"I love when a diverse group of people unite and pull together because they deeply care for a cause." –Jane
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Volunteer Profiles - Meet Jane
Walking the levee three to four times a week, Jane astutely knows and loves the San Lorenzo river that flows through downtown Santa Cruz.
As the lead for Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Estuary Project, Jane works with Linda Skeff and various volunteers to improve the River. They have cultivated a tight group of about eight volunteers who work together on a regular basis, and also invite other community members and groups to join them, including members of the homeless population around the river.
While it is easy to become mired in the pervasive issues along the river, Jane and her group have chosen to hone in on their love for the natural beauty of this landscape as they revitalize the space. As a result, communities both upstream and downstream are reaping the benefits.
In addition to the ecologic opportunities along the river, Jane also believes that the river acts as a “unifier for the communities who share it's banks.”
She notes that houseless volunteers are often willing to join the effort because of the “guidance and camaraderie the organization offers,” as they work towards “changing their destinies” and her houseless volunteer crew members relate to nature and restoration on a “deep, personal level.”
Once, when Jane cautioned crew members about removing too much vegetation, “one member said that made sense because the vegetation is like a family & it’s not good to tear families apart.” Another member “stopped cutting back a bush, because it was a lizard’s home” and he wanted it to “have a safe place to live.” In addition, she’s found that these volunteers are often strong advocates for the river, telling other houseless people to "stay off the plants because they’re feeding the bees.”
Jane affects change, changes public perception of the river, figures out solutions, and exchanges ideas.
She states, “I love when a diverse group of people unite and pull together because they deeply care for a cause.”
Jane admits, “Frankly, I can't imagine my life without volunteering.”
GIVE YOUR TIME: Join Jane in her efforts to revitalize the San Lorenzo river every third Saturday between 9 am and 11 am between Laurel St and the Trestle Bridge. Check the Sierra Club meet up calendar for more details.
FIND YOUR CAUSE: Still trying to discover your passion? The Volunteer Center can help. Connect with a Match-Maker