Park Ranger Steve Perez present the Hampsons with a plaque for their years of volunteering at the idyiiwiid Nature Center. Photo by Sally Hedberg

On the morning of July 3, Susie and Richard Hampson were recognized for their years of volunteering at the Idyllwild Nature Center. The recognition occurred during the unveiling of “The Birds of Idyllwild Nature Center” interpretive panel.
This panel, sponsored by the Friends of Mt. San Jacinto County Parks and designed by Janet McAlpine, is dedicated to the Hampsons. Park Ranger Steve Perez presented the couple with a plaque for their dedication to the Nature Center and their love of birds. The interpretive panel is installed on the birding deck at the center.
The Hampsons moved to the hill from Orange City in 2001, after years of camping and hiking trips to Idyllwild. Like so many, they fell in love with the beauty and small community feeling. They had always like birds, but didn’t pay much attention to them until they became infatuated with identifying the birds of Idyllwild.
They both admit it takes lots of practice to spot the birds. Susie whipped out her s “Sibley Guide to Birds,” where she keeps records of their sightings’ — 353 birds to date. The key is, “A good pair of binoculars and taking the time to stroll and look around your surroundings,” explained Susie.
The Hampsons have been volunteering since their arrival 18 years ago. Their duties at the Nature Center consist of almost anything and everything that needs to be done.
Richard prides himself on keeping the windows, doors or anything to do with glass clean.
Susie works with school groups, and leads birding hikes.
They greet and answer visitors’ questions, are always involved in the Nature Center events, and just recently, started collecting wild flowers for the Wildflower show and doing children’s crafts at the Lemon Lily Restoration Day.
This couple also volunteers at the Idyllwild Library and are very involved with the ldyllwild Bible Church.
The Hampsons believe there are tremendous benefits to volunteering. They stated they are able to experience, “The joy one gets from sharing the knowledge and appreciation of God’s creation with people you meet.”
The Idyliwild Nature Center is located at 25225 Highway 243, ldyllwild, and is open from 9 a.m- 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Nature Center is closed Mondays, Tuesdays and all major holidays.