Dan Fitzgerald | Volunteer of the Month

People posing for a photo in front of a truck bed filled with collected debris

Interviewed by Haley Sutton, Land Stewardship Associate

Meet Dan

How long have you lived in the Bay Area?

Except for two years attending the University of Colorado, I’ve lived my entire life here.

How did you learn about Save Mount Diablo?

Once I got involved with the Mount Diablo Interpretive Association, I could not help but learn about Save Mount Diablo.

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

I have been a steward for just over a year. I hiked all the trails in the state park twice and have hiked quite a bit in the EBRPD properties. I like to mix some off-trail hiking into my days, so when I heard about the stewardship program, the prospect of having private land to explore was appealing.

Which Save Mount Diablo programs are you involved in?

Stewardship and restoration and public hikes with the Discover Diablo program.

About Dan’s Work

What do you enjoy about the volunteer work you do?

I enjoy exploring and I am trying to learn more about our natural world. I take a lot of photos so I can study what I see afterward. Wherever I go (including the monthly stewardship visits), I look for many different species. I am a generalist naturalist, I guess.

The hikes are an opportunity to share something about our special mountain and to learn from others who might be seeing things differently or different things.

The volunteer work I do for MDIA is also satisfying. The cleanup work for both Save Mount Diablo and the state park is quite gratifying when you see a natural state restored. I am on the MDIA Board, and the volunteers I work with there are incredibly dedicated and talented.

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

For Save Mount Diablo, removing the shack from Anderson Ranch during the pandemic. Restrictions of three-person teams made for a tough project. For TRP, the failed culverts removal in the state park was very challenging and hard work even for a good-sized crew.

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

Are you kidding? Every hike on Anderson Ranch is memorable. I guess photographing the ferruginous hawk flying near and over the property was very cool, and watching a bobcat catch its “brunch” was remarkable. I am really looking forward to a “normal” spring and photographing blooms.

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

Beside what I mentioned above regarding MDIA, I like to golf. I was President of the Pacific Services Employees Golf Club before joining the MDIA Board of Directors. I am a real iNaturalist fan and use that platform a lot to post photos that I have identified and those for which I need help.

I want to travel to different areas. I have gone to Mexico (Yucatan and Baja) many times, and I am always amazed at the bird, butterfly, and bloom diversity.

Join Our Volunteer Crew! We Depend on You

Given limited staff, resources, and time, Save Mount Diablo depends on volunteers to take organizational effectiveness from excellent to exceptional. Save Mount Diablo seeks to connect a passionate community to our mission, cultivating a sense of ownership and proficiency in every volunteer position offered.

Whether you want to help with restoration and stewardship, build and maintain trails, help with events, assist in the office, lead hikes, or advocate for us, there‚Äôs a place for you. For more information, check out Save Mount Diablo’s volunteer opportunities.

Top photo by Sean Burke. Dan is on the far left.

Join us to save the remaining natural lands of Mount Diablo!

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