The FSVA annual refresher training is a week away. This is an exciting time of year for most FSVA volunteers. We get to learn some new things and reconnect with other volunteers we have not seen since the Annual Volunteer Appreciation Party in November or even since the last Refresher training.
We had a wonderful slightly above normal rain year so far. Even though I love hearing the spring running above my house I know the fire danger will be increased in our area because of lower elevation extra grass production that is already brown from the hot weather in April.
During the winter months, many volunteers are out in the forest and wilderness doing patrol, working in the ranger station, doing interpretive training for the public and our volunteers, etc. The Board of Directors had at least 2 board meetings leading up to the Annual Refresher getting ready for a great training and taking care of other business. New this year was the creation of two exciting projects. 1. A totally new interactive website for the public and our volunteers, led by Patty Andersen and Rick Villela. 2. A new interpretive program led by Robin Roberts and assisted by Patti Hudson.
If you are reading my message now, you found our new website. Please look through all the pages but be aware that this website is an ever evolving creation that will never be finished because the Board and down the road, all the volunteers, can contribute to it. Please remember to keep the password to the volunteer section of this site private.
The interpretive program is gaining traction. If you look at the calendar link above the ranger blog link you can see the events on the calendar. Robin has been busy interacting with community experts and agency staff on the natural gems of our forest to set up great programs and trainings. Patti is busy scheduling Leave No Trace training for both the public and our volunteers. Patti is the LNT coordinator.
When I think back about the last 19 years I have been with the FSVA I am amazed at how many volunteers lives has been changed by our group being in the community. Many of us have met new friends that would not have been without the FSVA. And think of some of the public interactions where we have made a difference in the future of a person's hour, a day or even longer just because we were out there being rangers. Norma and I would not live in Fern Valley if not for the FSVA. Consider the great feeling we all have everytime we finish a patrol or project involving the FSVA. Our group has reached out into so many parts of the people and natural resources of the San Jacinto Ranger District. When you think about it, how exciting!
I know Rick Wilkerson and the assitant coordinators Ron Krull and Patti Hudson will present a great refresher training for us with the help of Equestrian Coordinator and Treasurer, Chip Hurn and Parade and VP, Karleen Esparza. I thank Andy Smith FS liaison, for all the guidance and support he provides us. He is an important part of our refresher training.
Jana Desrocher, Secretary of the Board and Book Store manager has been busy with the store and has been able to send a large donation to the Wildland Firefirghter Foundation from the sale of John Maclean's book at our book store. The book is about Esparanza Fire and the passing in life of five of our own beloved firefighters. Did you know volunteers get a discount at the bookstore? About time for some great reading!
I welcome our two new board members on the board, Joe Bressi and Patty Andersen. I want to Thank Denise Edmiston, former Treasurer for many years. John Edmiston and Denise moved to Texas to be close to family. You are missed. Thank you, Chip, for taking over.
Talk about trees down on the trail! Well. Steve Schwitters and the Cross Cut Saw team stayed on top of them during the winter.
Know some equestrians that might want to volunteer. Chip and Karleen are looking for more volunteers for parade and patrol.
Of course I would not want to be President of the group if not for the involvement of all the great volunteers who schedule time and efforts to come up and spend time helping the public and protecting the resources of our great Idyllwild Ranger District. It is all of you along with those mentioned above that make us all excited to be part of the FSVA. The US Forest Service is very thankful to all of you for what you do.
See you next week and out on the trail. Thank you,
Bob Romano, President, FSVA