FACTORYVILLE — In honor of Arbor Day, the Factoryville Shade Tree Commission continued to keep Christy Mathewson Park beautiful with its annual cleanup on Saturday, April 23.
“It’s a worthwhile community effort that keeps the park beautiful,” said shade tree commission member Lisa Logan Clough, who also acknowledged that the Christy Mathewson Little League cleaned the park’s baseball field the week before.
Volunteers included 14 Keystone College students. Bryan McIntyre, president of Keystone’s student government and resident of Waverly, volunteered because he has a commitment to do service work once a month.
Maria Fanning, coordinator of Civic Engagement & Service Learning at the college, led these students’ participation in the park cleanup.
“Maria Fanning loves to work with the local community,” said McIntyre. “So every opportunity she gets to reach out and be active in a community in any sort of way, she takes advantage of it, and this is an extension of that.”
After their help to clean up the park, the Keystone College students went to a part of Route 6 & 11, which Keystone College sponsors, for their annual highway cleanup.
“I can palpably feel the fact that I’m making the community a better place,” said McIntyre. “I can see and actually know that what I’m doing is improving my immediate community.
Borough grant writer Sadie Rozenburg also volunteered to help along with her father Steve Stearns. Sadie helped clean the park because her children, 4-year-old Asher and 7-year-old Charlotte, play in the park’s playground and the nearby creek. She also takes Charlotte to Lackawanna Trail Elementary School by walking through the park.
Part-time borough employee Ron Johnson, who last year helped place news installments at Christy Mathewson Park such as play pockets and new restrooms, hauled the raked leaves in a Skidsteer. He said that since the flood of 2006, the Factoryville Shade Tree Commission has been preventing the ground from erosion by planting vegetation.
Volunteers at the park cleanup also spread mulch to add more gardens to the area. The shade tree commission has an Adopt-A-Garden program, in which individuals, families, or organizations are able to take care of a garden at Christy Mathewson Park.
“Anyone who’s interested in adopting a garden, just call the Factoryville Borough Hall and they can sign up,” said Clough.
The Factoryville Shade Tree Commission will show that person or organization the available areas for the garden. The commission members will plant the tree or plants, and the adopter maintains the garden. The Trail Rotary Club, of which Clough is the secretary, is currently adopting a saucer magnolia. The Wyoming County Juvenile Probation is adopting a weeping willow.
Factoryville resident Eric Petersen volunteered by helping to lay the mulch on the ground. He explained that all this much is needed to make the ground spongy so that if a child flies off a swing, the mulch will cushion the fall. Petersen also said that he also does work at the park cleanups for Joint Municipal Park, which is also located in Factoryville.
“Managing both of these (parks) is quite a task,” he said. “The more people that come to these (cleanups), the better.”
Eric’s wife, Erika Petersen, also volunteered at the cleanup, where she raked leaves.
Factoryville resident Jen Brode, who walks her two dogs Elwood and Midnight through the park, also raked leaves. She notices how beautiful the park can be once the community becomes involved and people take care of a certain little part of the park.
“You have the different groups taking care of different plots like the Factoryville Women’s Civic League takes care of one plot,” she said. “The Keystone College students take care of the creek bed near the college.”
During the park cleanup, the Factoryville Shade Tree Commission planted a new addition to the park — a pink flowering dogwood. Factoryville Mayor Gary Evans recited a proclamation giving a little history of Arbor Day and claiming April 23, 2016 as Arbor Day.