This year, the Placerita Canyon Nature Center Associates have two Junior Volunteer of the Year winners who started at Placerita at the same time and work together. The two honorees are Miranda Clark and Delaney Pineda.
Frank Hoffman, recreation services supervisor, is in charge of the volunteers during the weekend and has the opportunity to observe their dedication. He felt Clark and Pineda were deserving of this special recognition.
Miranda Clark learned about Placerita about two years ago and volunteers faithfully each Sunday. She also helps with the special events. She is an animal lover who never had animals at home, so Placerita was the perfect place for her to jump in head-first.
Miranda Clark chops up rats to feed to the raptors.
She loves every part of taking care of the animals, from their food preparation to learning all of the details about their behavior.
In the photo, she can be seen preparing food for the raptors. She is chopping frozen rats and needs to weigh the pieces carefully before feeding them to the birds so they won’t gain too much weight.
Miranda knows sign language perfectly well, and she sometimes takes deaf people on the trail, providing trail interpretation in sign language. She is a senior at Hart High School who also take classes at COC to complete her GE for college application. She plans to pursue a career in the field of sign language and become an interpreter, translating what is being provided audibly for others.
Delaney Pineda, zoologist-in-training
Delaney Pineda used to come to Placerita as a child, so she was very interested when she learned she could volunteer on weekends. Her dream is to become a park ranger.
A senior at Hart High School, she hopes to attend the University of California, Santa Barbara because they have a great Biology department; alternatively, the University of Wyoming, which is known for its forestry and zoology department. The latter university often sends its students abroad for study, which is a good way to learn about exotics and how to apply for grants.
Delaney met our other Youth Volunteer for 2019, Miranda, in a dance class even before they entered kindergarten, and they found out they were going to be enrolled in the same school. They have been best friends ever since. Delaney has had a passion for the environment since she was a little girl, and it has been her motivation in life: She wants to protect it.
Congratulations to Miranda and Delaney, and good luck with all that awaits you in the years ahead.