Volunteers of the Month: Marissa Dolotallas and Chris Scerri (May, 2022)

May 31, 2022

1) How did they discover EBC?
Marissa has always had a love of nature, exploring new trails and finding hidden gems. It was through her own research, she discovered us, what we did and why along with our many wilderness preserves and trails to explore. Chris learned about EBC from Marissa. They were exploring the Grey/Bruce and Marissa mentioned how EBC was looking after certain parcels of land. Later, they found out that EBC had acquired a portion of their favourite local spots, The Trout Hollow Trail and decided it was time to get involved.
2) Why do they volunteer with EBC?
The Meaford connection with the Trout Hollow Trail sparked both their interests. Marissa first learned of this trail, shortly after moving to Meaford when she joined a guided hike organized by the museum - and led by Robert Burcher. Chris and Marissa connected with Robert and chatted about the trail, its current status and ideas on how they could work together to honour and carry on what the Knight family started - and here we are today!
3) What voluntary activities do they do to help EBC?
Working closely with Robert Burcher, Chris and Marissa, are reinvigorating the efforts of the Bighead River Heritage Association, namely the care and protection of the Trout Hollow Trail. To start, they built temporary boardwalks through mud and flood zones to mitigate a flood zone at one of the trail's entry points. For the long term, an overall trail assessment will determine priorities and the next steps of trail management and stewardship - to promote its history and protect its beauty - with the help of an amazing group of volunteers!
4) What is their educational/career background?
Early on, Marissa was drawn to nature and doing her part to “save the world”. She launched a printer cartridge recycling business with an environmental education component - and over 60 schools participated in the program. After graduating with a business and marketing degree, she worked closely with small businesses and startups. But her love of the outdoors started to knock a little louder - and merged the two by becoming a certified instructor in SUP, sea kayaking, yoga, and as a Hike Leader with Hike Ontario. She has always enjoyed volunteering and the camaraderie with like-minded passionate people, i.e. organizing community events, fundraising, photography, Masks for Meaford, Yoga in the Park by donation to the food bank etc. Currently, Marissa is Chair of Friends of Memorial Park and Chair of the first-ever Parks Advisory Committee for the Municipality of Meaford.
When not building trails, you’ll find her giving SUP or sea kayaking lessons on Georgian Bay, hosting women’s yoga adventure retreats, or guiding for Adventure Canada and Wild Women Expeditions!
Chris' career is in commercial sales and big box retail management. While working with Costco, he ran a nationwide community outreach program that had staff volunteer in local schools and use a special reading program to help kids improve their skills. As much as he loved these jobs, it might have spurred him to spend more time outdoors in search of fresh air and adventure. Chris has since become a certified Paddle Canada basic instructor and Level 2 guide, with an ORCA canoe certification. He loves nature and the outdoors and has hiked many trails and paddled lots of water. He likes fixing, building and problem-solving as well as connecting with people who share the same passions so volunteering for EBC was a perfect fit for him.
marissa and chris