ForestWatch Celebrates Members and Volunteers

Executive Director Jeff Kuyper welcomes everyone to the party and kicks off the awards ceremony. Photo by Pete Davis

On Thursday, November 9, Los Padres ForestWatch celebrated its members and volunteers at Patagonia’s Great Pacific Iron Works in Ventura, CA. The first ever Member & Volunteer Appreciation Party featured food by Chef Jake O. Francis, beer from Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., and an awards ceremony from ForestWatch. Members and volunteers were also treated to an awesome discount on Patagonia store items.

After enjoying the delicious food and beer, ForestWatch’s Executive Director Jeff Kuyper thanked everyone for attending and went over some of this year’s biggest accomplishments so far. Conservation Director Bryant Baker then awarded several volunteers for their hard work on projects out in the field. Some of these awards were very prestigious…

Most Diapers Found at a Cleanup Award – Ciara Ristig

“It was a team effort,” she said upon receiving the first ever award of its kind.

Most Hours Given in 2017 Award (Field Work) – Gabrielle Abraham

The award was accepted by her dog, Leela — also a regular volunteer, though she declined to give a speech.

Lifetime Volunteer Award (Field Work) – Mary Looby

Mary has been volunteering with ForestWatch for more than 10 years, cleaning up trash from places like Thorn Point and Santa Paula Canyon, defencing the Carrizo Plain, and removing invasive tamarisk from the backcountry. In fact, Mary has volunteered on more field projects than anyone else to date!

Wonderful food by Chef Jake O. Francis. Photo by Pete Davis

After the last of the field work volunteer awards were presented, ForestWatch Director of Membership and Advancement Serena Kelsch handed out awards to those who helped make our many fundraising events possible.

Master Sign-Maker Award – Alex Laine

Alex handcrafted the beautiful chalkboard signs that you might have seen at one of our WILD! events this year.

1,000 Pints Poured Award – Heather Allen & Nick Bobroff

Heather and Nick have been our stellar volunteer bartenders at every WILD! event since 2009. We have no doubt they’ve poured thousands of pints for our event attendees!

Lifetime Volunteer Award – Carol Gravelle

Ever wonder how we have such beautiful programs, cards, newsletters, etc.? Carol has been our volunteer graphic designer since 2005 — almost the entire time ForestWatch has been in existence!

Lifetime Volunteer Award (Events) – Smoother Smyth

Smoother is the founder and CFO of Delicate Productions, Inc. He has personally been helping ensure that our many events have great audio and visual equipment since 2008.

Attendees were treated to beer, food, and an awesome discount on Patagonia store items! Photo by Pete Davis

And finally, Jeff Kuyper ended the night by presenting our last and most prestigious award:

Charter Member Award – Patagonia, Inc.

Patagonia awarded ForestWatch its first grant in 2005, and they have been avid supporters of our work ever since. They have donated countless products to our auctions, closed their store so their employees can attend important hearings, collected signatures for our advocacy campaigns, invited us to set up information booths in the store, hosted sign-making parties for rallies, and supported us in many other ways that are too numerous to list. We really cannot appreciate their support enough.

Thank you to all who came out to the party and especially to those who have helped keep our local public lands protected. Our work would not be possible without our members and volunteers. We look forward to another year of working with the best people California has to offer!

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