Guilianelli gets to ‘know her world’ by volunteering |

Guilianelli gets to ‘know her world’ by volunteering

Trina Ortega
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Contributed photoJoan Guilianelli, a volunteer with Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, trims vegetation along the Upper Loop Trail at Wulfsohn Mountain Open Space during a work session earlier this summer. Guilianelli is the RFOV volunteer of the month for July.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Joan Guilianelli has learned through experience that if you volunteer in your community, you open the door to meeting new friends and having a great experience.

Before moving to Glenwood Springs, Guilianelli lived in North Carolina and built a network of friends while volunteering at a community garden for nine years. She additionally participated in a sports club whose members mostly played tennis, Guilianelli said.

“I could never hit the ball, but I ended up with some very good friends. It was a good experience, and I find if you get out, you meet lots of different people,” she said.

As part of its recognition program spotlighting citizens at the heart of the organization, Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers (RFOV) named Guilianelli Volunteer of the Month for July.

The Basalt-based nonprofit promotes stewardship of public lands by engaging the community in volunteer trail and restoration projects. Now in its 16th season, RFOV has helped create and maintain dozens of trails and natural areas from Aspen to Rifle.

RFOV members spent Thursdays in May working on the Wulfsohn trails, continues to support Two Rivers Trails at this site, and is seeking volunteers for the upcoming Hanging Lake Trail maintenance work day on Sept. 24 and 25.

A volunteer project to remove tamarisk along the Colorado River takes place Oct. 15 in Rifle.

Guilianelli moved to the Roaring Fork Valley one year ago and works as a nurse at the Veterans Affairs Telehealth Clinic in Glenwood Springs. She volunteered to help construct the new Upper Loop Trail at Wulfsohn Mountain Open Space in May and has distributed posters and flyers for the nonprofit in Glenwood and Snowmass Village.

The work with RFOV is fulfilling, she says, because it gets her outdoors, is good exercise, and creates an opportunity for her to talk to people and learn about her surroundings.

“I like to get out and meet people and see different places, so I volunteered to post posters in Snowmass because I had never been there,” she said.

RFOV Executive Director David Hamilton said Guilianelli “really stepped up” by additionally driving to Snowmass Village on her weekends to help publicize the RFOV project season.

“Putting up posters is not the most glamorous job, but it’s critical in spreading the word about our projects and recruiting volunteers. Having Joan cover two important towns in the valley saves us considerable time. We also have gained a wonderful trail volunteer in Joan,” Hamilton said.

For Guilianelli, it’s also a perfect way to fulfill her life philosophy to “get outside and see your world.”

“I think it’s an important link to the environment and to make it more accessible for others to enjoy while preserving it for people not yet old enough to enjoy,” she said of trail work on public lands and open space.

In addition to volunteer trail work, Guilianelli enjoys hiking, gardening, swimming, dancing, reading and hanging out with friends – just all part of the enjoyable adventure she calls life.

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