October 24, 2014

Topanga Docents Honor Lynn Haigh Before Her Move to Colorado

 

PHOTO BY RUTH TOSDEVIN

Topanga Docents Honor Lynn Haigh Before Her Move to Colorado

Lynne Haigh, right, with her daughter Heather DeCaluwe.

On June 1, the Topanga Canyon Docents (TCD) held their annual meeting and picnic at Trippet Ranch, Topanga State Park, honoring Lynne Haigh, who has been its president for more than nine years. Lynne helped guide the group during the many years of the State Park’s general planning process, during which time the Board of Directors paid particular attention to the renovation plans for the Trippet Ranch historic zone and the beloved Nature Center housed in the old Skeet Lodge.

In 2008, she, along with Paul Rathje and Lucinda Mittleman, co-founded “Save Topanga State Park.Org,” along with other activists who spearheaded the drive to save the park from the potential threat of closure.

Mittleman will be stepping into the leadership role as president during the next year. Also joining the Board will be longtime docent and Professor Emeritus of Botany at SMC, Doug Allan; recent trainee, Wakako Rollinger, and Peter Rice, master interpreter of native artifacts. The Topanga Canyon Docents are devoted volunteers who educate the public about the remarkable flora and fauna of Topanga State Park. Every Sunday, between January and June, the TCD leads nature walks from Trippet Ranch. They provide outdoor education to hundreds of public school children, even providing bus transportation for Title lX schools.

Through continuing education, yearly autumn trainings and lectures by experts in field ecology, the docents both volunteer and enjoy intensive outdoor workshops in natural science. The TCD membership has grown stronger as interest in our natural and cultural history has increased. Their mission continues forward, thanks to its many volunteers.

Lynne was accompanied by her daughter, Heather DeCaluwe and grandson, Bryson, at the celebration and annual election. For many, it was an opportunity to say goodbye to a longtime resident who has always been an active member of the Topanga community, along with her late husband Gerry Haigh. Lynne plans to relocate to Golden, Colorado later this summer to be near her daughter’s family.

There were many warm exchanges as the TCD welcomed new members while saying goodbye to Lynne and Gene Cheltenham, another seminal member of the docent group for the last 16 years. Gene will continue to lead Sunday walks once a month, while Lynne will likely make waves in her new community. It is difficult to imagine her sitting still as she now will have the Rocky Mountains to explore. The TCD will miss Lynne's presence in Topanga Canyon but will look forward to her future visits and news from Colorado. Cheers on your new chosen direction, Lynne!