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Let's Go Outside | Commentary by Evelyne Vandersande
| Thursday, Dec 13, 2012

The last few weeks have seen many activities at the Placerita Canyon Nature Center.

The first weekend of December is always the Holiday Craft Fair. It is a big event in our community, and people call weeks ahead to get all of the information. Sometimes, people stand in line before the door opens, garden shears in hand.

Why a garden shears? We have plenty on the tables, but they want to make sure they are not going to be delayed in making their wreaths, which are a popular craft because the result is always so spectacular.

You buy a straw wreath and approach tables covered with greenery, pine cones, seeds and pods, and with the help of ties and a glue gun, it soon becomes a work of art. It is easy to do, but you would not know that when you see the final product.

Logs have been cut and holes drilled to make centerpieces that can also be decorated with greenery, berries, dried orange slices – and they look like a professional job because of the fantastic variety of natural products.

We all have a fun time; there are plenty of crafts for the children, so the whole family has a great time getting ready to decorate their house.

All of the docents and volunteers are busy during these two day,s so it is quite fitting that we should have our holiday dinner the following weekend to celebrate and thank all of the people who worked so hard to make our only fundraiser a success, and also to give special recognition to the docents who stood out during the year.

This year’s holiday dinner was held Dec. 8, and a nice crowd came to the event. Sixty-four docents where present.

It was a pot-luck dinner. We used to have catered dinner, but it was getting too expensive. We let the docents loose in their kitchen and asked them to get creative.

That was the best decision, ever. They came up with so many interesting dishes that we decided to make a cookbook to sell in the gift shop.

After a delicious dinner, good conversations and dessert, the recognition ceremony took place. We want to make sure the special docents know we notice their efforts. We appreciate that they make Placerita Canyon Nature Center a better place by sharing their time and their passion for the park with all of us.

 

Rick Brammer: You can see Rick displaying a hawk at every event, and he’s always ready to give information about the bird that he is handling. Rick has been taking care of buying the food supplies for the animals for years, and he conducts many outreaches. He keeps track of the docents’ volunteer hours at the Nature Center and gives those hours to the county employees. Rick is also a board member of the Placerita Canyon Nature Center Associates.

 

Jill Goddard: Jill is one of those quiet heroes at the Nature Center. She designed our logo and the new one for Vasquez Rocks. She does all of our fliers for every event. She can be creative for every situation: A sheet covered with beetles comes to mind, and the turkey vulture hats for the last “Breakfast of the Champions” were outstanding. Thank you so much for all your support.

 

Paul Levine: Paul is the butterfly whisperer and had been very enthusiastic in sharing his knowledge. He has shared much scientific information, written articles and explained to us how to take photos of butterflies. He also took part in several projects.

 

Lanita Algeyer: Lanita took on the difficult job of scheduling, which is extremely important for the docent organization to run smoothly and efficiently. She is in contact with the schools that want to come to Placerita, and she has to coordinate the docents for those days. Hours and hours of work. She also managed to organize a few trips for the docents.

 

Jim DeLill: Jim can be found at the Walker Cabin every weekend, explaining about the life and the history of the Walker family. Thank you for such a commitment, Jim.

 

Deb Clem: A pirate was in charge of planning the last Open House. Deb showed us how to do this perfectly with so many new ideas and a creative spirit. It was a perfect day. Thank you for all your work, Deb. Deb is also an alternate on the board.

 

Helen Walker: Helen is an enchanting personality, a cross between a forest elf and a medicine woman. She is an invaluable source of information about the plant world and the effect of those plants on our body. She knows the plants you can eat, the ones that will help your health and enhance your life. We use her knowledge during docent training; during in-service and anytime a plant takes us by surprise. Her enthusiasm and knowledge are a joy.

 

Debbra Barroso: Debbra has led school groups once a week for three years. She is a board member and took the duty of recording secretary. She has worked on different committees: docent room reorganization, docent photo wall and open house. Thank you, Debbra.

 

Rosemarie Regis: Rosemarie has participated in PCNCA Bird Walks since 2005. She started documenting for Bob Fischer in 2006 and in 2010, then took over when Bob could not longer lead them. She rarely missed the walks – perhaps five times since then – and loves the bird walks.

 

As you can see, the docents at Placerita handle many duties. Docent training starts up in January. Think about it.

 

Evelyne Vandersande has been a docent at Placerita Canyon Nature Center for 26 years. She lives in Newhall.

 

 

 

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