We talked to Tibby Larson, Parks Volunteer Coordinator for the City of Salem. She has been with the City since 2002. No doubt she knows how to get things done.
You were involved with the cleanup of Mill Race Park. How did that go?
The neighbors of Mill Race Park contacted me and asked if they could help care for Mill Race Park. I arranged for them to meet at the park with one of our park maintenance staff. They all talked about which maintenance tasks they’d be willing to do. The neighbors volunteered to mow, keep the benches clean, sweep hard surfaces, weed and clean-up leaves.
We kept in touch as they would perform tasks in the park. The residents let me know if there were piles of leaves or debris to pick up, any problems in the park and how much time they were spending in the park. City Parks supplied garbage bags and any other tools or supplies the volunteers needed.
What volunteer initiatives can you suggest?
Oh my, the volunteer involvement is very rich in Salem Parks. We host hundreds of service groups, classrooms, church groups and staff work groups performing service in Salem Parks Tasks from re-surfacing trails, painting picnic tables, removing English ivy & blackberries, planting pollinator gardens, planting wetlands, etc.
We also support:
- volunteer events, such as Arbor Day, Earth Day, Make a Difference Day
- groups of historic preservation & gardening; Mission Street Parks Conservancy, Deepwood Gardeners, Lord & Schryver Conservancy
- residents keeping the mutt mitt dispensers in their local park filled
- The Friends of Pioneer Cemetery who take care of and preserve the historic cemetery
- The Salem Area Trail Alliance who develops and maintains area hike and bike trails
- The Minto-Brown Island Park & Bush Park Volunteer Patrol
- volunteers wishing to adopt a rose bed and care for it throughout the spring, summer and fall
- volunteers keeping the right-of-way along Kuebler, free of Scotch broom
- Scouts who want to do an Eagle Scout project in Salem Parks
There are many more. Be sure to check out the website.
How would (potential) resident volunteers go about getting support?
First step is to contact me. Then we work with Park supervisors, Parks Manager and, if need be, Parks Planners to determine the feasibility of the proposed project!
How your neighbors cleaned up Mill Race Park
Your neighbours found Mill Race Park, a favorite stop on the daily dog walks, in a state of neglect – and decided to turn it back into the family friendly place it is today.