Volunteer Spotlight: Don Feil

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Don volunteers in the SYRCL office in many different capacities and has volunteered for the Wild & Scenic Film Festival multiples times. Besides being a dedicated SYRCL member and volunteer, Don is also part of the Owner Volunteer Program at BriarPatch Co-op, a program which helps build capacity at a number of nonprofit organizations in our community.

“Don built a ramp at the National Hotel for the Wild & Scenic Film Festival this year. He was attentive, listened to what we needed and took the initiative. He enlisted a carpenter friend to help build the ramp and then they installed it the weekend before the festival. They did such a great job that the National wanted to keep it!” – Stephanie Romanella, WSFF Coordinator

“SYRCL is lucky to have Don’s assistance! Whatever the need, whether it be postering, carpentry, data entry, or event preparation, Don is always willing to help!” – Jen Tamo, River People Manager


SYRCL: Tell us a bit about yourself.

Don: My career was somewhat unorthodox working as a deck officer on adventure cruise ships and expedition yachts. I have had the good fortune of cruising every ocean and visiting all continents, including Antarctica. I retired two years ago and live with my wife, Hilary, in Grass Valley.

SYRCL: What is your involvement with SYRCL, and why do you take the time to give to this organization?

Don: I volunteer in any capacity needed, including computer work, delivering event flyers to local businesses, and helping with logistics support at the river clean up and film festival. I enjoy hiking the trails and swimming regularly in the South Yuba and volunteering is a way of saying thank you to the thousands of employees and volunteers who worked diligently over the past four decades to keep the river pristine and protected from development.

SYRCL: What is your favorite river activity and favorite river spot?

Don: From early June through mid-October my wife and I make weekly treks to one of the many pocket beaches and wonderful swimming holes for a time out from civilization.

SYRCL: What would you say to someone about the importance and advantages of being a SYRCL member?

Don: Our community is the heart of western Nevada County and the South Yuba River is the soul. Few people realize how special and rare is the designation of Wild and Scenic. Only about one-quarter of one percent of our nation’s rivers are protected while approximately seventeen percent have been dammed. Citizen advocacy groups like SYRCL are essential to ensure that status remains intact and the river remains protected forever.

SYRCL: If you had one wish for the Yuba, what would it be?

Don: I hope I live to experience the thrill of swimming in the South Yuba and watching a Chinook salmon swimming upstream beneath me.

Thanks to Don for all he does for SYRCL and the Yuba!

Don is a proud SYRCL member and volunteer. We invite you to join Don and thousands of other amazing River People by becoming a member and/or volunteer today. To find out more about becoming a member, visit our membership page or contact Julie at [email protected] or 530-265-5961 ext. 220. We have many opportunities to volunteer, to find out more, visit our volunteer page or contact Jenn at [email protected] or 530-265-5961 ext. 201.

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