FOCC Volunteer Spotlight: Harriot Manley

Summer 2021

Our communications and administrative teams couldn’t believe our good fortune when this award-winning Time Inc. writer, editor, and photographer signed up to volunteer for our nonprofit in the early months of 2020.”

This media maven appeared just as our park was navigating the drastic changes brought on by the pandemic, a time when sharing information with park users became ultra-important.


Since joining our team, Harriot has been a powerhouse for our park’s communications. She has produced about half of our latest newsletter articles, started up-to-date style guides, and improved our content with her creativity and keen editing skills. Based upon all the positive feedback we’ve received, our readers have noticed!

Harriot took the helm of our social posts last year, and engagement has soared. On Instagram, for example, our followers have grown from 100 to nearly 1,000.  Posts consistently entertain and inform our membership. 

And have you noticed our new website design? We can thank Harriot for spearheading that project. A year ago, she noticed that our website could use some TLC. What started as Harriot’s ad-hoc improvements turned into a complete overhaul by our volunteer web team (with our heroine on board), leading to the polished version you see today. 

“From a media perspective, Harriot provides editorial expertise to all aspects of our outreach,” notes Joyce Abrams, FOCC board and communications team member and trail maintenance lead.

Our Executive Director Martin Lowenstein agrees. “Harriot is my go-to person for copy editing, whether the words I’m seeking are for grants or for newsletters. She’s an invaluable resource, and she’s helped immensely to improve China Camp’s communications.”


But wait, that’s not all. In addition to writing and editing, Harriot takes most of the images for our social media and our website. She also mans the kiosk at Back Ranch Meadows Campground and helps in our visitor center. Harriot also volunteers with our maintenance team, doing everything from weed whipping to trash pickup to trail rehab.

Andy Kives, board member, trail maintenance volunteer, and communications team member smiles broadly as he comments, “Harriot is not only a wonderful writer, but also an accomplished amateur naturalist, so we have conversations about Oxford commas, oxymorons, orthodoxy, oxalis, foxes, and Toxicodendron. And that’s just the ox-es.”

Where did this superwoman come from and how did we get lucky enough to have her on our team?  Raised in Marin, Harriot got her degree at UC Davis in Mass Communications in 1980, and after taking internships in San Francisco, decided to move to New York to hone her craft. Harriot specialized as a writer, editor, and photographer for travel and outdoor adventure, arts & culture, food, health, the environment, family, and natural sciences. 

Harriot went on to become a senior editor at Sunset Publishing and Time Inc. She also took on editing gigs with Backpacker Magazine, Adventure Travel Magazine, and National Wildlife Federation. She also took on numerous freelance projects for the Washington Post, Outside, Google, Fodor’s, and the San Francisco Chronicle. 

Now living in San Rafael with her husband (and fellow FOCC volunteer) Bill Frink, Harriot is the proud mom of two adult children, Sam and Hannah. She hikes, bikes, and runs the trails at China Camp, and her enthusiasm as a visitor has extended to the extraordinary volunteer work that she does today, directly contributing to the nuts and bolts of operating the park. 

Her charismatic voice shines through in her writing, photography, and her service to our visitors and volunteers. “Harriot’s contribution to FOCC and to the park has been and continues to be extraordinary,” says Abrams. We are so grateful to have her on our team.

From all of us at Friends of China Camp, thank you Harriot! Yuh dun güd!

Catch more of Harriot’s whimsical adventures and superb photography by following her on Instagram at @wandering.hat.