In 2022, volunteers completed over 230 trail patrols on bike, foot, and horseback, as they welcomed visitors to preserves, reported trail conditions and wildlife sightings, and supported critical field operations. They also contributed over 600 hours towards facilitating public enjoyment of our preserves, including helping during busy spring hours, and supporting large-scale events such as Open Access Days at Máyyan 'Ooyákma – Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve and Diablo Foothills, and Earth Week celebrations in Coyote Valley. By the end of 2022, the hard work of volunteers are expected to total over 3,900 hours towards our mission informed projects!
“We are proud of the opportunities we are able to offer the public through diverse educational programming and stewardship projects,” says Gavin Comstock, Volunteer Program Administrator at the Open Space Authority. “And the responsivity and support of our volunteers is an incredible tool to help us open the gate for as many interested people to join us as possible.”
One shining achievement by the volunteers over the years, and specifically in 2022, is the transformation of the Furtado Barn Restoration Area. Volunteers removed nearly 4,000 square feet of invasive species and plant a variety of native species in the area.
“Not only do volunteers contribute a great quantity of labor-- but the quality of their time and efforts is immeasurable,” says Kat Hill, Volunteer Program Coordinator at the Authority. “We've seen an absolute transformation of the Furtado Barn Restoration Area. A year into this work we are seeing an opening in the understory beneath the eucalyptus, as well as reductions in mustard, thistles and hemlock, and the introduction of beneficial native pollinator plants, thanks to a grant from the Xerces Society. I cannot wait to see how this place will continue to transform with more care from our staff and volunteer community.”
Here are the many ways volunteers are helping people, wildlife, the land, and supporting the mission of the Open Space Authority:
Trail Patrol team members are agency ambassadors and helpful resources for visitors in our preserves. They commit to patrolling the Authority’s Open Space Preserves a minimum of once a month on foot, bicycle, or horseback.
Community Outreach Volunteers represent the Authority at community festivals, nature or science themed fairs, and other public events. They promote our public programming and raise awareness for our current conservation efforts, like the Coyote Valley Conservation Areas Master Plan.
Land Steward volunteers assist Authority staff with trail maintenance, habitat restoration, fencing and cleanup projects. We host 2 to 3 Land Steward events per month and these events are many people’s first experience with the Open Space Authority.
Docents help the public engage with the preserves in personally relevant and meaningful ways, enhancing the nature experience with environmental education while creating an inclusive, welcoming, and safe learning environment for everyone involved.
Trail Masters is a hands-on, skills-based program that trains volunteers to complete trail maintenance and field work alongside Authority staff, in all seasons and weather conditions. One of our most active volunteer programs, Trail Master activities are scheduled every Tuesday, Thursday, and Third Saturday of each month.
“Our volunteer program is at the heart of the Open Space Authority’s mission,” says Andrea Mackenzie, General Manager of the Open Space Authority. “It’s about involving the community in our work, getting people outside and in nature, and stewarding the land. I’m so proud of our volunteers and their dedication and passion for protecting nature and creating opportunities for the public to feel welcome at Open Space Authority preserves.”
We at the Open Space Authority are proud of our incredible volunteers and we look forward to all we will accomplish together in the coming year.
To learn more and get involved in the Open Space Authority volunteer program, click HERE.