NEWHALL – The man who was wed under an oak tree at the Placerita Canyon Nature Center and reluctantly left his job there four years ago to take a promotion is back. Frank Hoffman, who multitasks even in his quietest moments, has been named the recreation supervisor at the park as of Jan. 2. “Frank is the absolute life behind Placerita,” said Ian Swift, the center’s supervisor, who is in line to become superintendent. “He is our one-man marketing machine. Frank is 150,000 percent enthusiastic about Placerita and our programs here.” Hoffman is in charge of the park’s programs, activities and events. He will also serve as education director and plans to collaborate with the Sierra Club and the California Wild Project to create a hiking club whose volunteers will lead guided interpretive nature hikes and walks in Placerita Canyon in the Angeles National Forest. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card The return to Placerita was lateral, but Hoffman’s affection for the park makes the point moot. “This is his true home,” said Swift. “This is where he belongs.” In his four-plus years away, Hoffman, 46, worked at county parks in Quartz Hill and Val Verde. He also trains county staff, volunteers and docents in leadership and customer service skills and on how to avoid potentially dangerous plants and animals. “They’re only dangerous if you mess with them,” Hoffman quipped. His lifelong love of nature is a perfect fit for his midlife career change. The late-blooming naturalist had toiled for 16 years as a banker, real estate loan officer and appraiser before the housing market’s downturn in the late 1980s. Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, he credits his mom with opening his eyes to nature. The Valley’s orange groves, fields and farms teemed with possibilities. “Instead of Mom raising me with pinball and TV, she took me to Pierce College to show me farm animals, she would take me to the Los Angeles Zoo, and to parks to teach me about animals. As a young boy, I would bring (home) everything loose I could find.” Mary Hoffman, Frank’s wife of six years, is the recreation service leader at Vasquez Rocks Natural Area. The couple’s Canyon Country menagerie includes dogs, cats, snakes, tortoises, birds and two saltwater aquariums. Hoffman owns a hunting hawk and is a member of the largest state falconry club in the country, the California Hawking Club. The nature center will host its 27th annual reptile festival on March 18, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The center is at 19152 Placerita Canyon Road. For information call 259-7721. Judy O’Rourke, (661) 257-5255 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!