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American River Canyon has a true pal in Eric Peach

The Gift of Giving
By: Journal staff report
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Volunteer: Eric Peach Organization: Protect American River Canyons What does your organization do? Protect American River Canyons is dedicated to collaborating with the community to conserve and protect the natural, recreational, historical and cultural resources of the North and Middle forks of the American River for all to responsibly enjoy. PARC sponsors the annual American River Confluence Festival in the spring and Paddle Safety Day in the fall. We organize hikes, trail improvement projects, annual river clean-ups and educational programs on American River ecology. Why do you volunteer? I feel very fortunate to live along the American River, one of the most beautiful river watersheds in California. I enjoy creating opportunities for the community to learn more about the river and canyons and hopefully become more involved in the long-term stewardship and protection of the American River & Auburn State Recreation Area. It has so much to offer and we receive tremendous benefits from living so close. I think the public also experiences a great deal of personal satisfaction from recreating and sharing in the responsibility of taking good care of our American River. We could never have accomplished so much without their generous support of time and resources. Recent State Park’s budget problems highlight the need for the community to get more involved in volunteering for the Auburn State Recreation Area. What are your highlights or challenges to volunteering? Simply put sharing the scenic beauty, and diverse wild plants and animals found in the river and canyons with others are incredibly satisfying. People love to share their personal discoveries and experiences about connecting with nature. I consider it an honor to be a part of those moments. There is always something new and unique to discover like seeing a rare California Dogface Butterfly for the first time or encountering a family of river otters or seeing a great blue heron take flight or viewing, from a safe distance, a black bear and her cubs scampering along the river. All of us at PARC enjoy bringing the river into the community and guiding the community to the river. It’s a good feeling! What do you do when you are not volunteering? I enjoy hiking and backpacking in the Sierra Nevada mountains. My wife Paula and I are freelance ceramic art and environmental studies teachers at many of our area schools. We particularly enjoy art projects that involve interpretation of our local river ecology. We have Peach Ceramic Arts Studio at our home in Auburn where we teach classes, create clay sculptures and work on commissioned ceramic art projects. How can people volunteer their time or money? Join in the fun of exploring and protecting the American River by becoming a member of PARC, joining us on our canyon outings and getting involved in our river community service projects. Memberships and donations are our primary source of income. Visit our web site at parc-auburn.org for membership and donation information or contact us at (530) 885-8878, by e-mail at parc@jps.net, or by mail at P.O. Box 9312, Auburn, CA 95604.