Bidding farewell to an incredible naturalist, hard worker and a friend to many, was difficult. Iris Clearwater brought to Mountain Watch her extensive background in habitat restoration, native plant cultivation, invasive plant control, wildlife monitoring and her love of working with people. Her tenure here as our Stewardship Coordinator and Nursery Manager was WAY too short - as everyone will tell you who had the pleasure of working with her. Iris was most fulfilled when sharing her passion in a way that helped people see species and ecological processes around them in new ways. She's headed back East to be closer to her family.
There was a great farewell BBQ in her honor at the Mission Blue Nursery before her recent departure. It seemed like everyone was there to say goodbye and wish her the best. Paul Bouscal manned the barbecue, serving up grilled treats brought by guests. To say the least, there was a lot of eating and good conversation.
Lou, nursery volunteer and keeper of its demonstration garden, had nothing but good things to say about Iris. "Iris's style, demeanor, enthusiasm and overall joie de vivre werecontagious; she had us volunteers as well as our native plants dancing a merry tune. Her ability to bring in a variety of folks to work together on a project as well as her organizational skills are both exemplary... best of all, she's a hard worker herself!"
More glowing comments from stewardship volunteer Mary Beth also paint Iris as a wonderful leader. "Iris brought her energy and organization to us at a time when we sorely needed it. Her welcoming personal style and beautifully presented snack times increased our volunteer base so much that we may need more parking! She added some group socializing that turned out to be more fun than this particular introvert expected it to be and has made us a more cohesive group."
The parking area was certainly full at this farewell gathering - a tribute to Iris's contribution during her all-too-short stay with us at Mountain Watch. If you too would like to pay tribute to Iris and her contribution, please leave a comment below.