About Elka Wood

Elka Wood is a freelance writer, parent to two young kids and has a deep love for her home community of the Bega Valley.

Circumstances dictate that Elka and her family move between the US and Australia and she rediscovered a childhood love of writing and storytelling working as a reporter at a small newspaper in Montana, her husband's home state.

In between writing jobs, Elka has worked in the non-profit sector, as a caterer and as a fisheries technician, taking DNA samples from trout in a freezing stream in the middle of the night.

During long winters in Montana, she blogs at Aussiemerica.com.

Elka loves meeting new people and believes in the commonality of the human experience - and that everyone has a story to tell.

All Articles

Bega students for climate action come back stronger than ever post-COVID-19
They've been striking against climate change for more than three years, are pretty good at making protest signs and they do it in all weather – they are Bega's Youth Action and Regeneration (YAR) group. "We've put up about 300 flyers on cars and around town," says Amalia-Grace Thompson on Thursday, 24 September, the day before the group joins School Strike 4...
Southern NSW Local Health District restructure document “riddled with errors,” says union
Last week, the Southern NSW Local Health District announced details of a restructure that has been in the making for four years. In a press release on Thursday, Chief executive Margaret Bennett said there will be no forced redundancies. However, staff and union representatives say they are very concerned about the changes being put forward, which will see 53 full-time...
Are we hugging? Navigating Stage 2 COVID-19 restrictions and social contact
"Are you hugging?" I ask everyone I meet. Some come at me with open arms while others keep a respectful distance. One friend suggested we adopt an arms-length, side-by-side mutual bum pat. Social affection was potentially awkward enough pre-COVID-19 but, with a pandemic at play, who we touch, and when, has become a minefield. Guidelines from NSW Health Stage 2 restrictions...
Moruya High School takes the cake with Youngcare fundraiser
On Thursday, 10 September, 32 Moruya High School food technology students in years 9 and 10 took part in the #YOURCAKE challenge to raise funds for Youngcare, a national charity that helps house young adults with high care needs. The cake challenge coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Australian Women's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake Book, and students created some of...
Bega businesses band together for Sustainable Saturdays
Roger Foote, manager at the Salvation Army Family Store Bega, wanted to do something to address the lingering effects of COVID-19 lockdown on local businesses and help promote the use of recycled, handmade and local items. After speaking to Bega business owners Gabrielle McGrath, from RedPeg Eco Studio, and Krystina Kasprzak, from Green Queen clothing, the trio came up with...
‘Mega pod’ of humpback whales spotted feeding off the coast of Eden and Merimbula
"Look! A whale!" is an often-heard cry between May and September along the NSW South Coast. But those lucky enough to be out on boats during the past weekend and early this week were treated to humpback whales en masse, with witnesses saying there were up to 100 whales all breaching and feeding, creating a spectacle that will not be...
Bega Valley parents join nationwide push for solar-powered schools and daycares
Bega Valley parents are among thousands who have signed an open letter asking Prime Minister Scott Morrison to provide federal funding for the installation of solar panels and batteries in schools and early childhood centres around Australia. The Solar Our Schools initiative, led by Australian Parents for Climate Action, aims to reduce emissions, aid the green economic recovery after COVID-19, and...
Wyndham’s Saarinen Organics wins big at AusMumpreneur Awards
Kay Saarinen still doesn't know who nominated her organic skincare business, Saarinen Organics, for the 2020 AusMumpreneur Awards, which were held online on Tuesday, 9 September. The business placed first in the handmade excellence category, second in the sustainable business category, second in the product excellence category, and third in the regional business excellence category. "It never occurred to me that...
Living with people makes parenting easier – so why don’t more of us do it?
Imagine you're a parent, alone in the house with a sick toddler and a grizzly baby, and you've run out of milk. You have to get everyone dressed and put shoes on, strap them into car seats, park, take them out again, put the baby in a carrier and walk to the shop. If there was a second adult in...
“As safe as a car and as fun as a motorbike”: Great Southern Trike Tours Eden are back
Like so many businesses, 2020 has come with its fair share of setbacks for Shane Bullock and Mandy Buxton, who started their Eden-based business, Great Southern Trike Tours, just weeks before bushfires broke out along the NSW South Coast. Shane, a Fire and Rescue NSW firefighter, says he spent the next few months "putting wet stuff on hot stuff." Now,...
‘Go over your plan from last year and reassess’: RFS urges preparedness on South Coast
Winter is officially over and from 1 September landowners are obliged to apply for a permit to burn on their land. Right on cue, the Far South Coast saw its first warm, windy day last weekend, with temperatures in the high 20s and a north-westerly reminder that bush fire season is here. For many of us, it feels too soon...
Bega Valley Indigenous community pushes to open lakes by hand after heavy rainfall
The opening of lakes and estuaries to the sea is often a local spectacle after heavy rain, with many people keen to see the flushing action revive waterways. According to Bega Valley resident and Yuin man Graeme Moore, this same activity has been undertaken by Indigenous people for thousands of years, likely using sticks and scooping tools - and he'd...
Why perspective is crucial when it comes to money
I've been thinking about the drive that keeps us all on an upward trajectory when it comes to income and assets, and how trying to step back and get some perspective can make us feel instantly richer and more grateful for what we have. As we get older, our perspective changes and things we were happy with in our 20s...
New wave of support for homebirth during COVID-19 pandemic
Health & Wellbeing
Women all over Australia have been asking for homebirth for decades, but have largely been hindered because of the difficulty and high cost for private midwives to purchase indemnity insurance. Homebirths account for less than 1 per cent of all births across the country, although that number is on the rise as cities have begun to roll out publicly funded homebirth...
Frankie J Holden to host first online Far South Film Festival on Sunday, August 23
What's On
Among those South Coast institutions adapting to COVID restrictions is the Far South Film Festival, which will be held online or the first time on August 23 this year and will be followed by an awards presentation on the same day. The Film Festival Awards will be hosted by award-winning actor Frankie J Holden and actress and President of the...
Despite misleading social media post, Tilba Real Dairy not owned by Chinese company
In recent weeks, Tilba Real Dairy has been plagued by a misleading social media post that suggests the company is Chinese owned. However, the dairy is 100 per cent Australian owned and operated by Nic and Erica Dibden, who bought ABC Cheese Factory in Tilba in 2012 and began producing dairy products made from the milk of Jersey cows. According to...