Volunteer Core Leader awarded the Golden Bear Award! | Cal Parks
Published: January 20, 2023

Congratulations, John Salcido, our Volunteer Core Leader at Half Moon Bay State Beach, on receiving the California State Park and Recreation Commission's Golden Bear Award! On a rare sun-speckled Thursday afternoon, while California faces back-to-back storms, close friends, family, long-time volunteers, California State Park employees, and California State Parks Foundation staff gathered in the visitor center at Half Moon Bay State Beach to celebrate John's much-deserved recognition.   

Launched in 1969 by the California State Park and Recreation Commission, the Golden Bear Award annually celebrates the outstanding contributions of those who have made positive and lasting impacts toward the Department of Parks and Recreation's mission: to provide for the health, inspiration, and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state's biological diversity, protecting natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Nominees demonstrate leadership and contribute significantly to enhancing the quality of life for all Californians.   

When Joanne Kerbavaz, Senior Environmental Scientist at Half Moon Bay State Beach, read the award’s criteria, John Salcido immediately comes to mind.  

John has done so much through his own skill and leadership to have you [volunteers] coming back week after week to do the work that you do,

The award, presented by members of the California State Park and Recreation Commission (SPRC), Vice Chair Phil Ginsburg and Commissioner Francesca Vietor, recognizes John and his team for the incredible habitat restoration work results accomplished over the past 10 years at Half Moon Bay State Beach. His positive and lasting impact is seen throughout the park and in the California State Parks Foundation volunteerism program. Accomplishments such as doubling the number of California State Parks Foundation volunteers attending each Half Moon Bay State Beach event, mentoring and fostering a community of new Volunteer Core Leaders and youth participation, and improving native planting successes around the park's sensitive coastal dunes and scrub habitats being the most significant.   


“John inspires our staff [at California State Parks Foundation] with his dedication to the park, the volunteers, the kids, and is the model for a volunteer core leader. Our state parks can only thrive by having leaders like John who continue to inspire people to volunteer and protect our parks,” said Randy Widera, Director of Philanthropy at California State Parks Foundation. 

California State Parks Foundation volunteer program manager, Melissa Potts said, “John's leadership has brought our volunteer workdays at Half Moon Bay to new levels. He's built an amazing community at the park by mentoring new Volunteer Core Leaders, welcoming new volunteers of all ages, and recognizing returning volunteers for their repeated service. His enthusiasm and passion inspires us all!”  


We all share the feeling of giving back to parks. A key component for a thriving park is a dedicated community of volunteers that return to every event. Volunteer Core Leaders, like John, are crucial in fostering these committed volunteer groups that bring so much meaning and joy into vital work to protect parks. “If I could do so, I’d split this award up and give out Golden Cub awards to each and every one of you who’ve worked on or supported these efforts with me,” said John during his acceptance speech. “It’s all of you who made these last 10 years the most meaningful and satisfying of my 62 years.”   

Congratulations, John Salcido! Your continued leadership and dedication to Half Moon Bay State Beach and the incredible volunteers who join us each month inspire us all. From everyone at California State Parks Foundation, thank you!

Want to use your skills and passion to protect and preserve California's one-of-a-kind state parks? Learn how to become a Volunteer Core Leader and what this unique and exciting community of park leaders has instore: https://www.calparks.org/volunteercoreleader