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This month, we’re highlighting Jack Sherwood for our volunteer spotlight!

Jack has been volunteering with our Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN) native plant nursery for eight months. He moved to California from New Jersey three and a half years ago and has worked in the restaurant industry for over 20 years. In addition to being a dedicated SPAWN volunteer, Jack was kind enough to bring food from Jannah, a delicious Middle Eastern restaurant in San Francisco, for staff and nursery volunteers at a recent volunteer party!

What do you enjoy about volunteering here?
Jack: I like being outdoors, I have a lot of time, and I like learning about wildlife and native plants. It’s the perfect combination really! I enjoy the community of people and I feel that I’m giving something back to Marin county. I also enjoy having the opportunity and resources to learn, there are friendly people here who are willing to share their knowledge with you.

Have you always had an interest in native plants?
Jack: I’ve always had an interest in outdoor activities, and though I could identify animals, I never knew how to identify plants. But, when I moved out here to California, I became interested in Native Americans and the plants they used for food and medicinal purposes. I never realised how important native plants are until I moved, and volunteering with the nursery has helped enhance my understanding of how important native plants and animals are, not just for the environment, but for the community as well.

You’re interested in the history of Native Americans, what do you think they can teach us about restoration?
Jack: I always try to look at the big picture of preserving the outside, that’s why I would like to see the county do controlled burns, to bring back the native plants. I think what we need is a macro rather than a micro game-plan for the county and a large part of it would be going back to what Native Americans practiced through controlled burns. In Sonoma County people are so surprised that the native plants are coming back after the fires, but fire helps the large trees. It cuts out the underbrush and it brings back the native plants.

Would you encourage others to come volunteer?
Jack: I would, definitely. There are 260,000 people living in Marin and everyone has an investment in the county’s future. So many people who live here love animals, plants, and being outdoors but they just don’t know about this opportunity volunteer. People are often surprised that I volunteer, it’s so foreign to some people, but I think volunteering should be part of everybody’s life. It helps not just to heal the environment, but it helps heal yourself.

Thank you for volunteering your time with us, Jack! And thank you to Jannah for providing us with an amazing catered lunch!

Live in the Bay Area and want to volunteer with us? Email Audrey Fusco at audrey@spawnusa.org.