David Stare (also known as Many Pots) has been a docent at Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park (SHP) since 2012.

Read what David has to say about volunteering:

How did you get involved as a docent at Sutter’s Fort SHP?

I had recently retired from 20 years of teaching elementary students. Our 4th-grade granddaughter was going to an Environmental Living Program (ELP) experience at Sutter’s Fort and the teachers needed a volunteer for the bakery.

I went to the training and saw other docents teaching various skills and thought that that looked like a good way to spend some retirement hours. I became a volunteer and then a docent.

What’s your favorite part of volunteering?

I love that I get to continue to teach, learn new skills and history, and wear interesting clothes.

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

I work as a cooper interpreting that trade and making coopered containers. I also teach parents coming to an ELP program with their child how to bake in the outdoor oven and help some schools bake on their ELP days. I have interpreted the wagon for the Girl Scout program and the school for a First grade “Then and Now” field trip.

I have cooked lunches in the period kitchen during Hands on History days, and have been a guide and actor for Haunted Fort, Tour by Chocolate, and Emigrant Christmas. I have also been a Camp Keeper and Segundo for two of the Trappers’ Camp mobile learning programs.

What’s one of your favorite memories?

I was cooking for the docents at Trappers’ Camp toward the end of the week. We had quite a bit of leftover food that needed to be eaten. I cooked most of it up. Because I cooked, I was excused from clean up duty. The docents who did clean swore that I used every pot and pan we had brought with us. The next morning, as I started to prepare breakfast, I was told that my “camp name” was “Many Pots” and to try hard not to live up to it this time.

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

I cooper drinking tankards, butter churns, pitchers, and flower vases. I make walking sticks for sale at Sutter’s Fort and Fort Ross on the Sonoma Coast. We also raise service dogs for Canine Companions for Independence. I work out my body at the gym and my inner body/consciousness as part of a meditation practice. And, I shop, cook, and bake breads for family and friends.

Thank you, David, for can-do personality and attitude, and for your over 2,083 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.