Door County’s Ridges Sanctuary Volunteers Are the Backbone of Wisconsin’s Oldest Member-Based Nature Preserve

The Ridges Sanctuary, Wisconsin’s oldest member-based nature sanctuary, honored its invaluable volunteers at a reception Sunday, August 15.


The Ridges Sanctuary volunteers of the year, George Cobb, Julie Knox and Jane Whitney were presented with colorful birds, hand-crafted by Ridges’ volunteers.

The Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor has an extraordinary corps of volunteer workers, who in the past year have donated more than 3500 hours, doing everything from trail maintenance to stream monitoring, office work to invasive species control and a host of other tasks. Without these volunteers, The Ridges would need two full-time employees to take up the slack.

At the August 15 reception, The Ridges honored three people as Volunteers of the Year for their exceptional service. They are:

  • George Cobb, who co-leads The Ridges’ signature Saturday morning Discovery Bird Hikes, works weekly on the buildings and grounds with the Wednesday Crew, helps organize the annual Ridges’ Ride for Nature, helped initiate the annual golf outing and served for seven years on the Board of Directors, three of them as president. He continues to serve on the Development Committee and gives freely of his time wherever he’s needed.
  • Jane Whitney and Julie Knox have volunteered in virtually every capacity at The Ridges. They have worked on education programs, including the No Family Left Inside effort with the Door County YMCA and the McArdle Library and the science outreach program at Gibraltar School; on research, monitoring frogs and streams; on invasive species control, taking training to become certified herbicide applicators; in the Nature Center, where they welcome visitors; in the office, helping with mailings and program implementation; and in many other functions. They have dedicated themselves to The Ridges’ mission of land preservation, education and research and are always willing to take on new assignments.

In addition, the reception honored long-time volunteer David Sinnett for his many years as chair of the Wednesday Crew, which works weekly on building and grounds maintenance. David retired this year after managing the Wednesday Crew from its inception about 20 years ago.

The Ridges Sanctuary, founded in 1937, protects a rare landscape of boreal forest and wetlands in Baileys Harbor. It is Wisconsin’s most biodiverse landscape and is recognized by the U.S. Department of the Interior as a National Natural Landmark.

facebook-15 Become a fan of The Ridges on Facebook!

About The Author