Giving back to the park we love

Jim and Brooke Shaffer, volunteers at Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area

Silverwood Lake_Jim and Brooke Shaffer 3Hi, I’m Jim Shaffer and my wife’s name is Brooke. We’ve been coming to Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area for twenty-five years now. When I retired a few years ago, we decided to get an Annual Pass as the lake is only twenty minutes from our home.

We stopped at the park kiosk last December and noticed a poster on the window for the Park Champions volunteer program. We thought it was a great way to give back to the park we love. After several work days with Eddie and Kaitlin, our volunteer leaders, we met many nice, like-minded volunteers and park employees. We found it refreshing that people from all walks of life, ages, cultures, and races can come together for the love of nature.

We were so inspired by these volunteers and employees that we decided to become full-time park volunteers. We stay in touch with some of our fellow volunteers and have made new friends with the park employees as well. We see firsthand what park employees deal with on a weekly basis and they should be congratulated for their hard work and dedication.

Silverwood Lake_Jim and Brooke Shaffer 1Volunteering has been immensely rewarding. Visitors as well as park employees thank us for continuing to do the hiking/biking trail work we started with Park Champions. Since this is where we hike and kayak regularly, we benefit greatly as well. We also remove trash and graffiti year-round whenever we see it.

It’s great to know that, as volunteers, we improve the quality of life not just for us, but for other visitors, employees, and especially the wildlife that lives there every day. The other reward is that different seasons bring something special every time we visit. The fall colors, spring wildflowers, bears, bobcats, eagles, deer, and all the migrating waterfowl remind us as volunteers how lucky we are to have these state parks for now and for future generations.

We thank you all who volunteer to this great cause.


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. 

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.