Nancy Topp | Volunteer of the Month (October 2020)

Nancy Topp hiking

Interviewed by Roxana Lucero, Land Stewardship Manager

About Nancy

How long have you lived in the Bay Area?

34 years

How did you learn about Save Mount Diablo?

I became acquainted with Save Mount Diablo through my volunteer work with Mount Diablo Interpretive Association beginning in 1988. The two organizations regularly published “Autumn on the Mountain” in conjunction with each other. I was MDIA’s Treasurer twice: 2001–2005 and then again in 2015–2020 and a long-time volunteer in multiple other positions for MDIA, including membership outreach. I am currently MDIA’s archivist.

What did you do before you started volunteering for us?

Professionally I’m a CPA and have held a number of positions as both a Controller/CFO in private industry and nonprofit organizations and tax accountant in public accounting firms. My last nonprofit organization position was Accounting Manager for Greenbelt Alliance, a land preservationist organization. Prior to that I was Controller for CyArk, which performed digital preservation of world heritage sites. I am currently an aspiring-to-be-fully-retired CPA with a small base of clients.

How long have you been volunteering with us?

Seven years.

What were your reasons for getting involved with Save Mount Diablo?

I believe strongly in Save Mount Diablo’s mission of preserving land for future generations and wanted to participate however I was able. I was excited to learn that Save Mount Diablo had land steward positions that would enable me to get out of an office, get outside in nature, and protect the land I loved.

About Nancy’s Work

Which Save Mount Diablo programs are you involved in?

I am co-land steward along with Cindy Brittain for Lot 25 in Clayton. I live in Clayton and have a particular affection for its proximity to Mount Diablo and its entrance at Mitchell Canyon and hiking entrance at Donner Canyon. I have participated as a volunteer for Moonlight on the Mountain several times and have volunteered for the annual Save Mount Diablo BioBlitz twice.

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

Cindy Brittain and I take turns walking Lot 25 on a monthly basis to review the condition of the property and note any maintenance required. For Moonlight on the Mountain, I have helped with volunteer food service and post-event cleanup. For the Save Mount Diablo BioBlitz, I normally participate as an interim check-in point for participants.

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

Most of my volunteer work with Save Mount Diablo is low-key and not too challenging. The biggest challenge I have faced is high winds while working at various events. It is hard to hold outside events, and I admire that Save Mount Diablo is committed to holding events in nature.

What is an especially memorable experience you’ve had as a Save Mount Diablo volunteer?

My most memorable experience is during the April 2018 Save Mount Diablo BioBlitz, when I was sitting alone at a check-in point on Northgate Road. I was under a shade stand in the warm sun and enjoying the utter quietness, serenity, and beauty of Mount Diablo.  A rabbit kept darting in and out of sight keeping me company during my watch. Quite a change of pace from my life as an accountant, where April 14th was rarely peaceful and serene!

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’s a place for you. For more information, check out Save Mount Diablo’s volunteer opportunities.

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

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