Volunteering for future generations

By Brian Frange, Volunteer, Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

Brian Frange CYP photo.jpgI think it’s pretty amazing that as a society we’ve collectively agreed on the importance of having a place to go to experience nature. It’s easy to take parks for granted and to assume that they’ve always been there and always will be. But, that’s not the case. Our wonderful system of state and national parks is a result of a deliberate effort by communities large and small to set aside and maintain land for us all to share. There was a time when this concept was not a given. A great many people would prefer to use these green spaces to drill for oil, develop condos, or cut down trees. It is only due to the consistent and diligent effort by our communities that we prevent this from happening and preserve a space for us to enjoy nature.

I believe parks and access to nature should be a human right, but unfortunately it is often treated as a privilege. We cannot take that privilege for granted. The parks are a gift to ourselves and future generations and we must do our part to give back. But how does one actually do that? Well, I had no idea.

This is why I am so grateful for California State Parks Foundation. I, as well as many other volunteers, value our parks and wish to contribute to maintaining them but don’t know where to begin to achieve that goal. California State Parks Foundation does the legwork for me and makes it easy for me to do my part in keeping our parks thriving. All I have to do is show up, and they’ll have a task waiting for me. It could not be easier. I can’t even imagine having to call my local park to ask if I can go in on a Saturday morning to help plant native plants, or weed out invasive species, or maintain trails. I can say with utmost certainty that I would not do that. But luckily, I don’t have to. California State Parks Foundation does that for me.

Thank you to California State Parks Foundation for setting up these wonderful volunteer opportunities, and thank you to all the volunteers who get their hands dirty and do the work to uphold this gift.


This June, we’re celebrating the hundreds of enthusiastic volunteers from across California who tirelessly donate their time and work to improve the quality, safety and preservation of our state parks with Champion Your Parks Month! Click here to learn how you can join the celebration and thank our amazing volunteers. 

Digging holes to a life-changing experience

By Adrian and Tony Mangina, Core Leaders at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

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Adrian and Tony Mangina

The year before we moved to San Diego, our membership to California State Parks Foundation led us to an Earth Day event at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. There was something exceptionally gratifying about removing graffiti from the sandstone bluffs and seeing the change we could make. So, when we moved down to San Diego and were looking for an opportunity give back to our new community, we turned again to California State Parks Foundation.

The Park Champions volunteer program had just added Cuyamaca Rancho State Park to its roster, and we signed up for the first volunteer day there: June 4, 2016. We spent a long, hot day building ten segments of a stake-and-rider fence along the road to the visitor center. We were told this fencing was essential to protecting a sensitive meadow environment from four-wheel drive thrill seekers. It was really hard work digging three-foot-deep holes into baked clay, but after that one day we were hooked. So hooked, in fact, that when Philip Oakley Otto told us that California State Parks Foundation had scheduled a training day for Core Leaders the very next month, we signed up without a second thought.

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Adrian and Tony Mangina with fellow Southern California Core Leaders and California State Parks Foundation staff. 

What started out as a day of digging holes turned into a life-changing experience. Over the past three years, we have volunteered in a number of Southern California parks for Park Champions and have met so many amazing, like-minded folks from near and far who also choose to give a little of their time to improving California parks. What began as a small gesture to help our community has enriched our lives immeasurably through the great friends we have met and the memories we have to share.

 


This June, we’re celebrating the hundreds of enthusiastic volunteers from across California who tirelessly donate their time and work to improve the quality, safety and preservation of our state parks with Champion Your Parks Month! Click here to learn how you can join the celebration and thank our amazing volunteers.