CANOPY BLOG

Volunteer Spotlight: Remembering Brooke Schryver

By Canopy Team on September 14, 2022

Costumed character greets child in outdoor setting as others look on

Brooke Schryver greets young visitor as "Professor Arboretum" at Canopy's Arbor Day Festival in 2017.

Brooke Schryver, well-known and loved by Canopy and many environmental nonprofits throughout the Midpeninsula, unexpectedly passed away May 2022. Brooke was an active and enthusiastic volunteer with Canopy from 2017-2021, remembered as a delightful, passionate, and fun-loving volunteer and friend. We will miss her greatly.

Reminisce with us as you read through the stories below, and if you have your own anecdote about Brooke, we welcome you to send it to [email protected].

Brooke’s family requests donations to Grassroots Ecology in lieu of flowers.


Arbor Day Festival

Brooke signed up as a general volunteer for Canopy’s Arbor Day Festival in March of 2017. She wasn’t planning to dress as Professor Arboretum but willingly donned the costume and was the star of the event! Click here for more photos of the event.

“I remember Brooke at the 2017 Arbor Day Festival like it was yesterday. She was such a fun person to be around, and I remember she had a blast going around in the Prof Arboretum costume character suit. My partner Jeff had a great time hanging with her at the event too and even gifted her one of his art prints because he thought she was so awesome. I’m going to miss her.” – Shannon McDonald, Canopy’s Operations Director

Brooke with Katie Rummel in 2019

More about the above image: Brooke signed up as a general volunteer for Canopy’s Arbor Day Festival in March of 2017. She wasn’t planning to dress as Professor Arboretum, but willingly donned the costume and was the star of the event! See more photos from the event.

At the Office

“I remember Brooke for her humor and generosity. She was always coming to the office to help with stuff. I think she came to help us when we got the new desks. I really enjoyed being around her. She was so obviously a hard worker and strong-spirited person. I didn’t have to know her well to see that.” – Maya Briones, Canopy’s Advocacy Associate

“I loved Brooke. Whenever she was at an event or in the office, she’d just follow me around and talk nonstop to mess with me until I’d tell her, ‘Brooke, I’m trying to work.’ She always had me cracking up.” – Katie Rummel, former Communications Manager

Tree Care Workdays

“She was an awesome volunteer, and her outlook on nature was something that inspired me a lot. She would also keep the morale high on those very hot East Palo Alto summer days doing tree care work across the city.” – Jack Dorsey, former Tree Care and Youth Program Coordinator

Two smiling wome outdoors with shovels in hand

Brooke shoveling mulch at a tree care workday at an elementary school in East Palo Alto in February of 2019. Click here for more photos of the day.

Community Forestry School

“Brooke was a ray of sunshine, one of the most memorable volunteers I’ve ever worked with. Always willing to lend a hand, always smiling, often one of the last people to leave an event because she wanted to help out until the end. Her obituary and the stories from all of you highlight even more what a vibrant, whole-hearted person she was. I will miss Brooke and miss knowing that she’s out there doing good and brightening the world around her.” – Maika Horjus, Canopy’s Senior Development Specialist

“Even though I only had a few short encounters with Brooke, like others, when I think about Brooke I remember her bright smile, love for nature, fun spirit, and helpfulness. The last time I saw her, she told me she was working as a park ranger at McClellan Ranch Park, and it was so obvious that she had found her true calling. I find comfort in knowing that she was doing what she loved best, exploring the beautiful nature, till the end of her young and beautiful life.” – Kammy Lo, Canopy’s former Board Chair and fellow Community Forestry School student

“I remember Brooke from the days when I was taking the Forestry Class. She was always so cheerful, had a great smile and was a joy to be around.” – Gary Hedden, fellow Community Forestry School student

“Brooke met life with so much joy and laughter. Delight is the word that comes to mind. She was always a delight to be around. She made everyone around her feel at ease. She was enthusiastic about life and the natural world. And, always made me laugh. I looked forward to spending time with her, and considered her to be a dear friend. I am going to miss her and will cherish the time we spent together as gem, a memory that I will always hold.” – Natalie Brubaker, Canopy’s Director of Special Projects

Adults grouped around pile of dirt in a park
Brooke loosens the roots of a tree during the “Planting Basics” class of Canopy’s Community Forestry School in October of 2019. She stayed after every class to help clean up and was usually the last student to leave.
The first cohort of Canopy’s Community Forestry School course in 2019.
Brooke being Brooke on the last day of Community Forestry School at the Peninsula Conservation Center in Palo Alto where Canopy’s office is located.
Brooke and Natalie Brubaker, October 2019
Tree Walk Interns (L-R) Emma Paradise, Emma Mazlish, and Brooke in July 2021

Tree Walk Internship

“She was such a kind and generous person and I feel lucky to have gotten to know her through Canopy. I was just thinking about her today teaching me to identify Chinese Pistache trees by their “mustache” shaped leaves.” – Emma Paradise, fellow Canopy intern in the summer of 2021

“Brooke guided me as I took photos for the tree walks last summer, and I loved working with her.  She was competent, helpful, completely straightforward and unaffected, and had a wry sense of humor.  Brooke seemed to genuinely enjoy our conversations even though half a century separated our ages;  I certainly enjoyed them. I can’t recall when a young person made such a strong positive impression on me.” – Jack Owicki, Photographer for Pro Bono Photo

Woman poses near large tree in front of building on urban sidewalk
Brooke asked Jack to take this photo of her next the the Dawn Redwood tree at the Palo Alto Post Office in July of 2021.

Our Memories

“I too remember Brooke fondly and enjoyed all my encounters with her. She is unforgettable. Thanks to all of you who have shared your memories of your encounter with Brooke. Your testimonies are truly precious. I knew she was a wonderful CFS student and volunteer, but I had no idea of the breadth and depth of her work with so many of you.” – Catherine Martineau, Canopy’s Executive Director

We will always remember Brooke as a delightful, passionate, and fun-loving volunteer and friend. We will miss her greatly.

View more photos of Brooke in this online photo album.

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