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SAN FRANCISCO BAY NWR COMPLEX: Hope Services Volunteers Provide 'Hope for the Future'
California-Nevada Offices , November 21, 2014
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Genie Moore, environmental education specialist, teaches  Hope Services members about the life cycle of butterflies.
Genie Moore, environmental education specialist, teaches Hope Services members about the life cycle of butterflies. - Photo Credit: FWS Staff
Hope Services members pose in the butterfly garden at the environmental education Center.
Hope Services members pose in the butterfly garden at the environmental education Center. "They have a lot to be proud of," Moore said. "They weed, and maintain the trails throughout the year." - Photo Credit: FWS Staff
The Hope Services team poses with the staff at the environmental education center after a volunteer appreciation lunch. Crews from Hope Services have contributed over 3,000 hours of volunteer time.
The Hope Services team poses with the staff at the environmental education center after a volunteer appreciation lunch. Crews from Hope Services have contributed over 3,000 hours of volunteer time. - Photo Credit: FWS Staff

By Eric Lynch

It is often remarked that "many hands make for light work," and at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge this has certainly proven to be true.

The refuge staff is fortunate to have the support of many dedicated volunteers that help the refuge with all manner of maintenance, resource management, and interpretation projects. For the past six years, the Environmental Education Center in Alviso has been especially fortunate to have the help of a dedicated group of volunteers from Hope Services Community Access Network (CAN) in Mountain View.

Hope Services has been helping individuals with developmental disabilities become participating members of their communities for over 50 years, explained Kim Nakahama, Hope Services staff member. Their members provide a wide range of valuable services, from industrial labors to environmental restoration.

"We thank the staff at Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge for letting us be members of your community and encouraging us to learn new skills as well as learning about our environment," Nakahama said.

The CAN program provides increased inclusive community membership for each person we support. Functional training in community settings and individualized plans for safety, health and community contribution (both volunteer and paid work) deliver opportunities for community engagement.

 

At Don Edwards, Hope Services members completed a variety of tasks including shoreline clean-up, routine maintenance of park signs and benches, clearing brush and weeds, and controlling invasive species. Over the years Hope members have put in more than 3,000 volunteer hours.

Aside from all of the tasks they complete on behalf of the refuge, refuge staff have seen that their enthusiasm and diligence bring joy to everyone who works or volunteers at the refuge. Hope Services members also have the opportunity to take educational excursions with biologists and volunteers. These excursions have included tours of our levees and marshland habitats, a hike of the new Devil’s Slide trail near Pacifica, educational programs about the wetlands around the bay, and a trip to see the elephant seals at Año Nuevo State Parks.

Perhaps most importantly for the refuge staff, the support received from Hope Services and other members of the community shows how much the community values what U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Their passion for the refuge inspires work and brightens days for refuge staff and volunteers.

 

Editor's Note: Hope Services Community Access Network (CAN) program facilitates natural interactions and encourages relationships among individuals with and without disabilities in all environments. Community participation and interaction is an important component to social stimulation and growth. For individuals with developmental disabilities, these opportunities can be limited. The CAN program provides increased inclusive community membership for each person we support. Functional training in community settings and individualized plans for safety, health and community contribution (both volunteer and paid work) deliver opportunities for community engagement.

 

Eric Lynch is a West Valley College Park Management Program Intern.


Contact Info: Genie Moore, 408-262-5513, Ext. 100, genie_moore@fws.gov
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