By Leslie Perkins
I am honored to step into the role of executive director for the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation after Jay Wilson retired in August, after serving the foundation since 2009. His dedication and hard work are very much appreciated by all.
While many people may know the park well, the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation’s story may not be as well known. What role does the foundation play?
The Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation was formed in 1988 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public benefit corporation to foster and promote public patronage and community support for Mission Trails Regional Park. It operates in partnership with the city of San Diego, to preserve and protect the natural environment of Mission Trails Regional Park while providing educational and recreational programs for the public to enjoy. Building the park’s Visitor and Interpretive Center was the first joint endeavor for this partnership, and the foundation continues today to manage the museum exhibits and gift shop, which highlight the park’s characteristics and rich history.
Key work by the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation includes raising individual donations, special grant funds, and partnerships, to fund specific projects within the park such as habitat restoration and interpretive exhibits. It also generates promotional materials, and hosts the tree planting, amateur photo contest, volunteer recognition, and art and concert programs. We are especially excited about our outdoor environmental education program for school students and organized youth groups, funded through generous support by San Diego Gas & Electric. Half-day and overnight camping field trips provide up-close learning through guided hikes and interactive presentations, along with curriculum about the San Diego River and watershed, animal species, open space habitats, and Kumeyaay storytelling. Much-needed bus transportation funding for students to travel to Mission Trails is also provided by the foundation. We want to give kids from across San Diego an exciting opportunity to experience firsthand this beautiful park!
Longtime community members Michael R. Pent, Jean Hatton, and Dorothy Leonard were the founding members of the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation. The current board of directors is made up of dedicated people who care deeply about Mission Trails Regional Park – President Joe Morse (who has helped the park since 1978), Vice President Nancy Acevedo (who has helped the park for decades), and Secretary/Treasurer Dorothy Leonard (who has helped the park since 1974), Beth Bruton, Bruce Folkmann, Ruth Gautereaux, B. Lane MacKenzie, Neil Mohr, J. Carlton Morse II, Betty Ogilvie, and Alan Ziegaus.
The board of directors recently voted in its three newest board members:
- Ruth Gautereaux is a proud native San Diegan. Her knowledge and background is in anthropology and museum education, which is a great resource to the park. Prior to serving on the board, she was professionally affiliated with Mission Trails Regional Park. Now enjoying her retirement, she regularly travels and volunteers in the Visitor Center.
- Bruce Folkmann is vice president, controller and chief financial officer for San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Gas Company. His expertise in financial planning, budgeting, and financial reporting is a tremendous asset to the foundation. He is an avid outdoors enthusiast and active user of Mission Trails Regional Park, who wants to see it continue to flourish.
- Lane MacKenzie recently retired from 30 years of service with the city of San Diego’s Real Estate Department. As Asset Manager overseeing real estate acquisitions for public projects and environmental preservation, he is proud to have been responsible for most of the land purchases that compromise Mission Trails Regional Park. His background also includes working with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Park Service.
Board members provide leadership and make recommendations based on their unique backgrounds and perspectives. From oversight of policies and budget management, to program and project development, along with fundraising outreach, the foundation greatly appreciates its hardworking board of directors who support the park through their time and talents. If you would like more information on how you can help the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation, please contact me at 619-582-4502 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope to see you at the park soon!
—Leslie Perkins is executive director of the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation.