Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Community Highlight - Linda Barnhart

Responses by Linda Barnhart, Pepperwood Steward

How long have you been a Steward, Tracker, or Volunteer with Pepperwood?
In 2007 I was one of the original Pepperwood Stewards.  When the Bio 85.1 and Bio 85.2 courses were developed, I took both semesters and also received the UC California Naturalist Certificate in spring 2010. Our class was the first to receive this certification in California, since Pepperwood was the pilot California Naturalist program. As one of the original stewards, I have not lost an ounce of enthusiasm for Pepperwood. “Lead by example” someone once said and I try to help others see the importance of tending to our land and to catch the excitement of bringing science and solutions to our community. I was recently honored with the 2014 Pepperwood Service Awards. 

Tell us a little bit about your background and how you became interested in Pepperwood. What keeps you motivated?
I am now retired as the Operations Coordinator at the Small Business Development Center. I have had a passion for the out-of-doors as long as I can remember. With my collection of books in my back pack, I taught myself many things about nature when we did our family camping trips many years ago.  Self-motivation today is maintained by involvement wherever I feel I can be of service at the preserve. I as well will attend the Naturalist Conference in Pacific Grove later this month. It is important to continue to learn, take classes and inspire others to do the same. Motivating others motivates me!!!  

“Find your voice then help others to find theirs” 
From Steven Covey’s, 8th Habit  

What projects have you worked on?
Throughout my years at Pepperwood I have worked on many projects and helped in numerous ways wherever needed.  Some of my most delightful memories were helping Margaret Boeger with the very first children’s educational programs offered at Pepperwood. I developed a photographic ID guide of the Pepperwood wildflowers that Margaret and the Steward Assistants could use in these classes. Currently, I am a greeter at the sign-in table at various public events. I also assist with public hikes, proctor educational classes and work with the herbarium, collecting, labeling, filing and freezing. My photos of Pepperwood wildflowers are an ongoing project that has continued since my early years of being a steward. These photos have been used for the Spring Wildflower Festival and other purposes. 

What are three words that describe Pepperwood to you?
Tranquility, amazing, delightful 

What does your experience at Pepperwood mean to you?
For me, to see the vision of Pepperwood grow from the idea stage to a place to learn about nature is most rewarding.  This dream has now been adopted by others as well.   

If I were painting a landscape of Pepperwood, it would include the following so others would be inspired to catch the vision…

A Horizon – it would remind others of the incredible possibilities for the future.
The Sun – to give them warmth and hope.
Mountains – to represent the challenges ahead.
Birds – to inspire them to soar like eagles.
Flowers – to remind them to enjoy the journey.
A Path – to offer direction and security.
Myself – to demonstrate my commitment to the dream and to them.
Them – to show where they fit in and to communicate my belief in them.

Share the Dream from the book “Your Road Map for Success”.
I am willing to share my dream by helping others to see the need of tending our land and providing educational programs for both children and adults as well as science solutions for our very own community. 

What’s the most surprising thing you've learned or seen at Pepperwood?
Bio 85.1 and Bio 85.2 were amazing!!! I attended these classes at the SRJC and then once a week we would come to Pepperwood and apply what we had learned. There were different instructors weekly on different topics. I learned about so many things such as the value of the Grinnell Method in keeping a field journal, geology, soils, climate, water, plants, forests and woodlands, wildlife, energy and global environmental challenges. These weeks were the most exciting time I have ever had out in nature. What I learned provided the most surprising information. I was inspired and just wanted to let everyone know about Pepperwood and this amazing resource in Sonoma County.

What’s the one thing you’d want to share with someone who is thinking about volunteering?
Move forward in your quest to learn!  Do some volunteer work in the field, but don’t stop there. Take Bio 85.1 and 85.2. You will never ever regret the time you spend even if you already have degrees. A refresher course would not hurt and would help you to see Pepperwood through a new set of eyes. Then, teach others and inspire others to find their voice in the world of conservation. You may not be a professional, but you can inspire and get others excited about how they can help conserve nature in their everyday life and in their own backyard!

What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time, I love to hike and camp with my husband and share nature with our 6 grandchildren.  I took one of John Muir Law’s journaling classes and then obtained copies of his Sierra Field Guide for 2 of my grandchildren who live in the Sierras.  In the photo you see me providing a lesson from this book that they each have.  Sharing Pepperwood with our granddaughters from Gig Harbor, Washington, including looking at the education rooms and going on the Douglas-fir trail, was great fun this summer. Teaching about conservation and science and how to be good stewards of the land is so important in the education of our next generation.  Our other two grandsons are now in college.

I am a Pepperwood member and also a member of the Yosemite Association, the Yellowstone Association, National Wildlife Federation, Audubon Society, California Native Plant Society, the Nature Conservancy, Sonoma Land Trust, the Laguna Foundation and the Friends of the Jepson Herbarium.

 Interested in volunteering? Check our website for more information.

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