There are many volunteer opportunities at Quail Hollow that promote the natural and cultural qualities of the park. If you are interested in joining one of these volunteer teams, contact Park Interpreter Dan Lararus at Dan.Lazarus@santacruzcounty.us or 831-335-9348, or the county parks volunteer coordinator Margaret.Ingraham@santacruzcounty.us or 831-454-7927.
Many docent-led programs educate visitors, instilling an appreciation for the ecological value and abundant beauty of the park as well as its significant cultural history. Programs range from herp walks and star gazing to house tours and history hikes.
The Quail Hollow Trail Crew assists the County in developing and maintaining the 5 miles of hiking trails, which run through 15 diverse habitats. Crew leader, Al Keuter, began his volunteer service in 2003 and was later joined by other dedicated trail crew members. The trail crew meets weekly throughout the year.
Eradication of the non-native French Broom began in 2002 and follow-up maintenance has continued thanks to Linda Brodman (from CNPS Habitat Restoration Team) and Chuck Baughman. This long-term project has sites throughout the park and volunteers can join the bi-monthly Saturday work parties in the winter and spring months.
Nest Box Monitoring
The Nest Box Project was started in 2002 by the conservation arm of the Santa Cruz Bird Club, with the goals of providing nesting habitat for local cavity-nesting birds and gathering information about their breeding biology. The project’s founders initially focused on the Western Bluebird, whose numbers in the county were declining. To date, over 100 of these beautiful birds have fledged from park nest boxes. Using protocol from Columbia University volunteers monitor the species and the number of eggs, hatches, and fledges of each box. Some birding identification experience is necessary to join this monitoring program. (Visit Quail Hollow Ranch Nest Box Project for more information.)
Ranch House (Visitor Center) Staffing and Decoration
The ranch house, our Visitor Center, houses many interesting cultural and nature displays, but we depend on volunteer docents to keep it open. Today, it’s often closed 2 – 4 days a week and we’d like to open it to the public every day! The Quail Hollow Ranch House offers a step back in time to the 1950s when the Lane Family (owners and publishers of Sunset Magazine at the time) completely renovated the building. Upgrades to the house reflected the Sunset philosophy of the time. Volunteers help decorate the house/visitor center with holiday flair as well as assist with minor maintenance projects.
Thanks to the Monterey Bay Master Gardeners, a park garden has been installed to beautify the grounds around the historic ranch house. Volunteers help maintain the native and ornamental plants hoping to provide the same look that the house once had when it was a test garden for Sunset Magazine.
As funding becomes available, it is hoped that FQH will write grants, in cooperation with Santa Cruz County Parks, for the many natural and cultural history needs present in the park. Volunteers with grant writing abilities are needed to locate available grants as well as to assist in writing them.