Volunteer Program  

Volunteers have always been indispensable to RFFI’s vision of community forestry, and remain so today. We have deep volunteer roots: RFFI was founded in 1997 by passionate local volunteer leaders, and for much of our history we operated as a volunteer-run organization.

While volunteers played a critical informal role in RFFI’s founding, we began a transition in the early 2010s to a staff-run organization. The presence of staff and the ongoing need for volunteer assistance created the opportunity for a more formal volunteer program. Over the years, the generous support of the Giles W. and Elise G. Mead Foundation has allowed RFFI to dramatically expand and formalize our volunteer program.

Jackie Dixon, Mitzi Rider, and Joaquin Quintana remove broom from a landing at one of RFFI’s Invasive Species Mapping and Removal Days

Specifically, a 2015 Mead Foundation grant allowed RFFI to hire our first paid Volunteer Coordinator to develop and organize our volunteer program, as well as support and appreciate our volunteers. This position has now expanded into a permanent Program Director, a staff member who manages the volunteer program while supporting the organization in numerous other ways. With this position, the Mead Family’s support has permanently bolstered RFFI’s organizational capacity, and continues to allow us to tackle a more diverse and ambitious array of projects than ever before.

Today, RFFI’s commitment to volunteers is as strong as ever, and we are lucky to have a diverse and talented volunteer corp who dedicate their time and expertise across several programs. Most significantly, the Program Director has organized and engaged RFFI’s community advisory group, the Redwood Forest Council, who now regularly bring their expertise and ideas to the RFFI Board of Directors’ decisions, and meet regularly to take on projects of their own.  

Other volunteer causes include: citizen science; forest vegetation management; photography/videography; graphic design; community outreach; recreation; and donor support.

Outstanding Volunteers:

RFFI periodically honors volunteers who have demonstrated long-term, continuing, significant contributions and service to RFFI’s mission and work with the Outstanding Volunteer Award, a lifetime achievement award:

Jeff Becker
Warren DeSmidt
Edward Duarde
Sharon Edell
Lillian Frazier
Jennifer Fry
Heidi Knott Gundling
Jill Hannah
Judy Harwood
Art Harwood
Jeff Hedin
Bill Heil
Louis Hoaglin
Jon Krabbenschmidt
Jim Larson
Dr. Gabriella Levine
Linda Perkins
Mary Power
Lee Rider
Douglas Neilson Smith
Bill Snyder

Former Board President Don Kemp presenting Outstanding Volunteer Awards to Edward Duarde, Heidi Gundling, and Sharon Edell in 2010. These individuals were RFFI’s first “Outstanding Volunteers.”

Our Volunteer Projects

Fort Bragg High School’s Anchor Academy

Despite all the stereotypes of technology-obsessed teenagers, these students from FBHS love to get their hands dirty! Under RFFI’s supervision, dozens of students have removed invasive species and planted native seedlings at Otis Johnson Park in Fort Bragg and Selkie Cove in Albion. These events are focused on creating thriving ecosystems and forests for generations to come.

Proud students behind a pile of removed invasive plants

More Information Here: Otis Johnson Park Event

Invasive Species Mapping

Citizen scientists have helped RFFI chart the spread of invasive species, including broom, across the landscape. Using clipboards and highlighters, they have gathered valuable data across many miles of our road network.

Forest Conservation Specialist Karen Youngblood prepares citizen scientists to map the spread of invasive species.