Written by Fiona Kuipers
Global Visionaries volunteers worked with EarthCorps to improve Frink Park; a small, easily overlooked community park near Lake Washington Boulevard; last Feb. 19.
This effort to improve Frink Park is one of the larger projects EarthCorps continues to work on in the Seattle area, with about 150 volunteers working at the park last Saturday alone. I joined the GV volunteers for a portion of their time with EarthCorps to find out more about Frink Park and the work they were doing.
The volunteers and I stood shaded by tall Madrone trees as Kelly, an EarthCorps volunteer, instructed us to look for and remove ivy, blackberry, “Stinky Bob,” and other wild growth. These invasive plants threaten the health of the Madrone trees which are characteristic to Frink Park.
These tall red wooded trees are endangered. Because they are especially sensitive to light and its climate, it is important that the immediately surrounding areas are carefully maintained.
Furthermore, Madrone trees are not easy to plant and need extended nurturing in order to mature into healthy trees. Kelly pointed out to our group several Madrone trees EarthCorps volunteers had planted successfully.
For the past ten years, EarthCorps has worked regularly on Frink Park. The park has undergone a significant transformation to become the beautiful, healthy, and secluded place that the community enjoys. Thanks to the work of EarthCorps and its partners, neighbors are able to frequent its paths and appreciate the park’s quietness.
Experiencing Frink Park and learning about EarthCorps’ involvement gave me a sense of the park’s great importance to the community.
Global Visionaries students learned to differentiate between native and ordinary ivy and blackberry. I watched as they worked in clusters to remove the weeds and was amazed at the unity of the group and their collective energy throughout the day. It looked and felt natural the way one small group of students would begin working on a new area and other students would follow.
The work GV students engage in with EarthCorps is significant not only because it helps the community, but because it develops a new sense of community within the student volunteers themselves. By working with EarthCorps, they are offered a platform to truly recognize the value of being involved with a larger community while creating a more intimate and unique sub-community.