Olympias Roberta Woods has spent 15 years of Saturdays pitching in to help maintain city park lands. Shes worked in rain, shine or in the case of winter cold.
Winter its good for me to be outside in the rain and the dark, Woods said. Its better than sitting at home depressed, she said, laughing as she pulled weeds at the base of a tree in West Olympias Sunrise Park.
It was anything but winter Saturday as the warm sun beat down on Woods, four other volunteers and two parks employees. They spent the better of the morning weeding and picking up litter at the small park off Bing Street.
The Saturday work parties typically have a crew of about 20, but parks staff werent surprised by the dwindled numbers on a holiday weekend.
Toward the end of the school year, there can be as many as 100 volunteers including high school students who use the volunteer opportunity for school credit.
The work parties have become so well attended the program has expanded to include Tuesdays and Fridays, according to Genevive Becker, lead stewardship specialist with the city.
We meet with the lead maintenance people and see what needs to be done the most, Becker said. We have a lot of parks over 40 in Olympia.
Many of those parks are small, like Sunrise, meaning more places for volunteers to work throughout the year.
We have more to maintain with individual parks because people care and wanted parks in this area, Becker said.
Weeding the mulch beds was the easier of duties shes had do to during her stint as a volunteer. The most difficult job is one that returns with a vengeance if unchecked: English ivy.
The pilgrims brought it from England with them, and its a nasty invasive plant, Becker said.
With temperatures reaching the 80s Saturday, the retired Department of Ecology marine biologist couldnt think of a better way to spend her time than being outside.
I do this for exercise and to keep me feeling good about myself, Becker said.
Im giving something back.
Chelsea Krotzer: 360-754-5476
email@example.com theolympian.com/thisjustin @chelseakrotzer