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A magazine from California State University, Chico -- On-line Edition  
Summer 2007
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What I Did on My Spring Break

A few months ago, recreation and parks management professor Emilyn Sheffield invited me to join her and six students for the new National Park Service Learning class at the Golden Gate National Parks during spring break. I jumped at the opportunity because I relished the idea of returning to the places I visited often growing up in the Bay Area.

The students, Emilyn, and I spent part of every day planting and pulling weeds, and the physical labor was sometimes challenging, especially for an out-of-shape office worker. But the scenery—what an unbelievable place to dig holes and pull invasive plants! When we weren’t somewhere within sight of the Golden Gate Bridge, we were taking a ranger-led tour in the cool redwood forest named for John Muir, or planting native species high above the Pacific Ocean on Bolinas Ridge, or sighting red-tailed hawks near the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory on the Marin Headlands.

The students impressed me, gamely pulling clingy invasives and digging endless holes for native grasses and wild strawberries (see related story and slideshow at While the students worked, they asked thoughtful questions of the rangers and project managers about volunteer stewardship and ways to garner community support.

These weren’t the first students from Chico to work in the Golden Gate National Parks—in 2006, Community Action Volunteers in Education (CAVE) developed a National Parks program with the Golden Gate. They bring nine students down almost every weekend each semester to do volunteer work.

We’d like to hear your stories about volunteering—recently or even during your Chico State days. Send us a note by Aug. 15 (see page 2 for contact info), and we’ll enter you in a random drawing to win one of five ChicoBags customized with the Chico State seal. We’ll publish your letters in the fall issue of Chico Statements.

—Marion Harmon