As we begin the new year in 2023 with high hopes, the Friends of San Pedro Valley Park can look back at the past year’s accomplishments and say, ‘You know, this past year was actually a pretty good year for us.’ So we want to take this opportunity to review some of the highlights of our work efforts in 2022:
- We were awarded a grant of $1,500 in January by the San Mateo County Parks Foundation through their volunteer group grant program for the purpose of funding the interactive children’s programs that were to be held later in the summer.
- We held our first-ever photography contest for members of the Friends, which ran from February 1 to May 1 and included images taken in the park that were submitted in four categories. Although the number of entries was small, the overall quality was good and 1st, 2nd & 3rd place winners were selected in each category, which were displayed in the Visitor Center. In addition, an overall ‘People’s Choice’ winner was selected by visitors who viewed the displayed images.
- Our well-regarded monthly program of excellent natural history lectures continued to be presented as Zoom webinars, thanks to the exceptional efforts of our Programs Director, Mila Stroganoff. And in September, we resumed in-person presentations at the Visitor Center for the first time since the beginning of 2020. These in-person lectures are also being videotaped for the first time and posted on the Friends’ website, along with the Zoom presentations.
- Another successful Earth Day volunteer event was held in April, thanks to our Earth Day event coordinator, Sharron Walker. Areas around the Visitor Center were weeded and cleaned up, including the Native Plant Garden, and some new plants were planted in several ‘island’ areas adjacent to the parking lots.
- The Friends resumed staffing of the Visitor Center when it re-opened to the public on July 4th after being closed for 2.5 years. We continue to provide volunteer ‘hosts’ to staff the reception desk from 10 am to 5 pm every Saturday and Sunday.
- We presented three, well-attended, fun-filled, outdoor children’s programs in July and August, featuring the Beetle Lady, Stephanie Dole, Gabe Kerschner and his Wild Things (including Clover, a baby red kangaroo), and Wild Mind Science with their Native Wildlife show stars.
- We continued to hold our monthly Trail Day and Habitat Restoration Saturday volunteer events unabated, along with a few additional invasive plant removal work events on weekdays, as supervised by County Parks Dept. Volunteer Coordinator, Stuart Smith.
- A new newsletter editor (your truly) was named as long-time and beloved editor, Carolyn Pankow, “retired” from the post after about 20 years devoted work. In addition, a new banner was added, along with a new name, “Valley Views,” and some format changes.
- Our annual members’ Barbeque and Holiday Party events were once again held at the Visitor Center in October and December, respectively, after being on hold since 2019 due to COVID-19 concerns.
- The Friends contributed just over 2,000 volunteer hours to the betterment of San Pedro Valley Park in 2022!
These accomplishments, as well as others during the year, are reasons for us to look forward with hope and inspiration to an even better year of volunteer efforts in 2023. We end this year on financially sound footing, with a growing membership of over 125 park lovers and a solid and dedicated Board of Directors focused on improving our organization’s efforts even more in the coming year.
All the best to you and yours in 2023!
Judy Bacon, President
Mark Golembiewski, Vice President