Red Hats enter Greenbelt Hall of Fame

October 18, 2002


Four Red Hats were inducted into the Laguna Greenbelt Hall of Fame

last week at the annual dinner in honor of Greenbelt founder Jim


Red Hats Eleanor Henry, Marv Johnson, Niko Theris and John

Wilkerson are members of the original Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

docents. Henry, Johnson and Theris were in the first Laguna Greenbelt


training session in 1992.

Wilkerson didn't need the training, but on the opening day of the

park he and the others donned the red caps that identified docents

qualified to lead the public on tours.

Harry Huggins' introductions included Laguna Canyon Conservancy

President Carolyn Wood, former mayor Phyllis Sweeney and City Council

candidate Melissa O'Neal. He also acknowledged Scott Thomas, who

assisted in the program.

Ed Merrilees was called to the podium to talk about Theris, while

slides of the honoree and the open space he loves lighted up the


"Did you know he plays the recorder? Did you know he volunteers at

KPFK? And who else writes all those letters to the editor -- the last

one was a masterpiece," Merrilees said.

Other community services include co-founding the Friends of the

Library Bookshop and eight years of volunteering at the youth shelter

-- introducing youngsters to the park.

Park Ranger Barbara Norton said it was a pleasure for her to talk

about Wilkerson as a docent and as a teacher of her sons, Chris and


"They were a challenge, the very antithesis of my interest in the

wilderness," Norton said. "That was 10 years ago. Now they are 20 and

25, and when I ask them who their favorite teacher was, they say John


"I find it comforting as a parent and as a ranger. He brings a

unique quality to the park that excites and enthuses children," she

said. "He has been a tremendous force in explaining what the Laguna

Wilderness Park is."

When Anne Johnson was called to the podium to talk about her

husband, Marv, he said, "Oh dear," or words to that effect.

"If I don't cry, I'll be all right," Anne Johnson said. "Marv and

I have known each other for 45 years. He is still water."

They met in Boston and married there. He used to talk about

California, about coming back to the hills and the orange groves.

Finally, one day after shoveling snow for a couple of hours, he said,

"That's it." Marv Johnson came out first, and Anne found one

despondent husband when she arrived.

"They have raped my land," he told Anne, who describes herself as

an armchair environmentalist.

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