Craig Conlon

Interviewed by Roxana Lucero, Stewardship and Outreach Intern

About Craig

How long have you lived in the Bay Area?

8 years

How did you learn about Save Mount Diablo?

My daughter was looking for volunteer projects for high school and found an invitation posted at school for volunteers to become stewards for SMD properties.

What did you do before you volunteered for us?

Our family moved from Southern California to Danville in 2008.  In terms of ongoing volunteer activities, I was on the board for the San Fernando Child and Family Guidance Center.

How long have you been volunteering with us?

Good question. I believe it has been almost 3 years

Why did you decide to join our team?

My professional life is a specialty that involves Environmental Medicine. And one of my degrees is in Environmental Health. So it has been wonderful to get out of the academic setting and literally get my hands dirty.

About Craig’s Work

Which program(s) are you affiliated with? (DiRT, IPM, Trail Dogs, Property Steward, etc)?

I’m the co-Steward for Marsh Creek 2, 4 and 6, along with John.  I regularly attend DIRT projects.

What does your volunteer work consist of?

I usually combine the Steward property inspections with a DIRT day.  For the inspections I walk the property lines, looking for damage or signs of trespass. And I inspect the property for trash, signs of wildlife, non-native plants, etc. With these inspections, I often have time for doing some cleanup, weed pulling, and repairs.  During DIRT days we are usually removing non-native plants and working on re-vegetation projects (planting, weeding, and watering).

What is the hardest project you’ve worked on while volunteering?

Physically? 2 projects stand out. In one project at Curry Ranch, we were removing old fencing. Removing the fence posts often took all my weight, suspended in the air, hoping I had enough leverage to budge the post with the post removal equipment. My triceps were pretty sore that week. The other big day I remember was preparing for a Spring event with George and Jim. The two of them kept running up and down hills through brush, and I tried to keep up without them noticing I was severely out of breath. But although I might call these “hard work” they were actually fun and rewarding.

What is one of your favorite memories volunteering with us?

My favorite time for DIRT days is sitting down after a re-vegetation project and listening to the other volunteers or Jim Cartan talk about the day and the future of SMD.  My favorite experience was tagging along with several of the scientists on Bioblitz day as they scrambled up and down Mount Diablo, excitedly yelling our ridiculous Latin names of animals and plants and insects.

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