Last year presented its fair share of twists of turns, but there was one thing we could count on through the hardest of times — our volunteers. In spite of temporary closures, the cancellation of major public events, and limitations on other programs, 188 dedicated Balboa Park Conservancy volunteers contributed 8,666 hours of service in 2020.

More than 4,800 of those hours came from Visitors Center volunteers and Park Ambassadors. Following CDC guidelines, they safely greeted and assisted park visitors during a time when so many San Diegans turned to Balboa Park and its many natural outdoor spaces and amenities for a respite and place to exercise and recharge outside of their homes.

We are also very grateful for the 29 Tree Stewards who continued to help the city’s Parks and Recreation department tend to and monitor the hundreds of new trees planted over the past few years.

Perhaps the biggest piece of volunteer-related news for 2020 is that we welcomed the city’s corps of 80 Rose Garden volunteers into our ranks. They along with our new corps of Garden Stewards spent more than 1,700 hours helping to maintain the Rose Garden and other public gardens in the park during 2020.

During our recent Volunteer Appreciation Event, we celebrated the individual achievements and key milestones of many volunteers.

Volunteers reaching significant anniversary milestones this past year are as follows:

40 Years(!)
Sue Streeper (Rose Garden Corps) — see recent profile article on Sue Streeper

20 Years
Roma Coleman (Visitors Center)
Glenn Rossman (Visitors Center and Trustee)

15 Years
Dixie Blake (Rose Garden Corps)
Pam Cawthorn (Rose Garden Corps)
Bob Kolb (Rose Garden Corps)
Augie Troncale (Rose Garden Corps)

10 Years
Diana Blanks (Visitors Center)
Sonja Glassman (Rose Garden Corps)
Bobbi Hardiman (Visitors Center)
Virginia Hatt (Rose Garden Corps)
Marilyn Ornelas (Rose Garden Corps)
Ken Polesky (Rose Garden Corps)
Don Spangler (Visitors Center)

5 years
Joanne Bryan (Visitors Center)
Priscilla Cragin (Visitors Center)
Kathy Hunyor (Rose Garden Corps)
Barney Malesky (Visitors Center)
Jackie Mlekoday (Rose Garden Corps)
Rosalie Nang (Rose Garden Corps)
Lynda Oldenburg (Visitors Center)
Ron Oliver (Visitors Center & Tour Guide)
Yvonne Wultz (Visitors Center)

Other volunteers led the way by putting in the most hours in 2020:

Visitors Center Volunteers
Priscilla Cragin: 347 hours
Jean Stein: 238 hours
Mary Falwell: 205 hours
Joy Wolf: 157 hours
Shelley Holmes: 134 hours

Rose Garden Volunteers
Sandy Wright: 269 hours
Pam Cawthorn: 98 hours
Richard Willis: 98 hours
Susan Walker: 97 hours
Bob Kolb: 93 hours

Garden Volunteers
Brian Cleaver: 125 hours
Judy Anderson: 40 hours
Ben Grunbaum: 31 hours
Max Stromberger: 15 hours
Mimi Clark: 12 hours

Tree Stewards
David Lubs: 23 hours
Rick Manley: 23 hours
Bobbie Xuereb: 21 hours
Kevin Greco: 17 hours
Saundra Holloway: 17 hours

Park Ambassadors
David Lubs: 23 hours
Rick Manley: 23 hours
Bobbie Xuereb: 21 hours
Kevin Greco: 17 hours
Saundra Holloway: 17 hours

The Balboa Park Conservancy’s ability to enhance the visitor experience and improve park accessibility through our volunteer initiatives is made possible with generous support from our Conservator’s Circle donors and members and funding from:

Art Pratt Foundation of Old Mission Rotary
County of San Diego, Community Enhancement Program
David C. Copley Foundation
Jewish Family Service
The San Diego Foundation: The Weekes Balboa Park Fund

If you’d like to learn more about volunteer opportunities at the Balboa Park Conservancy, please visit the Volunteer page.