Wendy Dreskin has shared her love of nature with children in Marin County for more than four decades both in her professional life and as a volunteer. She has taught in- school or after-school nature classes in many venues including the Louise Boyd Museum and the Terwilliger Nature Education Center which later became WildCare, town recreation departments, and public, private, and parochial schools. She has taught Nature classes at the Odyssey program for gifted students, and worked with children with special needs. Children in many schools from Marin, San Francisco, and Sonoma Counties have enjoyed class field trips with her to Marin's natural areas.
In 1998 Wendy began teaching at College of Marin in the Community Education program. Her popular adult class, "Meandering in Marin", is a series of nature hikes that meets on Mondays and Tuesdays for five sessions a year. Students learn on the trail as they examine mushrooms and lichens, spot birds and butterflies, enjoy the spring wildflowers, and take Wendy's advice to "always take time to stop and smell the California Sage."
When Wendy served as Education Chair for the Marin Chapter of the California Native Plant Society she started the Junior Botanist program. She volunteers her time to make this program free to schools in Marin. The program, which teaches children about their native trees, ferns, flowers, and grasses, has reached more than four thousand children over the past two decades. Wendy also collaborated with the Richardson Bay Audubon Center in creating a Junior Bird Watcher Program modeled on the Junior Botanist Program.
Since 2005 Wendy has coordinated the Marin Butterfly Count for the North American Butterfly Association. Other volunteer activities have included participating in the Mt Tamalpais Bioblitz which collected specimens of plants for the California Academy of Sciences, Point Reyes Rare-Plant-A-Thons, and leading a children's group every year for the Point Reyes Christmas Bird Count for Kids.
Wendy has led walks for Friends of Olompali (Olompali State Park support organization), California Native Plant Society, Friends of Corte Madera Creek, Marin Audubon, the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin, Point Reyes Seashore Association, Marin Municipal Water District, Marin County Open Space District, and other groups on a variety of topics including native wildflowers, tidepools, butterflies, migratory birds, and Native American uses of plants.
Wendy especially enjoys introducing people to areas she loves. She has led trips to Santa Cruz, San Benito, and Monterey Counties. Wendy introduced hikers from around the country to Marin's wonderful hiking trails through Elderhostel (now Road Scholar). In 2012 Wendy fell in love with Tanzania, and she now leads annual safaris. The 2017 safari introduced Branson high school students to the wonders of the Serengeti and other national parks. The 2018 trip included the option of volunteering at Zariki School for a week after the safari, and the eight people who added this extension found it a deeply meaningful experience.
In 2017 Wendy began to share her enthusiasm for Marin's trails by writing a semi-monthly hiking column for the Marin Independent Journal. Like the hikes she leads, the suggested walks are based on the best time of year to do each hike and she gives pointers on what plants, birds, and animals to look for along the way. She is also a contributor to Bay Nature Magazine.
For her work inspiring both children and adults, Wendy received the Third Annual Terwilliger Environmental Award and the Johns Hopkins University Institute for the Academic Advancement of Youth Teacher Recognition Award. In 2018 she was inducted into the Marin Women's Hall of Fame.