Volunteer Spotlight-Mark Wolff

Volunteers make a huge difference. Among our wonderful volunteers who demonstrate outstanding volunteer efforts and who contribute to the success of The Reserve, is Mark Wolff. We welcome this opportunity to honor Mark. His dedication, skills, time and energy are making a positive impact in many areas of The Reserve. He spends several days a month helping to remove invasive species and make the trails safe for our guests. He is a hard working volunteer with a great attitude and it is a privilege to have Mark as part of The Reserve’s volunteer team.
A little Q & A with Mark:

Q: Why did you want to volunteer for The Reserve?
A: I saw a listing in the San Clemente Times for trail clearing at The Reserve and it sounded interesting.

Q: What is your favorite aspect about volunteering for The Reserve? Why?
A: I was very active with several outdoor volunteer programs in Colorado and wanted to continue that practice here in Orange County.

Q: What is your favorite Reserve program that you’ve participated in? Why?
A: I like working with the Scouts the most because they notice and are fascinated by things I sometimes take for granted.

Q: What is your favorite aspect about volunteering for The Reserve? Why?
A: Learning from Reserve staff and other volunteers. My previous back country work was somewhat technical and narrowly focused on very specific aspects of the environment. I feel I’ve gained a much greater appreciation and understanding of this area since I started volunteering for The Reserve.

Q: What activities have you participated in at The Reserve as a volunteer?
A: Trail clearing and invasive plant removal with the Scouts.

Q: What are you passionate about?
A: Nature and being outdoors. When I first began surfing about 38 years ago I gained a deep appreciation for the natural world. That experience eventually became an essential part of who I am. When school and career took me away from the ocean, I branched into other adventure sports (mountain biking, rock climbing, snowboarding, and mountaineering) as a way of keeping myself active in the wilderness. Throughout my career as a software engineer, I worked evenings and weekends as a rock climbing instructor, mountain bike patroller, and back country guide, as well as a brief stint with the National Ski Patrol. I did anything I could to maintain my connection to the outdoors. About seven years ago, I underwent training with the US Forest Service, the BLM, and Boulder County so that I could lead volunteer trail work crews in the back country as a way of showing my gratitude for the thousands of miles of adventure I had using trails over the years.

Q: Give any background about yourself that you’d like to share.
A: I’ve been very fortunate to have had the opportunities to climb, surf, snowboard, and mountain bike in so many beautiful places around the globe.

Q: What is your favorite plant or animal that you’ve gotten to know at The Reserve? Why?
A: I love the California coastal sages. It’s the scent I associate most with SoCal and it always reminds me of being at the beach when I was young.

Q: What is the best thing that has happened to you as a volunteer with the Reserve?
A: Learning about the native plants and animals. I didn’t realize the magnitude of biodiversity in this region. I now see and appreciate things throughout Orange County that I failed to notice prior to my time at the Reserve.

Q: What is your favorite Reserve memory?
A: Seeing the scouts get so excited by things like trapdoor spiders, animal tracks, ants, butterflies, etc. Every time that happens it’s as if I’m discovering something new myself.

Q: What are your wishes for The Reserve?
A: That it continues for many generations to come.

Q: What new things have you learned while volunteering with The Reserve?
A: I’ve learned to spot invasive plants wherever I go, especially the various thistles common to San Clemente.

Thanks Mark for making a difference at The Reserve and for Orange County wildlands!

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