2020 Update: This program is now being run by Trailkeepers of Oregon. To learn more and sign up, visit the Trail Ambassadors page. By Cheryl Hill, Board Member, Trailkeepers of Oregon “Where is the waterfall?” a man asked…
Bringing the Trail Crew to you! This is the first in our “Interview with a Volunteer” series that we’ll be using to bring the fun of being a Trailkeeper to you while you stay safe at home.
Kim Kovacs is TKO’s Volunteer Coordinator. She’s also a trail crew leader; she lead a crew at Oxbow Regional Park every month last year! She’s also hosted several groups out on trails in the Gorge. As of this publication, Kim has logged 132 trail parties with TKO! We asked her a few questions about her roles in the organization.
Can you describe your work as Volunteer Coordinator?
After a back injury sidelined me for several months, I begged and pleaded with the TKO staff to give me something – anything – to do. They graciously gave me the post of volunteer Volunteer Coordinator. My “job description” has me responsible for a number of back office duties: I monitor the general volunteer email inbox, I’m generally the first point of contact when someone emails TKO asking about hosting a trail party for a specific group. I work with the other crew leaders to get their events posted in Eventbrite and I produce a weekly “Green Hat Report” which tracks how many trail parties each of our volunteers has completed. When one of our volunteers reaches their fifth trail party I put their name on a spankin’ new green hard hat so it can be awarded at their next trail party. I’m also helping to organize TKO’s crosscut sawyer program.
You are the brains behind the Family Friendly Trail Parties. How is a Family Friendly Trail Party different from a regular work party?
I love the Family Friendly trail parties! They’re different from the regular ones in that they’re geared for kids age 14 and under who might not be up for a full day working with heavy tools. They run from 9:00 to noon (so shorter than our normal 8:30 – 3:30 adult events) and focus on easier activities such as brushing back vegetation or raking leaves off the trail to keep it from getting mucky as the wet weather sets in. Rather than Mcleods or green grubbers, our volunteers mostly use loppers and rakes.
Is there one Family Friendly Trail Party in particular that you found memorable?
They’re all very special and memorable. I do remember one of my earlier efforts, though, during the rainy season. It was cold and raining very hard, and I was sure I’d have a number of cancellations. The three families who’d registered showed up, though, and it was obvious the three little girls who were there were true Oregonians. They proceeded to work in the downpour, laughing and participating and having a great time in spite of the awful weather. Their parents were real troopers, too!
What your favorite thing about being a volunteer with TKO?
I’ve really enjoyed meeting and working with all the great people who are also donating their time and energy to working on the trails. What an awesome bunch of people! Trail parties have become my primary social outlet.
Thanks for reading! We hope this helps get you inspired to join a TKO trail party once we’ve all made it through this. Take care out there!