Volunteers clean up shores around Foster

With summer activities right around the corner, volunteers organized by SOLV and the Linn County Parks and Recreation Department joined together to clean up the shores around Foster Lake Saturday, April 17.

Park Ranger Travis Chewing, the coordinator for the event, said the event was important because the cleanup activities help protect the environment and give the lake a pleasing appearance.

He said it also helps in keeping the lake safe for animals and people to have the glass and sharp objects picked up, as well as keeping the lake cleaner.

Along with Chewing, organizers included Park Ranger Joe Ross, and Scott Puskar and Michael Curran of the county Parks Department.

This is the third year that the SOLV and Linn County Parks and Rec. have teamed up to put on this event. SOLV is a nonprofit organization that focuses on enhancing the livability of Oregon. It helps to provide different resources to over 250 communities in Oregon.

These resources focus on clean ups of parks and lakes, planting native and removing invasive plants, and just maintaining the environment. Two main goals of the SOLV organization is to engage Oregonians of all ages in volunteering experiences and to improve the Oregon environment, as well as raising awareness of volunteering to the impact of their work by involving educations through their actions.

The event event usually is held in May, but this year was moved to April. Chewing says that in the past the turnout has been very good.

In the past two years, the program has gotten between 30-40 people helping to clean up the lake. This year however only 10 volunteers showed up. Among the volunteers this year were first timers Alison Hodgers and her two sons Kinny and Christopher, who were camping nearby and decided to help.

Hodgers said that this was important to her because it is important to teach kids to work together to get things done and to keep the parks clean.

Although there were not as many volunteers this year as in previous years, the trash was still removed.

Chewing said that ten bags of trash were collected, weighing an estimated total of some 300 pounds of garbage.

Among the trash that was picked up was a tire and a micro appliance that was pulled out of the lake.

Al and Bev Inkins who were also first-time volunteers found old diapers scattered through the brush and blackberry vines.

Chewing said he would like to see more volunteers next year, and he plans to coordinate with schools all over the community to get the kids involved in volunteering and cleaning up the environment.