By Dianne McGinness, Staff writer
Nine AmeriCorps volunteers have finished five weeks of work at Northwest Trek, doing everything from building a rock wall to replacing old fencing and clearing out miles of invasive bushes.
The team was helping get the wildlife park near Eatonville ready for the spring and summer seasons.
The group impressed Northwest Trek staff members, said Jessica Moore, coordinator of the Park Conservation Program.
“Everyone in the park has commented on the tremendous job they’ve done,” she said. “I’m very pleased.”
The team split into two groups, covering virtually every corner of the park. On Saturday, they completed a rain garden. It will help reduce runoff, filter water as it goes onto the soil and provide plants for the park’s wildlife habitat.
The volunteers also extended a rock wall for stroller parking, cleaned and cleared out big cat, raptors and bear exhibit spaces, removed barb wire and helped with visitors during the Kids‘n’Critters weekend.
Before coming to Northwest Trek in February, the team worked at the Oregon Garden in Silverton, Ore., and helped with disaster relief in New York after Hurricane Sandy.
The volunteers learned a lot about Northwest wildlife, developed friendships that will last for years and acquired new skills, said Dylan Farinash, 21, of Grants, Pass Ore.
Lois Acosta, an 18-year-old volunteer from Los Angeles, said she found the experience irreplaceable. Though some of the chores were tough, she said, she felt great satisfaction once the work was done.
“You get to see results,” Acosta said. “And you get to say, ‘Wow. I did that.’”