Assistant General Manager Ana Ruiz ©Erin AshfordOn September 21, 2016, Assistant General Manager Ana Ruiz delivered a rousing speech at the Annual Volunteer Recognition Event. By popular demand, an excerpt is provided below.

“I want to express to all of you how fortunate we are to have such a brilliant and dedicated crew of volunteers — working daily to fulfill our shared mission to preserve open space, restore habitat and introduce people to their great outdoors.”

“Today, we celebrate your achievements here at Ravenswood and Cooley Landing. This location has had many eras and tells the story of our society’s changing relationship with nature. Once a fishing landing for native Californians, this site has since been a ranch, a dump, a dredge and an EPA Superfund site, and today, through community will has been transformed into a public park offering sweeping views of the bay and serving as an important gateway to connect people, including families and children, to nature.”

“Our region’s protected natural areas are astoundingly beautiful and provide us with much needed ‘room to breathe.’ I grew up in Southern California and, as a child, I did not have the benefit of enjoying these spaces so close to home. I value the importance of what we do, I am passionate for the work, and I am passionate for the work you all accomplish as volunteers and as docents. What we do is important, it is lasting, it is meaningful to ourselves, and it is meaningful to the people that we help connect to these amazing natural landscapes.”

“The transformation here at Cooley Landing has been remarkable, thanks to people like you who — when seeing an opportunity to make our community a better place to live — put hearts, minds and bodies into that work. Each and every one of you has not only created a healthier, more thriving region, you have brought joy into the lives of millions who, with your help and guidance, are able to enjoy these wonderful open spaces, tranquil forests, open grasslands, clean wetlands, miles of trail, healthy nature, and bayland vistas. Thank you for everything you do, every day, to create a better today and a brighter tomorrow. ”

2016 Volunteer Appreciation Event ©Erin Ashford