By Joyce Fitzpatrick

Volunteering is a noble and rewarding experience, and those who do it make a difference in their communities and get the opportunity to learn new skills, all while meeting new and interesting people.  

RuthAnne Murthy is a great example of what makes a dedicated volunteer at the Department of Parks and Recreation, which is why she was chosen as the 2017 “Volunteer of the Year” by the Placerita Canyon Nature Center Associates’ Board of Directors. 

“RuthAnne is well-deserving of this wonderful honor, not only because of her commitment to Placerita Canyon Natural Area and Nature Center, but also for her dedication to her community,” said Regional Park Superintendent Russ Kimura. “We’re blessed to have RuthAnne as a member of our volunteer team, and we’re grateful for her continued service!”

Formally a third-grade school teacher for the Castaic Union School District,
RuthAnne started her docent training at Placerita Canyon Natural Area and Nature Center in 2014. Using those same skills of dedication, sharp focus and great organizational skills she learned while teaching, she applied them to her new position as a volunteer.

During her training, RuthAnne became very interested in learning about the native plants around Placerita Canyon and began learning as much as she could through research, asking experts and becoming familiar with all of the plants in the area.   

Wanting to share her new knowledge with Placerita Canyon Natural Area and Nature Center visitors, RuthAnne created a new program called, “Blooms of the Season,” which holds meetings among nature lovers every fourth Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at the park. This program helps the public learn about native plants that are about to bloom, or have already bloomed along the Placerita Canyon trails.

Desiring to keep her docents engaged, RuthAnne also created a support group called, “Docent Enrichment Training,” where docents discuss topics related to nature, share knowledge and explore new plants and environments.

RuthAnne will receive her official recognition at a special countywide ceremony at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center in September. Great job RuthAnne!