Valley News -

By Helena Lambert

Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve seek volunteers to reconnect and preserve nature


Last updated 2/8/2019 at 2:30am

Shane Gibson photo

Santa Rosa Plateau docent Margie Knapp, center, provides volunteer information to Denise Silva, left, during the second annual Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve Volunteer Fair, Jan. 28.

Each year thousands of visitors retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily life in search of tranquility at the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve near Murrieta.

The reserve is situated on 8,000 acres with 40 miles of diverse trails to explore. Riverside County Parks District and the Santa Rosa Plateau Nature Education Foundation held a volunteer fair, Monday, Jan. 28, in an effort for visitors to continue enjoying the reserve for generations to come.

The second annual event, held inside the Visitors Center, boasted with prospective volunteers, each greeted by a friendly volunteer representative. Riverside County Parks and the Santa Rosa Plateau Nature Education Foundation work cooperatively with the reserve staff and volunteers to organize education programs, special events, community outreach and trail maintenance.

There's a volunteer niche for just about anyone interested in sustaining the reserve for future generations. The primary mission of the Santa Rosa Plateau Nature Education Foundation is to educate and empower the youth through environmental stewardship. The foundation is a nonprofit organization working with 10 school districts to provide environmental and natural science programs. Volunteers have an opportunity to become outreach educators to support the foundation's mission in aiding the youth to reconnect and preserve nature.

"The foundation advocates, leave no child inside. This belief is what encompasses and embraces our mission to build and expand outreach into our community," Ginger Greaves, SRPNEF executive director, said. "We strive to create subsequent experiences for our youth that reconnects them with nature."

The foundation is the fundraising arm for the Reserve. Events held throughout the year rely on over 325 volunteers over the age of 21. Kicking off Saturday, May 18, is the inaugural Rooted in Nature Craft Brew Festival at Marna O'Brien Park in Wildomar. The popular summer concert series and art show is set to host talented local artists and musicians at the Visitors Center. Family Wildlife Day in November offers animal and nature exhibits, hikes, arts and crafts and live animal demonstrations.

Riverside County Parks is in need of volunteers to maintain multi-use hiking trails, public areas and clearing of natural streams and watersheds at the plateau.

Shane Gibson photo

Sky York affixes a name tag to his shirt after a hike at the Santa Rosa Plateau during the ecological reserve's volunteer fair.

Kay Boylan, SRPNEF volunteer coordinator, said this year's fair turnout nearly doubled from last year.

"We got great volunteers from last year's fair; many of them crossed over and helped Riverside County Parks," Boylan said. "They are committed and love the plateau."

Local resident, Julia Hughes, attended the fair and decided to extend a hand with special events for the foundation. Her family visits the plateau frequently and supports the foundation through an annual membership. "I feel now more than ever, how important it is to support the reserve; a place that will be here long after I'm gone, "Hughes said. "And the importance of our children seeing us step up and make a difference for others in the community."

For more information, prospective volunteers can contact [email protected] or call (951) 677-6951.


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