Bill, Volunteer Interview

Although I had visited Carkeek Park intermittently since I was a child I only got interested in volunteering about 4 years ago when I was walking in the park and was so distressed by the rampant ivy that I was moved to get in touch with the people who were already doing voluntary work there. The first two pictures show typical situations where invasive ivy is growing up trees (where it will soon begin to bear fruits that will spread it further). The third picture shows a plant found in Carkeek, Yellow archangel I think it’s called (Lamiastrum galeobdolon). It is not yet a huge problem but has the potential to become one. As you can tell I have a big grudge against invasives and I have to say that they are the primary motivation for my work in the park. 

I experience a more positive motivation when I see the resilience of the naturally occurring flora that are still present in Carkeek. The next two pictures show examples of the natural regeneration of Western Hemlock: new trees establishing themselves on nurse logs. To me the ability of a large conifer to reproduce in the park is very hopeful. Our group of volunteers has worked hard trying to establish Douglas Fir in areas of the park where they were logged out in the last century and where they have not been able to reestablish themselves. Our goal is to eventually have a park that is able to maintain species diversity with less intervention by people. Picture six is of a mature Doug Fir, a rare tree in the park. I see a lot of character in the bark of a Doug Fir. It speaks to me of strength and resilience.

We leave as many standing dead trees (snags) in the forest as possible. Snags support a variety of fauna from insects to birds and mammals. The seventh picture is of a snag showing an excavated nest hole. Picture eight is of a Pileated Woodpecker, one of the birds that perform these excavations. When I hear the piercing call of a Pileated I imagine I am hearing the lord of the forest. They are frequently seen in family groups working their way from tree to tree in search of the insects that live in snags.

The final picture is of my wife Colene walking one of the Carkeek trails with our dog Luna. On our frequent walks here we see all of the aspects of the park I have selected to illustrate.  We return refreshed and re-motivated to protect and improve the park.