Become an Ambassador for the Wissahickon
They are the docents of Wissahickon Valley Park. They know everything from its rich history, flora, fauna and geology, to how to find what you’re looking for and first aid. They are Friends of the Wissahickon’s Trail Ambassadors, and they serve an important role: As FOW’s eyes and ears on the ground, they help us to better serve the public and protect the park.
For those who love the outdoors, being a TA provides wonderful opportunities to have fun on a flexible schedule, make friends with common interests, learn a lot and even delve deeper into your own nature-related passions. TAs not only love the Wissahickon, they love talking to people about it through park tours, outreach events and guided hikes.
Kris Soffa has been a TA since 2014. She says seeing the park with someone who can interpret what you’re seeing helps it come alive. For example, it’s one thing to talk about erosion, but it means so much more when someone actually shows and explains it to you. A lifelong environmental activist, Kris says being a TA lets her enlighten people, not only about what needs to be done, but also that they can do a lot at the local level, which often inspires them to take action by becoming FOW members and volunteers themselves.
Kris especially enjoys the freedom to pursue and share her special interests and areas of expertise. A lover of cold weather activities, you can often find her leading hikes to help others discover the beauty of the winter woods. A butterfly and moth collector since childhood, she gives classes on the topic, which she finds is a great way to engage people in conservation and preserving native habitats.
For all Kris’ contagious enthusiasm, creativity and commitment to FOW’s mission in the park, she was the deserving recipient of our 2017 Trail Ambassador of the Year award.
Currently there are more than 80 active TAs, but we always welcome more. Every year, Ambassadors-in-Training participate in an eight-week training program where they learn how to patrol the park, lead hikes and run information tables, as well as getting first aid and CPR certification.
If this sounds like something for you, March 2 is the deadline to submit an application for the next training session, which begins March 28.