Nature Center Associates of Los Angeles County recognized community members in its annual Volunteer Recognition Day held Sunday at Eaton Canyon Nature Center in Pasadena.
Volunteers from Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park (VRNCA) and the Placerita Nature Center (PCNC) were honored for their years of service and dedication to their respective parks.
Alfonso Vasquez was honored as Volunteer of the Year for VRNCA.
Sandra Dininger, regional park superintendent for Los Angeles County, said the recognition was well-deserved.
“Alfonso has done an outstanding job of working in the Volunteer Gift Shop for two years,” Dininger said.
Along with Vasquez, PCNC’s Volunteer of the Year was RuthAnne Murthy.
PCNC President Ron Kraus said Murthy, who taught many years in the Castaic School District, immersed herself in research when she began volunteering and quickly became an expert on native plants.
“Because she is a true teacher at heart, she wanted this knowledge to be shared with visitors at Placerita,” Kraus said. “RuthAnne happily started a new program called, “Blooms of the Season,” where visitors could learn about native plants and what is blooming on the trail at the time of their visit.”
Murthy also started “Docent Enrichment Training,” a type of support group for PCNC docents, which fosters continued learning amongst the members year round.
Kraus was recognized, as well, for his 15 year dedication to PCNC. He says his time at the nature center has been a very satisfying experience.
Placerita Nature Center Docents at Volunteer Recognition Day. Photo credit: Jim Crowley
“Besides providing a valuable service to the public by leading nature hikes and participating in other docent activities, you get to meet a lot of nice people and make friends with similar-minded folks,” Kraus said. “Plus, there is always something new going on at the nature center. You find something different everyday you show up to volunteer – different animals, maybe some wildflowers you didn’t see last time you were there and a lot of fresh new faces eager to learn about nature.”
Docent badges were also handed out to the following PCNC volunteers for their years of service:
– 15 years: Roger Gibson (received badge last month).
– 10 years: Linda Ioerger and Paula Parr.
– 5 years: Lanita Algeyer, Jim DeLill, Andrea Donner, Michael Elling, Robert Grzesiak Irene Heerlein, Laura Skorich and Denny Truger.