OC Parks SOV 22

Published: April 12, 2022

OC Parks

Honoree’s Name: Luanne van Hunnik

Award Category: Environment & Sustainability

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Luanne van Hunnik

Luanne has been an OC Parks Volunteer at Mile Square Regional Park since 2019. Luanne has been volunteering at the archery range ever since and has continued to be an important asset to the beginning archery classes. Recently, Luanne has spent countless hours researching cost efficient ways to obtain new equipment to provide a wide variety of archery bows to be used during the beginning archery classes. Her archery expertise is greatly appreciated. Class participants are very eager to learn about the sport of archery and with Luanne’s archery background, class participants receive the best level of education. Thank you, Luanne, for continuing to help the archery program at Mile Square Regional Park.

Honoree’s Name: Joan Miller

Award Category: Environment & Sustainability

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Joan Miller

Joan has been a volunteer since 2016 and has contributed more than 3,000 at multiple OC Parks facilities. She is being awarded for her hard work dedication with invasive removal at Caspers Wilderness Park, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, and Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park.

Honoree’s Name: Jim Hill

Award Category: Environment & Sustainability

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Jim HillJim is being nominated by two park facilities this year. Jim had been a volunteer since 2017 and has contributed close to 1,000 hours of service. He is being nominated by Clark Regional Park and Irvine Regional Park.||Jim has been volunteering at Irvine Regional Park for approximately two years. He has been instrumental in helping me establish a wildlife camera program that has captured dozens of amazing photos within the park. We display the images in the Nature Center to share an exciting experience with the public. Jim also spends his time handpicking around the park, although the fruits of his labor far exceed the act of picking up trash. Jim is an established docent within the park who constantly interacts with the public to provide a better experience. Jim never misses an opportunity to recruit another volunteer, and I often hear from staff and park regulars how much they enjoy talking with him. Jim has gone above and beyond at Irvine Regional Park, and I always look forward to his volunteerism. Besides the work, Jim never lets the details of the park go unnoticed. Working with Jim always reminds me to value each day with the utmost respect for the parks.

Honoree’s Name: Maria Alonso

Award Category: Environment & Sustainability

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Maria Alonso

I am proud to nominate Mark Bowler and Maria Alonso for the 2022 Spirit of Volunteerism Award. Mark and Maria have both made a substantial contribution to Whiting Ranch for 2022. Both Mark and Maria come to OC Parks with a background in native plant restoration. Together they have removed 157 Tobacco plants, 330 Artichoke thistles, 400 Sahara Mustard, 500 Italian thistle, black mustard and 50 White Horehound invasive plants. Mark and Maria have gone “above and beyond” with their infectious enthusiasm and knowledge of Invasive plant removal. Together they have led a team of volunteers to assist in their efforts to promote native plant restoration throughout the park. The park visitors have been very impressed with eradication of non-natives and some have joined our OC Park Volunteer program to assist Mark and Maria.

Maria Alonso also has a background as a former teacher. She has assisted with Whiting Ranch programs for several 4th grade classes from our local Foothill Ranch Elementary School. She did a fabulous talk on the Scrub Jay for the children. Whiting Ranch could not have better volunteers than Mark and Maria who help make Whiting Ranch a great park. I am so thankful to work with volunteers who enjoy restoration, back country patrol and education. Thank you, Mark and Maria for all the wonderful work you do.

Honoree’s Name: Bob Sill

Award Category: Environment & Sustainability

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Bob Sill

Bob has been a volunteer since 2019 and has contributed more than 1,000 at multiple OC Parks facilities. He is being awarded for his hard work dedication with invasive removal at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park.

Honoree’s Name: Terry Matthews

Award Category: Environment & Sustainability

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Terry Matthews

Terry has been an OC Parks Volunteer since 2018 and has contributed over 1,000 hours of service to the Parks. He is being nominated for his hard work and dedication at Clark Regional Park. It is always a pleasure working with Terry and we can count on him no matter our needs. Thank you Terry for your service!

Honoree’s Name: Mark Bowler

Award Category: Environment & Sustainability

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Mark Bowler

I am proud to nominate Mark Bowler and Maria Alonso for the 2022 Spirit of Volunteerism Award. Mark and Maria have both made a substantial contribution to Whiting Ranch for 2022. Both Mark and Maria come to OC Parks with a background in native plant restoration. Together they have removed 157 Tobacco plants, 330 Artichoke thistles, 400 Sahara Mustard, 500 Italian thistle, black mustard and 50 White Horehound invasive plants. Mark and Maria have gone “”above and beyond”” with their infectious enthusiasm and knowledge of Invasive plant removal. Together they have led a team of volunteers to assist in their efforts to promote native plant restoration throughout the park. The park visitors have been very impressed with eradication of non-natives and some have joined our OC Park Volunteer program to assist Mark and Maria.

Honoree’s Name: Chuck Wright

Award Category: Environment & Sustainability

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Chuck Wright

Chuck has been a volunteer since 2012 and has contributed more than 1,500 at multiple OC Parks facilities. He is being awarded for his hard work dedication with invasive removal at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park.

