Presented during the Virtual Community Program on December 19, 2021




This year's Libbie Agran Scholarship is awarded to a young woman from Paso Robles, Fathima Morales. Fathima stood out to her professors as a thoughtful student who works hard and has great potential to excel in Biology. They were impressed by her excellent performance and dedication in the fast-paced summer research course on eelgrass in the Morro Bay Estuary. They highlighted an outstanding seminar presentation on research ethics that she made to the Director of UC Riverside's Director of Ethics. Morro Coast Audubon is particularly pleased to be able to support Fathima since she is the first in her family to attend college. She hopes to inspire her siblings to similarly rise to high expectations and realize that they, too, can excel academically. It was with great pleasure that we awarded the 2021 Libbie Agran Scholarship to Fathima Morales.




This year the Board decided to add a special award to this ceremony: an award for Outstanding Service, which honors a person who has, over many years, worked to help make Morro Coast Audubon grow and thrive.

We are pleased to present special recognition to one of our most dedicated and influential members, Jan Surbey. Jan is one of those incredible and rare people who combine a delightful, welcoming personality with creativity, wisdom, and hard work to benefit a cause they love.


Jan has served on the Board for over 16 years, including serving as President, Past-President, and Field Trips Chair. She was President when Sweet Springs East was acquired. She was a key member of the Lands Committee from the time improvements were conceived to the completion of construction, which allowed East Sweet Springs to be opened to the public. She assisted in preparing budgets for the Board, as well as coordinating the MCAS Nominating Committee.


Jan has continued to be active with the Sweet Springs Nature Preserve. She conceived of and oversees the all-volunteer Sweet Springs Ambassador program. She recruits and trains these volunteers, as well as volunteering herself at the monthly Sweet Springs work parties.


Jan’s love of birds and her expertise have pushed her to lead numerous bird walks throughout the County, and she coordinated many more in her role as Field Trips Chair. She also created Family Day for the Winter Bird Festival and continued to assist with this very popular program.


Jan has been instrumental in cultivating and making donors feel welcomed and appreciated. She writes and sends thank you notes to every donor and business member, and she has coordinated the Volunteer of the Year awards for many years. She coordinated the Sweet Springs Circle of Friends fund-raising program, creates the plaques that honor these exceptional donors, and for many years organized an annual celebration at the installation of the Circle of Friends plaques.


And, to boot, Jan gives the greatest hugs!






Bill is a retired finish carpenter and also had a long and glorious run in professional long distance endurance bicycle racing. Bill began volunteering with Dave Clendenen (MCAS Land Manager) at Wind Wolves Preserve in 1998, and he followed Dave to the MCAS Sweet Springs Nature Preserve in Los Osos. 


Although he continues to live in Santa Barbara, Bill regularly drives to Los Osos to volunteer at Sweet Springs. For Bill, making a contribution to conservation is a personal imperative, and this is clearly evident in his incredible record of dedicated volunteering. He almost never misses a volunteer work party at Sweet Springs, and, during the pandemic, he came up nearly every Wednesday to help with projects, including bridge and boardwalk maintenance and repair, drip irrigation installation and repair, invasive plant weeding, graffiti removal, fence maintenance and patching, propagation and planting of restoration plants, and construction and installation of bird nest boxes. Morro Coast Audubon is grateful for Bill’s dedication and skills.




Tom lives in Los Osos, a few blocks away from the MCAS Sweet Springs Nature Preserve. He retired a few years ago and has since become a regular volunteer at Sweet Springs. Tom is an incredibly dedicated volunteer, helping at Sweet Springs at least once a week with a myriad of projects. 


He is capable and handy and does many things including trail maintenance, clearing debris from drainage ditches, watering restoration plantings, weeding invasive plants, and putting trash and green bins out for pick-up. Tom has been a huge help to the MCAS Land Manager during construction and maintenance projects when a second set of hands is critical, and where his ability with plumbing and building has been hugely beneficial. Tom proactively looks for things that need to be done, and alerts the Land Manager when he sees a need for attention. He has been an incredible asset for Sweet Springs, keeping things working for the wildlife and enhancing public safety. Morro Coast Audubon is grateful for Tom’s dedication and skills.