Bobby Gendron | Volunteer of the Month

Interviewed by Haley Sutton, Land Stewardship Associate

How long have you lived in the Bay Area?

Aside from living in San Luis Obispo, CA for college, I’ve lived in the Bay Area my entire life.

How did you learn about Save Mount Diablo?

I first learned about Save Mount Diablo when their Facebook page was suggested in my feed as something I might be interested in. I liked their page and immediately went to their website to learn more. From there I was convinced this was an organization that I could get behind.

When did you start volunteering with us and why did you get involved?

I’ve had an interest in milkweed and monarch butterflies for nearly 35 years. Having knowledge of many milkweed populations on Mount Diablo, along with Save Mount Diablo’s cause of habitat conservation, I wanted to contribute my knowledge of milkweed and monarch butterflies to any work they might need help with. I started volunteering in April 2022.

Which Save Mount Diablo programs are you involved in?

I worked with Sean Burke to locate and track, via GPS, populations of California milkweed (Asclepias californica). I believe this species of milkweed is a key early season species that provides food to first-generation monarch larvae in years where weather conditions align California milkweed breaking dormancy with monarch butterflies leaving their overwintering sites.

What do you enjoy about the volunteer work you do?

I enjoy being out in nature and contributing to an effort that will help make a case for future grant support to restore and create needed habitat for monarch butterflies.

What is the most challenging project you’ve worked on as a Save Mount Diablo volunteer?

California milkweed likes to grow on slopes, so getting to some of the specimens for tracking via GPS was a bit challenging.

Is there a memorable experience you’ve had as a Save Mount Diablo volunteer?

I really enjoyed getting to know Sean Burke and spending time with him in the field. It’s always great to get outdoors with others who are so interested and curious about nature. There is still so much to learn!

How do you spend your time beyond your volunteer work with us?

This was my first project with Save Mount Diablo, and I would love to stay involved anywhere I can help, especially when it comes time to re-introduce California milkweed plants to the mountain. Outside of my interest in monarch butterflies and milkweed, I’ve worked in digital marketing here in the California Bay Area for 25 years and have spent the last 10 years working for Workday, which has been and continues to be an amazing experience. My daughter is 11 years old, and we enjoy getting out and about, and last month we got to spend a long weekend down in Los Angeles together enjoying time at Universal Studios. We are both getting ready for a new milestone in her life, and that would be starting middle school this month!

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