Deborah Wechsler | Volunteer of the Month (October 2019)

Deborah Wechsler

Interviewed by Laura Kindsvater, Stewardship & Outreach Intern

About Deborah

How long have you lived in the Bay Area?

This is the third time I have lived in the Bay Area—this time for 12 years. I first moved here from Colorado/Oklahoma in 1988 for about two years, then moved to Houston and Bakersfield and returned in 1997 for six years, moving to Indonesia with my family in 2003 and returning to the Bay Area in 2007.

How did you learn about Save Mount Diablo?

Volunteering for a trail cleanup day with the San Ramon High School Mountain Bike club.

What did you do before you volunteered for us? I was a geophysicist and manager for Chevron in many places around the world. When I retired in 2008, I became involved in many volunteer activities for my daughters’ schools and other organizations.

How long have you been volunteering with us?

I think since 2011.

Why did you decide to join our team?

My daughter and I came to a volunteer appreciation evening after we had done some trail work. I thought “these are my people!” so I signed up my husband Bruce Bilodeau and me for the stewardship program.

About Deborah’s Work

Which program(s) are you affiliated with? (DiRT, IPM, Trail Dogs, property steward, fundraising, office work, etc.)?

I am a property steward for Thomas Home Ranch with my husband, Bruce Bilodeau. I have also been helping with the art for the silent auction at Moonlight on the Mountain, and have assisted with the auction software for that event. We have also been on the crew for the Four Days Diablo hike/camp experience for a few years.

What does your volunteer work consist of and what do you like about it?

Stewardship at Thomas Home Ranch requires a monthly visit to check on the structures and the rest of the property and to pick up trash. I have also led several property tours of the old homestead and Norton and Hess Creeks, which flow to the San Pablo Bay. For Moonlight on the Mountain, I contact artists and select the artwork that will be displayed for the silent auction. I have also assisted with the summit dinners, which are very popular for the live auction. I like all of it, especially being out on Mount Diablo. For Four Days Diablo, we transport all kinds of supplies to and from the campsites, help set up the sites for the dinners and camping, and wash dishes and linens at night.

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

Some projects are physically challenging, like the stewardship work days (e.g. clearing drainages and Curry Canyon). Some require quite a lot of computer work (e.g. loading data into the auction software application). The worst experience was trying to clear all the earwig insects out of the summit building for one of the summit dinners!

What is one of your favorite memories volunteering with us?

I absolutely love volunteering for the Four Days Diablo events. The camping venues are beautiful, and it is a joy to see the participants’ faces light up as they are greeted with warm and chilled towels, beverages, and appetizers after a long day of hiking.

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

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