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October 17
1837 - Trapper Peter LaBeck killed by grizzly bear at El Tejon [story]


Pam Koch, after completing the LASD Mud Run in Castaic

Pam Koch has been named Volunteer of the Year for 2012 by the Placerita Canyon Nature Center Associates. It is the organization’s highest honor.

There is no way for me to recall all of the activities and projects Pam has undertaken because no other docent has been so involved and I would miss half of them. Please read the list she compiled at the end of this article.

How can somebody accomplish so much in her “spare” time? Pam is smart, and quick to grasp a concept. She immediately has ideas about finding solutions to any problem. She is intense and focused, but at the same time she has a droll sense of humor that makes it a joy to work with her.

While she is determined to get results, I have seen her in situations where her diplomatic sense and her gentle approach brought her attention from her audience. I have observed her in meetings with high-level county supervisors, and it has been a delight to see how she could exert gentle pressure while not being too forceful. That takes lots of class and savoir faire, and I was deeply impressed.

She works hard and well, and her co-workers copy her behavior and the work gets done.

She is dedicated to the Placerita Nature Center and uses her brain and her heart there. She has had health problems which would keep most people home, but she whipped them aside to keep on working. That is easily said but not easily done.

We were sad and a bit scared when Pam announced she was going to leave the PCNCA board in June. Then I got some explanation: “Pam feels that there are many new people who can take over now at Placerita and she is looking for new challenges.” Pam is looking to get more work? My respect for her climbed a few notches higher, and it was time to show her our appreciation before she leaves the board.

Few docents have made more changes in our organization than Pam. We are all honored to have been working with her, and we wish her the best in her new ventures.

Pam, thank you for all you have done over the years. Thank you for the opportunity to walk with you though all of those events at the center. You are a classy lady and a smart one, too. We want to show you how grateful we all are by electing you Docent of the Year for 2012.

 

Pam clarified her decision:

“The real reason I’m leaving the board is to make room for new talent. We have a lot of great docents and everyone should have a chance to contribute to guiding the organization. I’m fascinated with the (Nature Center Associates of Los Angeles County) board and am having fun seeing how I can contribute at that level. I’m interested in a hundred different things, and the NCA board is not as busy as the PCNCA board, so I can keep a hand in but have more time to pursue my hobbies.

“When you get cancer for the third time, you finally figure out you’re overdue to make some big changes and figure out what is important in your life, and everything gets re-prioritized. I’m totally fascinated by the geology of Vasquez Rocks and am following an opportunity to help their docent group get restarted, and I get to learn about ‘The Rocks’ at the same time. I don’t know if I will find a niche there, but I need to give it a shot. I’ll keep a hand in at Placerita, too, because it is not only a magical place, it also has the most wonderful group of people I have ever had the privilege of hanging out with. Every time I am there, I am always struck by the beautiful hearts and souls of the docents, volunteers and staff, and when I’m walking on the trails I am captivated by the beauty and spirit of the canyon. I can’t walk away from that.”

 

Pam’s volunteer work at the Placerita Nature Center:

 

2011

Recording Secretary until June

NCA rep

NCA vice pres

Year end report

Open house co chair

Craft fair co chair

Annual membership meeting co chair

Will babysit a misc project to conclusion (fire hydrants, security alarm)

Helped get board insurance

Helped get all nature center treasurers on the same chart of accounts

Proofread the Rattler

Worked on Hovore memorial committee; needs a completion date.

Docent room organization co chair

Read term papers of new docents

 

Prior years

In years past I also did animal care and all that entails.

Used to spend one day a week answering phones.

Organized camping trip for docents.

Used to lead school groups.

Spent some time researching the history of PCNCA

Also upkeep of the procedure manual and bylaws.

Working on NCA bylaws update, NCA budget, and figuring out how NCA can best help a new nature center group get started.

 

This article originally appeared in the May-June 2012 edition of The Rattler, the newsletter of the Placerita Canyon Nature Center Associates. The Nature Center is located at 19152 Placerita Canyon Rd, Newhall. For information or to volunteer, visit www.Placerita.org. Join the PCNCA Facebook group here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/pcnca.

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