Honoree’s Name: Della Rose

Award Category: Environment & Sustainability

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Della Rose

Della Rose became a volunteer in the Archaeo/Paleo lab in 2019 after collaborating with OC Parks for an exhibition she was working on with Muzeo. She had known about the Cooper Lab for many years and jumped at the chance to finally get hands on with the collection. She started her time here as a Paleontology volunteer doing fossil preparation, but when the Archaeology team needed extra hands she eagerly agreed to help and quickly fell in love with the work. Della’s background in museums provided her with a solid foundation for working with the archaeology collections and she has utilized that knowledge to become a trusted leader and mentor to the other volunteers. Each time a new project arises Della is the first to sign up for extra shifts, eager to add to her developing skillset, and her newfound ambition for archaeology has even led her to pursue opportunities in other archaeological settings, as well. Her passion for OC Parks doesn’t end with the Archaeo/Paleo collections, she can also often be found volunteering to work at special events held at other parks facilities. Her dedication to this collection and the excitement that she brings with her to every shift is contagious and makes her an integral member of our volunteer team.

Honoree’s Name: Sherri Sisson

Award Category: Environment & Sustainability

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Sherri Sisson

Sherri has been a volunteer since 2017 and has contributed close to 1,000 at multiple OC Parks facilities. She is being awarded for her hard work dedication with invasive removal at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, and Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park.

Honoree’s Name: Ross Gough

Award Category: Environment & Sustainability

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Ross Gough

At the Cooper Lab, to pick someone that embodied the spirit of volunteerism, we wanted to pick someone that is giving of their time and skills, and has enriched their own life through the experience that we can offer. We wanted someone that knowledgeable, driven, friendly and reliable. Ross Gough embodies all those traits. Ross has been volunteering with the Cooper lab for four years, having the dedication to weather the transition from management by CSUF to in-house county management and then was one of the first people back when we were able to open our doors again at the start of the pandemic. Ours isn’t even the only facility that Ross volunteers at! He so loves the natural world that he also volunteers at the OC Zoo and the Irvine Ranch Conservancy. In our lab, Ross has been adding to his tool-belt of skills, becoming a deft hand at removing the fossils from their encrusting rock. Ross’s analytical, detail oriented and sometimes competitive personality are perhaps why he succeeded in his career as an engineer, and those traits serve him well in the lab and in the process of organizing our research collection. Moreover, Ross’s friendly demeanor and openness speak volumes about his character. Ross has also been extremely helpful, working with and mentoring some of our newest volunteers. We love having him at the lab every week and feel he is well deserving of recognition as the embodiment of a great volunteer.

Honoree’s Name: Jay Matchett

Award Category: Environment & Sustainability

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Jay Matchett

Jay completed the Newport Bay Conservancy Naturalist Training and began volunteering around the Bay in 2010. Jay’s focus was habitat restoration and he was a regular attendee of our Second Sunday Restoration days. He contributed an average of 50 hours a year for the entire decade from 2010-2020. Since we reopened in the summer of 2021 Jay has nearly quadrupled his hours, putting in 99 hours in the second half of 2021 alone. He seems to have found a new home at the front desk of the Muth Center, often covering multiple shifts per week, and picking up open shifts at the last minute. We are deeply grateful for Jay’s continued service and commitment to Upper Newport Bay.

Honoree’s Name: Len Cavers

Award Category: Environment & Sustainability

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Len Cavers has covered every square inch of Irvine, Peters Canyon and Santiago Oaks Regional Parks either on foot or bike. For over seven years he averages 20 hours a week and covers more miles than that throughout these three parks. His keen eye on back country patrols help park staff know which maintenance projects are needed such as broken benches and fallen signs. In addition to various maintenance projects, the cumulated bags of trash he picks up each Monday after a busy park weekend is astonishing and greatly appreciated. In Santiago Oaks Regional Park, Len is one of the main leads on Trail Work Days. He guides small groups of enthusiastic public and trained volunteers along the trails, advising proper tool etiquette and use to move dirt and debris on various single tracks throughout the park. This much needed work, especially after a big rainstorm event, greatly aids the trails to become safely compacted for hikers, bikers and equestrian riders to enjoy. His almost daily patrols greatly assist staff as well as the public, being a friendly face for park visitors to see and recognize. Wearing his OC Parks’ uniform vest and his sturdy helmet sets a wonderful example for the public and other volunteers to see and emulate. Len says his time in the parks is more than enough reward. Even on a bad day it all goes away when you get on the trail and see a Red-tailed Hawk soaring. Thanks for all that you do in our parks, Len!


2 thoughts on “OC Parks SOV 22

  1. Mark Bowler and Maria Alonso,
    Thank you for all the hard work and dedication to Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. I feel so lucky to have you both as volunteers.

    1. Thank you Candi! We really enjoy working with you and look forward to spending even more time in our favorite park😃.

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