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RiverWatch January: 2023 Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast - SUCCESS!

2023 Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast was a huge success!

On Saturday, January 21st, 2023, 46 volunteers, staff, board members and loved ones gathered to celebrate one another and our collective mission to preserving the San Diego River at 18th annual Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast. The breakfast, location and giveaway bags were sponsored by David and Christina Burnett and the Lakeside Boll Weevil owned by Victor Tongco. The festivities featured an all-you can-eat buffet breakfast, friendship, and an amazing assortment of raffle prizes!

Our Field Superintendent, Robert Doty lead us off with a warm welcome and introduced Julie Turko, our Assistant Executive Director. Julie updated us on our 2023 theme, Who Goes There? and invited everyone to offer input and volunteer time gathering data and installing cameras. This program will give us a much needed look into the vast array of critters that now call the Lakeside River Bottom their home.

Our Executive Director, Robin Rierdan, spoke kindly of two amazing women – Joan Burnett, who founded our volunteer appreciation efforts, and our beloved Betty McMillen, whom we lost last year. Her complete love and dedication to our townfolk will be sorely missed.

The Science Field Station has FINALLY broken ground! We are so excited to see the progress daily. We're getting there!!!

Each and every volunteer is a valued contributor to the River Park and our mission. We couldn’t achieve what we do without their hard work, dedication, and talent. Each year we spotlight those who regularly go above and beyond the call of duty and present them with a special award. Each recipient received a commemorative tile depicting a gorgeous photograph from our San Diego River.

Scoop McMillen Award - Kathy & Earl Chenowth

Joan Burnett Inspirational Award - Ann Gilbert

LRPC Volunteer of the Year - Audrey Baker & Chris Trudo

All our raffle prizes were donated by our local Lakeside businesses:

Raffle Donor Raffle Gift Raffle Winner

Payton’s Hardware Cast Iron Dutch Oven Esther Morel

Café 67 2 Free Breakfast/Lunch Entrees Jim Renzi

Deli Belly $20 Gift Certificate Sherri Doty

La Palapa $20 Gift Certificate Terry Thompson

Granite Lion Cellars Wine Tasting for 4 Audrey Baker

Reflections $55 Gift Certificate Jan Charvat

Each volunteer received a beautiful bag that can be used for shopping, knitting, gardening or a million other things, as well as a Volunteer Appreciation magnet that they can use to showcase their dedication Lakeside’s River Park. We hope that volunteers will display them with pride as we could not do what we do for the San Diego River without their dedication. The magnets were designed by Ashley Wakeland.

And of course we can’t thank Victor and the staff at Lakeside’s Boll Weevil for their amazing donation of their time, food and location! To come in early and prepare such a feast for us all and to do it with such grace and kindness touched all our hearts.

Thank you Victor, Boll Weevil and all the staff!

Thank you to all who attended and congratulations to our award and raffle winners! We are looking forward to the year to come and all of the wonderful things that will be accomplished with the help of our volunteers!


Lakeside's River Park Conservancy is a non-profit organization founded in 2001 dedicated to preserving and restoring the biological integrity and beauty of the San Diego River while integrating recreational, educational and cultural opportunities to the community.

To learn about Lakeside's River Park Conservancy's volunteer programs please visit or For more information, please email us at

A 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization Federal Tax ID 91-2156461

12108 Industry Road, Lakeside, CA 92040


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