This month, we’re highlighting Karen Dabrusin, a long-time Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN) volunteer. Karen started volunteering 13 years ago with Point Reyes National Seashore. When not volunteering with SPAWN, she also works with Broom Service, a group of weed pullers in the San Geronimo Valley that are dedicated to eradicating invasive french and scotch broom.

Karen’s background is in vocational rehab. For over 25 years, she counseled disabled adults who wanted to work but couldn’t because of their disability and helped them find work they could do.

Why do you volunteer? (When I was talking to Karen, she was pulling up weeds by the nursery.)

Karen: Well, you’re in a beautiful place to start with. You’re making natural surroundings even more beautiful. I get into sort of a rhythm…I’m not doing anything else. I don’t think about all the stuff in the news when I’m doing this. It’s something that you can see and touch.

What brought you to nature?

Karen: When I retired, I had a little tiny garden and a little tiny house in Berkeley that I share with my husband. I started learning how to garden, but the garden is “postage-stamp” sized, so I was looking around for other gardening work, and I discovered that there are organizations that do habitat restoration. I work with a couple of groups in Berkeley too.

Why do you volunteer for SPAWN?

Karen: The whole mission of SPAWN is to save the salmon. In a world where there is such bad news and you feel helpless to make a difference… this work, well you can actually see the difference. It’s a tiny piece of the world where you can make a difference. There’s not a lot like that.

Why are coho salmon important to you?

Karen: Who would not want to save the salmon? I’m happy to help make their habitat healthier so they have a better chance of surviving.

Thank you for volunteering your time with us, Karen! By coming out to our headquarters and keeping invasive plants down, you are helping the coho salmon and their habitat.