10News honor Ted God-shalk, who has volunteered his time to Paradise Creek Educational Park, Inc. (PCEPI) for the past six years. PCEPI is a non-profit organization that works toward the preservation of Paradise Creek in National City through community involvement. Paradise Creek is a salt marsh behind Kimball Elementary that has been in National City for hundreds of years. It provides an ecosystem of birds, crabs, horn snails, and wetland plants.
Ted has been a resident of National City for 19 years. His involvement with Paradise Creek has influenced him to make a career change from electrician to teacher. He is currently a graduate student working on his teaching credential at San Diego State University. Godshalk serves the National City community as a biweekly columnist for La Prensa San Diego. As the founder and director of PCEPI, Ted’s responsibilities include managing the 10 board of directors, writing grants, raising money, organizing events and advocating for Paradise Creek. With his busy schedule as a student he still finds time to volunteer 18 to 20 hours a week and receives no compensation.
Ted started PCEPI in 1999 with the help of his wife, Margaret, a Kimball Elementary teacher. He has developed programs like Egret Club, which is an after-school club, Watch Our Watershed Project (WOW), a community outreach program that promotes public awareness of the impacts of storm drain population on our natural resources and Teen Apprenticeship Program (TAP), an after school program that provides educational and vocational training to teenagers in park maintenance, plant nursery, and biology in National City. There have been up to 400 student participants in activities such as bird watching, bike trips, and scientific study. PCEPI staff assists teachers at Kimball Elementary in environmental education, resources, and materials, so that they can work to preserve and enhance Paradise Creek.
In 2005 Ted has raised enough money through donations, grants and sponsors to go through with plans to build an educational park at Paradise Creek. The park will include trails and facilities to help better educate the youth and community. Since the start of PCEPI there has been a removal of four tons of trash from Paradise Creek. Stephanie Buttell-Maxin, a teacher at Kimball and board member of PCEPI, says “It’s a community treasure.” Stephanie has used the creek in her classroom as an educational focal point to teach children about animal and plant adaptation.
Ted says his inspiration for starting PCEPI came from his belief in contributing to the community and a desire to show children how they can better their own community, since they are the future generation that will have to take care of it. His future goal for PCEPI is to expand the three acre property to five or six acres.
Ted Godshalk will receive the 10News Leadership Award on Wednesday, July 20th.