Villagers volunteer with Friends of the Forest
Wearing her signature large earrings, part of a collection of 100, Friends of the Forest volunteer Noreen Lisowski says she and husband Jan "love, love, love living in the Village."
They also share a love of volunteering with FOF, a group of dedicated people who keep our little portion of paradise even more special for both locals and tourists.
Recently, Noreen took over the Hospitality Committee Chairmanship and makes sure that members attending FOF meetings have a delectable treat or two. Or three!
She also was part of a team that produced two cookbooks sold exclusively at the Arizona National History Association (ANHA) gift shop at the Red Rock Ranger Station Visitor Information Center about a mile south of the Village of Oak Creek on Hwy. 179.
On a tasting day for the first cookbook, 160 copies flew out the door. It was so popular that the cookbook team produced "Second Helping," again with recipes submitted by members of FOF and ANHA.
Noreen also likes helping on the Visitor Information Committee.
These volunteers are the first smiling faces people see as they enter the Visitor Information Center.
They share valuable hiking, shopping and scenic drive information. "It is so gratifying when some of the people I've helped come back in to thank me for making their trip a success," Noreen said with a happy glow on her face.
Husband Jan burst into FOF with answering phones at the Ranger Station, working on trails (remember the old song lyrics "shoulder to shoulder and bolder and bolder - let's adapt that to boulder to boulder), being a docent at Palatki, driving to dispersed camping areas to warn visitors of the high danger of fire and helping schedule volunteers to sit at various roads when the forest closed - whew - I'm out of breath just typing that!
Driving to Fossil Springs with another volunteer to pick up the tons of trash left by careless campers and hikers is also on Jan's list.
Trying to keep that area pristine is an ongoing battle, and Jan plans to be on the winning side.
Dedication like this brought him the "New Volunteer of the Year" award in 2006 as well as several Certificates of Merit. A few months ago, he added Assistant Treasurer of FOF to his repertoire.
Currently, Jan is working part-time for the Forest Service but soon will be back full- time to the volunteer world because he says "this work thing is cutting in too much to my volunteer time."
If you want to make a difference, become involved with Friends of the Forest.
For more information, visit www.friendsoftheforestsedona.org or contact the Red Rock Ranger Station at 203-2900.
Susan Vitek is secretary of FOF and on the Publicity Committee.