Over the course of her numerous bushwhacking and scree surfing botanical expeditions as a graduate student in the late 1930’s, SMD’s co-founder Dr. Mary Bowerman recognized the importance of preserving and stewarding Mount Diablo’s ecological treasures.
Since her first visits, Mount Diablo State Park has grown from 631 acres to 20,000 and now hosts over half a million visitors annually. The state park requires significant land stewardship efforts. In response to the State Park’s current needs, backlog of projects and limited budget, SMD decided to help fund a Field Projects Volunteer Coordinator position this year to help existing staff with stewardship and maintenance work at Mt. Diablo State Park.
As the Curry Canyon Ranch manager I can attest to the incredible value of engaged volunteers. Having a coordinator in place to help facilitate these activities is extremely important in running a healthy stewardship program. I am excited about the opportunity to work closely with State Park staff on identifying collaborative projects on the four properties where we share common boundaries, especially as we look to transfer some of our lands to the state park in the coming years.
One of the great things about the Field Projects Volunteer Coordinator is that they will enable the State Park to make amazing restoration, trail work and cleanup projects available to a wider and more diverse cross section of the community. These offerings will supplement the inspiring work done by Mount Diablo Interpretive Association, the East Bay Trail Dogs and current Mt. Diablo State Park volunteers.
I am optimistic that the role will be transformative both from a volunteer engagement and a stewardship perspective because it is set up to address the administrative and planning hurdles as well as the field coordination component. I foresee this position reducing barriers for people of all ages and backgrounds to build a relationship and connection with the Mountain much like Dr.
Bowerman did as a pioneer female botanist of her time. After this initial pilot year, it is our hope that Mt. Diablo State Park will see the full value of this position so state parks will fund it moving forward.