Dana Ellingson, December Volunteer of the Month

Interviewed by Laura Kindsvater, Stewardship & Outreach Intern

About Dana

How long have you lived in the Bay Area?

I’ve lived in the Bay Area since 1959, when my family moved here from St. Louis.

How did you learn about Save Mount Diablo?

I don’t remember how I heard about SMD. It must have been in the newspaper or on the Internet.

What did you do before you volunteered for us?

Before joining SMD, I worked for the post office delivering mail in Crockett, then Concord for 20 years. I retired early due to some foot problems, then delivered newspapers to make ends meet. You see many interesting critters at 3 a.m. driving around Martinez.

How long have you been volunteering with us?

I joined SMD as a DiRT member about six years ago.

Why did you decide to join our team?

I joined because it was similar to what I did as a kid in Clayton when my brother Pete and I spent many happy hours exploring our local creek, monitoring the tadpole population, throwing buckeyes at each other, and playing Frisbee with cowpies. I guess planting natives, weeding, and watering are more adult versions of that fun.

About Dana’s Work

Which program(s) are you affiliated with? (DiRT, IPM, Trail Dogs, Property Steward, etc)? What does your volunteer work consist of?

I’m a proud member of the DiRT team, where we do planting, weeding, watering, and a few other tasks. The most satisfying thing for me is revisiting planting sites and seeing that some of our plants are thriving.

What is the hardest project you’ve worked on while volunteering?

The hardest project was making a barrier to keep cows out of a spring on Mangini Ranch in the mud. The mud was just the right consistency to suck the shoes off our feet. We got a little dirtier than usual that day and I never found out if the barrier worked. (Editor’s note: There is indeed a barrier that’s around that spring to this day, and it’s keeping the cows out. So thanks, Dana!)

What is one of your favorite memories volunteering with us?

The part that’s the most fun is hanging out with the other SMD volunteers who are all interesting and convivial folks.