Guest blog post from Core Leader Holly Brett
I started volunteering with the Park Champions volunteer program five years ago. My first workday was at Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook – a newer state park I hadn’t even known existed despite it being smack in the middle of Los Angeles. Why had it taken me so long to join a workday? I found it invigorating to dig into the soil and experience nature on a new level. This is something I was yearning for after working for years in an office environment. I felt invested in my community – creating a more beautiful park for all to enjoy. And thanks to the completely contagious passion of our fearless leader and native habitat enthusiast, Margaret Oakley Otto (Southern California field coordinator), restoration of natural habitats that are needed to support local ecosystems became a concern of mine as well. Margaret inspired me to become more involved. I signed up to take native habitat and native plant classes. I also signed up to become a Core Leader so that I could help lead work days. Volunteering with Park Champions has been a completely gratifying experience. Not only do I feel accomplished after a few hours in my local, and not so local, state parks, I have met some wonderful people along the way. One particularly engaging eighth grader interested in improv made a lasting impression on me at a work day in Topanga State Park – improv? how very LA!
I have made friends with some dynamic and diverse people who share the commitment to serve our parks. I am grateful that so many volunteers return month after month to invest their time, spirit and energy improving our parks so that the community at large can enjoy the wonderful California state park system. This June, we’re celebrating the hundreds of enthusiastic volunteers from across California that tirelessly donate their time and work to improve the quality, safety and preservation of our state parks with Park Champions Appreciation Month! Follow the celebration on social media with the hashtag #ParkChampions and read more blog posts here.