Friends of Bidwell Park
PO Box 4837
Chico, CA 95927

Friends of Bidwell Park Board


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President – John Merz
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Vice President – Steve Green
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Treasurer – Woody Elliot
Woody Elliott retired in year 2010 after 20 years as a natural resource manager for Calif. Dept. Parks & Recreation at San Simeon and northern Calif. Currently, Conservation Chair and Web Administrator for Mt. Lassen Chapter – Calif. Native Plant Society.


Board Member – Patsy Schutz
Patsy has been an FOBP board member since 2005. She currently works with Education for the Future, a CSU, Chico Research Foundation Program.
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Board Member – Lise Smith-Peters
Lise Smith-Peters is Development Director for the College of Behavioral and Social Science at California State University, Chico. She is a team member of Chico State’s central advancement office and responsible for the fundraising efforts of the College. Prior to joining Chico State, Lise served the City of Chico Park Division for nine years as Park Services Coordinator/Volunteer Coordinator, which involved establishing a pro-active park volunteer program, grant writing and development efforts for Bidwell Park and serving as staff liaison to the Bidwell Park and Playground Commission. In this position, she helped promote volunteerism and stewardship of the Park and researched and wrote reports on park policies. Prior to her Park Division work, Lise was Development Director for Boys and Girls Clubs of the North Valley in Chico.
Board Member – Michael Stauffer
Michael Stauffer has been a resident of Chico for 23 years. Team leader for Bidwell Park volunteer program. Past board member of Streaminders and Big Chico Creek Watershed Alliance. Worked on multiple stream restoration projects on Big Chico Creek and Lindo Channel over the last 15 years.
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Secretary – Nancy Park


Friends of Bidwell Park Frequently Asked Questions


Who are Friends of Bidwell Park?

Friends of Bidwell Park (FOBP) is a park advocacy organization, formed in April of 2003. Our focus is on preserving and protecting the natural resources of Bidwell Park, increasing the volunteer opportunities in the park, and community outreach focusing on providing education about the park’s natural resources. Currently, we are not a membership organization because we don’t have the resources to manage membership lists, arrange for regular member meetings, write and distribute newsletters, etc. We received our IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit designation in January 2004.

If you're not a membership organization, who are the 'Friends' in Friends of Bidwell Park?

Anyone who volunteers in the park or contributes to organizations that directly help the park can be a Friend of Bidwell Park. We try to facilitate volunteerism and encourage donations by letting people know how they can help the park, via information on our web site. We work closely with the City of Chico in supporting volunteer efforts in the park.

What is the Mission of Friends of Bidwell Park?

Our mission is to raise awareness, encourage learning, and facilitate personal and community involvement in the conservation and sustainable use of Bidwell Park.

How do you spend the money that's donated to FOBP?

  • We purchase and maintain specialized tools that are used in our invasive plant removal program as well as supplies such as inexpensive GPS units, cameras and computers to map rare plant species and invasive plants

  • We help design and produce educational materials about invasive plants

  • We give financial support to the City of Chico Park Division’s to help fund interns working in their volunteer program, and to pay for debris removal resulting from invasive plant control projects. We helped pay for native plants and a water pump for park restoration projects. We have also paid other groups such as the CCC and crews from Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve to remove Spanish broom and other invasive plant species from Bidwell Park

  • We help pay for professional vegetation management services when the work can not be done by volunteers

  • We commissioned a seasonal series of aerial photographs to illustrate a unique perspective of Bidwell Park’s natural beauty and to provide baseline information about park conditions. These photographs are available online.

  • We pay the registration fees for our board members, city staff and students to attend workshops, seminars, & symposiums so that they can learn more about natural resource management

  • We sponsored a free CEQA workshop that was attended by members of the Chico Avenues Neighborhood Association, Altalcal Audubon, Sierra Club, Butte Environmental Council, City of Chico staff, Mechoopda tribal members, and others


To learn more about how we spend donations, review the summary of our latest financial report.

Some highlights of our major accomplishments and community involvement include:

  • Our extensive website at, contains a calendar of volunteer opportunities, Park events and Park-related City meetings. We have maps and articles pertaining to the history and natural resources of Bidwell Park, including a sortable comprehensive plant list. We also feature local artists who showcase Bidwell Park in their work

  • Our amazing volunteers have donated over 15,500 hours working in Bidwell Park since we started in 2003. We are committed to the ongoing responsibility of invasive plant management. Once we start working on a particular invasive species, we work to finish the job. Every year we survey and remove species such as bladder senna, tree of heaven, privets, olives, yellow star-thistle, pokeweed and puncturevine. Susan Mason, (FOBP co-founder) was awarded the 2013 City of Chico Park Division’s “Outstanding Volunteer of the Decade Award”! The hard work and perseverance of our volunteers are definitely paying off and you can view many of the awards we have received here.

  • We share our field tools and expertise with other community groups working throughout Chico’s parks and greenways to remove trash, eliminate invasive plant species and improve safety

  • We work closely with the City’s Park Division to plan projects for volunteers and to help supervise their volunteer program and activities. Our years of effort have resulted in the completion and ongoing implementation of the Bidwell Park Master Management Plan. We continue to be interested in the development of a Park endowment fund, adopting appropriate Park user fees and the preservation of Bidwell Ranch

  • We recently adopted Lost Park as a focused project area and now are working with the City of Chico, the Bidwell Park and Playground Commission, neighbors and other interested parties to develop both a short and long-term management plan to renovate Lost Park. We also hold semimonthly work sessions to pick up trash and remove invasive plant species