The City of Poway has hundreds of volunteers who actively make a difference in our community. During April, a month that is traditionally focused on celebrating volunteerism, we’re highlighting a pair of volunteers who have a combined 25 years of service to the city.
One is a retired aerospace engineer and the other is a watercolor and gourd artist. Their volunteer roles vary as much as their backgrounds, but a common thread is their passion for educating the next generation.
Bob Kiang, Blue Sky Ecological Reserve Docent
Bob Kiang’s love of nature led him to discover the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve soon after he moved to the area. The retired aerospace engineer soon signed up for docent training and has been an enthusiastic volunteer and fan of this “quiet oasis” ever since.
“I treasure the opportunity to educate the next generation about the environment, conservation and various scientific topics, such as photosynthesis,” Bob said.
He often works with school children and one of his favorite moments came when he tried to stump a group of elementary students by asking if anyone knew what is the oldest living organism in North America:
“To my surprise, one student actually gave the right answer – the bristle pine cone.”
Bob joined the Friends of the Blue Sky board in 2012 and is currently the organization’s president. Friends of Blue Sky raises funds to introduce nature, conservation and other related subjects to children through school tours and events like the Solar Walk and Stargazing event on May 6.
Sandee Horan, Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center Docent
Sandee Horan has always been fascinated by the history and culture of Native Americans, so it was no surprise that she fell in love with the Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center (KIIC) when introduced to it fifteen years ago.
The center gives visitors an up-close look at a Native American archaeological site and was founded by a partnership with the Friends of the Kumeyaay, the San Pasqual Band of Indians and the City of Poway.
“People can’t believe that in the heart of our little city we have an actual Native American site, possibly as old as 10,000 years,” Sandee said.
In addition to being a mother of five grown boys and former preschool teacher, Sandee is a watercolor and gourd artist. Her creativity and nurturing instincts make her a natural for leading school tours, which bring history to life for third-graders learning about Native Americans.
“I love working with the third graders,” Sandee said. “They really enjoy the discoveries of the site.”
She and her husband, Mike, also lead tours on the Saturdays when the KIIC is open to the public. (View the hours here.)