David Berry has been a docent at Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park (SHP) since 2014.

He is a familiar face at most Hands on History events and Demonstration Days, and is a regular during Tour by Chocolate, Haunted Fort, and Candlelight Tours. He may even give you your own “land grant” along the Sacramento River if you run into him at Sutter’s Fort.

Read what David has to say about volunteering:

How did you get involved?

I blame Judy Prey (aka “The Coin Lady”). She was so welcoming and encouraging when we first met her on a visit to Sutter’s Fort. My wife and I had been looking for somewhere we could both volunteer and continue our many years of subversively teaching history while entertaining. This was it!

What’s your favorite part of volunteering?

I really enjoy meeting people from all over the world and flexing my improv to make visitor visits as enjoyable and memorable as possible.

What is it that you do in your role as a Sutter’s Fort volunteer?

Lots! I help herd parents from station to station during the Environmental Living Program and Environmental Studies Program days. I also spend time in the Clerk’s Office giving out free land grants and reading history in between visitors. When not there I am often teaching myself leather-working in the Gunsmith’s Workshop.

What’s one of your favorite memories?

So many to choose from but my most recent favorite memory was an encounter I had in the Gunsmith’s Workshop with a family visiting from Thailand. I entertained them with various guns to hold and when they left the elderly grandma (who probably didn’t understand a word I said) turned and gave me a Buddhist blessing. It was so honest and heartfelt and touching.

What do you like to do in your spare time when you are not volunteering?

I like to watch movies, television series (mostly historical), play games with friends and family, and play with our many animals. I also like to read recreationally (mostly history about Sutter’s Fort or the occasional thriller).

Thank you, David, for can-do personality and attitude, and for your over 4,226 hours of volunteer service at the park!

We appreciate everything you do — for us and for California State Parks! 

Learn how you can volunteer at Sutter’s Fort SHP or support ongoing volunteer efforts here.

We are proud to support the volunteer efforts at Sutter’s Fort SHP with the help of our sponsor, Sutter Health.