Interviewed by Roxana Lucero, Stewardship and Outreach Associate
How long have you lived in the Bay Area?
I have lived my entire life in the Bay Area. I was born and mostly raised in San Francisco moving to Contra Costa County as a teen.
How did you learn about Save Mount Diablo?
I learned about Save Mount Diablo through Gary Bogue’s column in the paper. If I read nothing else, I would read his column.
What did you do before you volunteered for us?
I retired four years ago after spending 32 years as an elementary school teacher and an instructional coach for other teachers.
How long have you been volunteering with us?
I started working with SMD while I was still teaching, showing up to Diablo Restoration Team Days sporadically, knowing I would be a regular when I had the time.
Why did you decide to join our team?
Since moving to the area, I have spent many hours on and around Mount Diablo, hiking, trail running, exploring, loving the open space and wild air, always grateful for the lands that have been preserved and the people who work to make that happen. I decided to join the volunteers at SMD because I have always valued what they do and I wanted to be a part of it.
About Sue’s Work
Which program(s) are you affiliated with?
I volunteer mostly with the Diablo Restoration Team (DiRT)!
What does your volunteer work consist of and what do you like about it?
Our work is to aid in restoring land to its natural state. Some of our activities include planting, watering, and removing weeds and invasive plants, along with clearing creeks of debris before the winter rains.
What is the hardest project you’ve worked on while volunteering?
The hardest project I remember is a day spent at Curry Canyon Ranch removing a type of netting material from the dam of a stock pond and attempting to save the material for reuse. We pulled it up; removed debris of all varieties; and detangled, rerolled, and hauled it down the hill. It was messy, labor-intensive, and satisfying. We were determined to leave no stinky, dirty netting behind. Mike Rowe would have been proud!
What is one of your favorite memories volunteering with us?
I do not have a particular favorite memory from my volunteer work but rather a collection of memories that include meeting new people, helping others experience the joy of working on a project to make a difference, and finding unexpected treasures along the way. My treasures include wildlife sightings, mariposa and globe lilies, and new friends.
DiRT is a great way to get out and join other like-minded people to ensure the survival of our open spaces and wildlife habitat. There is something for everyone to do regardless of physical ability, age, or experience. A volunteer can take time out to smell the flowers while collecting seeds, listen to birds while pulling weeds, or participate in SMD’s version of cross-fit by cutting up fallen trees or pushing wheelbarrows up a hill. I’m thankful for the opportunity.