On a recent rainy Thursday morning, a crew of Corpsmembers working at MLK Jr. Regional Shoreline Park welcomed a special visitor. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf stopped by! She chatted with East Bay Regional Park District staff, Civicorps Supervisors and Corpsmembers, observed their project site, and imparted a little wisdom.
The famously Oakland-born-and-raised Mayor asked questions about our work (fuel load reduction and brush clearing), commented on the importance of wildfire mitigation (last week marked the 30th anniversary of the Oakland Hills Fire, which destroyed 3,400 homes including her father’s) and welcomed questions in turn. One Corpsmember asked her how she got her start in politics (through volunteering and community service, said the former Girl Scout and AmeriCorps Project YES alum). Another asked her a surprising (albeit very important) personal question: does she get enough sleep? The answer: no, but the Mayor took the opportunity posed by this query to discuss the virtues of self-care.
Women Who Wield Chainsaws
We were proud to introduce the Mayor to our fabulous Conservation Supervisors Jeff Chilcott and Ryan Waters, and to our amazing Corpsmembers: Crew Leader Anthony Silva, Dennis Turner, Erica Bradley and Josiah Crochet. Mayor Schaaf was especially impressed with the women on the crew, Crew Leader Martha Alva Velasquez and Nicole Smith, both of whom flexxed their chainsaw skills (the Mayor wanted to be sure she stood next to a chainsaw-wielding woman in the group photo!) And we were very happy to demonstrate the conservation work we do to keep Oakland safe and beautiful. In fact, we work around the greater East Bay to engage young people through paid job training on critical conservation projects.
Mayor Schaaf, we welcome you to visit any of our projects anytime (though we can’t let you use a chainsaw without proper training and PPE.) See you at the next project site!
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