By Vickie Aldous
Ashland Daily Tidings
Posted: 2:00 AM January 20, 2011
The Ashland Parks and Recreation Department is inviting neighbors to “adopt” Scenic Park and help keep it pesticide-free.
“Scenic Park is a completely pesticide-free park. That’s why we need neighbors to come out,” said parks Volunteer Coordinator Lori Ainsworth.
Beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, neighbors and other residents will have a meeting with Ainsworth at the park, then get to work pulling weeds, raking and picking up litter.
Construction at the park took place in 2006 and 2007, making it one of Ashland’s newest developed parks. Scenic Park is near the intersection of Scenic Drive and Maple Street, in the neighborhood near Ashland Community Hospital.
The parks department will provide gloves, tools, snacks and drinks.
Ainsworth hopes that enough volunteers will show up that she can split them into two groups for the rest of the year, with each group doing work at Scenic Park every other month.
The parks system already has some areas that have been adopted by residents and service groups, including Lithia Park’s Japanese garden, Glenwood Park, Garden Way Park and the demonstration gardens at North Mountain Park. But the parks department hopes to persuade even more people to volunteer.
In 2010, the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission adopted a new policy to reduce pesticide use. The commission also hired Ainsworth to organize volunteers to help in that effort.
Commissioners will hear a report in February about whether the parks department’s efforts to cut back on pesticides — which include herbicides and insecticides — have led to a cutback in use of the chemicals.
Ainsworth said teacher Eric Sandstone and his class of Ashland Middle School students already have stepped forward with an offer to do work at a park on Clay Street.
Some people are hoping to adopt areas in Lithia Park.
“We have no problem with people who want to adopt a portion of a park,” Ainsworth said. “Anne (Thayer), our horticulturist, will work with people to make sure they are pulling weeds and not good ground cover.”
Ainsworth plans to organize a future work party to deal with vegetated areas along the Calle Guanajuato, the pedestrian walkway behind downtown Plaza businesses.
Aside from keeping parks beautiful, Ainsworth said a side benefit of “adopting” a park is that neighbors keep an eye on the area, operating as a sort of neighborhood watch to help keep the area safe.
For more information about the Scenic Park work party on Saturday, or for information on volunteering in general, contact Ainsworth at 541-488-5340 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or email@example.com.