Thank you for helping us celebrate 25 years of inspiring people to care for, learn about and enjoy parks. On a sunny afternoon under the redwoods in Huddart Park, we loved the chance to celebrate this milestone with old and new friends. We also celebrated some of our wonderful partners who are building bridges between people and parks – Friends of Edgewood, the San Mateo County Parks’ Interpretive Division, and Rafael Avendaño. All was made possible by a group of generous corporate and individual sponsors.
Enjoy some photos from the day and thank you for 25 years of support!
Meet our Honorees
Friends of Edgewood
Friends of Edgewood has been caring for Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve since 1993. Thirty years ago, Edgewood was designated a Natural Preserve precisely because this group of individuals recognized the importance of Edgewood’s extraordinary biodiversity and fought to see that it be protected and appreciated forever. Today, the many ways Friends of Edgewood cares for this special place can be seen in the grasslands where the Weed Warriors turn out to pull out invasive species every week, or at Edgewood Farms, where native wildflowers are grown to create more seeds for habitat restoration, or in the lovingly tended Native Garden. Friends of Edgewood shares their enthusiasm and respect for nature with hundreds of visitors each year who join a free wildflower hike led by an expert docent or visit the Bill and Jean Lane Education Center, staffed by warm and friendly volunteer hosts.
In fact, Friends of Edgewood volunteers run 40 different programs in habitat restoration, wildlife stewardship, nature education, and interpretation. Last year alone, they dedicated over 13,000 hours of volunteer time to caring for Edgewood. Friends of Edgewood members are also incredibly generous; they have raised more than $1.2 million dollars of support to protect this very special jewel in the Emerald Hills of San Mateo County.
San Mateo County Parks’ Interpretive Division works to ensure our parks are welcoming to all. Visitors are invited to learn about the natural, cultural and recreational resources of the parks by a dedicated park ranger team – Katherine Wright, Lauren Ford-Peterson, and Tracy Nappi. Whether organizing hikes and events in the parks or bringing the parks to the people by showing up in classrooms and libraries, SMC Parks’ Interpretive Team is doing amazing work. They encourage you to connect with parks in new ways and leave you wanting to know more.
Rafael Avendaño is a big believer in the power of parks. Among the many things he does to build strong communities is his unwavering dedication to connecting kids to parks. From organizing bike rodeos at Flood Park to camping at Memorial Park, Rafael is planting seeds of enjoyment that will last a lifetime. He is actively nurturing the next generation of conservation-minded volunteers!
Rafael has over a decade of experience in nonprofit management and has served on councils and boards for the past 8 years. As the Executive Director of Redwood City Together, Rafael is leading a common community agenda to best support schools and the overall Redwood City and North Fair Oaks communities. Rafael believes that with the support of the community, youth, and local government, families can achieve their dreams. Rafael’s drive, unique teaching ability, and belief in the power of mentorship have helped him inspire children and adults to find the confidence they need to succeed in life.
In his free time, Rafael loves to spend time with family, go to church, and volunteer in the Redwood City and North Fair Oaks communities as a board member of the St. Francis Center and Redwood City Child Development Program. Rafael also loves spending time exercising or coaching outdoor cycling at parks and youth and adult strength training at local community gyms.