing flames, with more told to be ready to flee if necessary. The fires come as California has been endu

Wikipedia's Editors Are 91 Percent Male Because Citations Are Stored in the Ball Sack

Wikipedia, the collaborative encyclopedia that's edited by you (if you're a dude), me (if I were a dude), and all the dudes you know, launched in 2001 and quickly became the place to find quick info on pretty much any topic under the sun. Remember writing research papers before Wikipedia? Man, we were all such chumps with our "books." Despite being one of the most heavily visited sites on the web, women comprise just 9 percent* of all Wikipedia editors. Why is that? Oh, you know, the usual — ge

The Smithsonian Archives’ Sarah Stierch Will Be Working On Wikipedia’s “Women In Science” Problem

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, has publicly acknowledged the dearth of female editors at his site and how many subjects that could use a woman’s perspective are seriously lacking. Well, at least one area of subject matter has begun to be tackled, thanks to Sarah Stierch, the official “Wikipedian-in-Residence” at the Smithsonian Archives. Her fellowship was first announced back in December, when she was brought on to encourage more women to contribute to the crowdsourcing information site

Meet Sarah Stierch - News/Research - Berkeley Center for New Media

The Berkeley Center for New Media is turning 10! To celebrate, we’re sharing ten stories of BCNM’s life so far. This month, hear how BCNM Susan B. Miller Fellow Sarah Stierch supports open source information through diversifying Wikipedia and digitizing small museums’ archives. Recuperating at her parents’ house after a car accident, Sarah Stierch was reading a Wikipedia article when she noticed a grammar mistake. Desperate for entertainment, she created an account and edited the error

Meet Sarah Stierch: The Archives’ Wikipedian in Residence

This March through June 2012, the Archives is hosting Sarah Stierch as Wikipedian in Residence. Sarah is no stranger to Wiki residencies or the Smithsonian—she served as the Smithsonian’s first Wikipedian in Residence last year at the Archives of American Art, where she focused on improving Wikipedia content related to American art history. Her residency here at the Smithsonian Institution Archives will continue the efforts of Sarah, and the Wiki-GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums)

PG&E outage: Spotty cell service in Sonoma, Marin counties

Sarah Stierch could barely get AT&T cell service on the westside of Sonoma after PG&E cut power during Wednesday’s early hours — but she could get a White Claw spiked seltzer at the still-lit Whole Foods, she tweeted ironically. “AT&T has been very weak all day on the east side of town and downtown,” another Sonoma resident Nina Sheridan said in a message. She had no service at her house Wednesday morning, where she said it’s never great. But even downtown where service is usually stronger, her

Sonoma developers face local backlash over LGBTQ views

A husband-and-wife team of developers faced mounting backlash in Sonoma this week after a series of anti-gay online posts made by the wife went viral this month. Stacy Mattson who, together with her husband Ken, has spent $80 million the past three years purchasing 26 properties throughout Sonoma Valley, made the controversial comments on her then-public Facebook page. In one post, she described herself as “disgusted” by the 2013 Rose Bowl Parade being “high-jacked by the gay agenda,” adding th

Update: The Fremont Diner Has Officially Closed

Employees of the Fremont Diner — a mandatory stop for tourists on the way to and from wine country — write on Facebook that they’re suddenly looking for work: The restaurant is rumored to have closed according to locals, though the circumstances are unclear. Calls and emails to the business have gone unanswered, and Eater SF has reached out to employees and neighbors for confirmation and further details. Update, 10 p.m. Wednesday: In an Instagram post this evening, the roadside haunt confirms

Weeks after wildfires, California wine country is ‘as beautiful as ever’ — and hurting for visitors

Northern California wine country wants you to know: It is open for business. Last month’s wildfires across Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake and Solano counties sparked countless headlines about wine country burning. Dramatic photos of the winery at Signorello Vineyards engulfed in flames fed fears that venerable wineries along Napa’s Silverado Trail or nearby Atlas Peak, where the conflagration started, were also destroyed. Alarmist headlines spelled the ruin of the 2017 vintage and predicted pric
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