Volunteer Spotlight – Lucetta Swift

Lucetta Swift

Lucetta Swift, volunteering as a River Ambassador, 2013
Lucetta Swift, volunteering as a River Ambassador, 2013

We thank Lucetta for her countless hours supporting SYRCL through her volunteer efforts as a River Ambassador, weekly office support and helping at most events and always with the most cheerful smile and willingness to help with any task needed.  Thank you Lucetta for being a joy to work with and for devoting so much time and talent to further SYRCL’s mission!

What motivated you to volunteer for SYRCL?

I love the mountains and rivers and what better place to volunteer than with people who feel the same way.  I grew up in the Central Valley and our family summer vacations always included a few weeks in a remote area in the Sierra near Desolation Wilderness.  Hiking on huge granite formations, then resting on nearby boulders and listening to the sound of water as it rippled over cobbled streams were special times in my early life.

Before moving to Grass Valley three years ago, I lived in Truckee, volunteered and worked with the Truckee River Watershed Council.  I learned about our watersheds and the degradation from early mining and timber removal, water quality monitoring, meadow and creek restoration, and the role of education programs to inspire and sustain community activism.

There are many ways we can be of service in our communities, but the escalating threats to our ecosystems generate my deepest concern.  SYRCL felt like just the right place to be involved and further my interest in river science and watershed health.  As a strong advocate, SYRCL is responding to the most challenging issues in the Yuba River basin and being able to be a small part of this process continues to be fun and fulfilling.

In what ways do you volunteer for SYRCL and share a little bit about what you enjoy about your volunteering in each capacity?

My first experience as a volunteer with SYRCL was in the Foundry kitchen at a Wild and Scenic Film Festival.  It was wild in the kitchen on that Sunday and no time for scenic films, but I was totally hooked by the energy and commitment expressed by everyone.

Soon after the festival, I began volunteering with SYRCL on a weekly basis, showing up every Thursday afternoon and working on whatever tasks Miriam and the staff had planned for the volunteers of the day.  Each week we are greeted with welcoming smiles, unlimited patience and gratitude, and Miriam’s famous pumpkin cookies.

Last summer, I joined the River Ambassador Program and worked many weekend shifts on the Yuba at Bridgeport and 49 Crossing.  The heart of the program is meeting, greeting, educating and encouraging good stewardship on the river.  We hope our presence inspires visitors to develop good conservation practices, not only on the Yuba but wherever they may live or travel.  The Ambassador Program provides a way to enjoy time at the river in an interactive role with the public, while also connecting with other SYRCL volunteers.

What is your favorite place in the Yuba Watershed?

I’m drawn to the higher elevations of the Yuba River so I often choose Old Highway 40 when traveling to Donner Summit or Truckee, so I can stop at favorite spots along the way.  Closer to home, during the quiet of early summer mornings, I love swimming in the deep pools at Bridgeport.  I’m looking forward to finding new favorites on the Middle and North Forks.

What are some of your interests/passions?

I love leisure time with my two daughters and their families; winter storms, changing seasons, mountain meadows and conifer forests; walking, hiking, snowshoeing, and swimming; Pilates classes; classical music; research and the exploration of new topics and places; Asian cultures and the study of Buddhist philosophy and teachings.

Anything else that you would like to add?

SYRCL is an intelligent, competent and vibrant community with a youthful and hopeful spirit. The many projects and events throughout the year require hundreds of volunteers. From salmon to scenic films, pick your passion and get involved. There is a special place at SYRCL for everyone who wants to help the Yuba.

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