Spotlight on Volunteers: Kevin Shanley
Finding the balance between natural systems and human access to those spaces is a passion for Kevin Shanley, whom we are fortunate to have as one of our new board members.
A landscape architect for the last 40 years, Kevin is a principal at the leading landscape architecture group, SWA, and has practiced internationally. He’s won a slew of awards for his work, which largely include public parks and large-scale urban design projects with a focus on water and rivers. His nonprofit experience is substantial as well, having been Chairman of the Board for a 40-year-old river advocacy group in Houston and having served on multiple other boards.
Kevin discovered Buford Park a year ago, within the first week of his move to Eugene, and decided immediately that, “It just seems like an opportunity for the whole region. It’s a remarkable place.”
His primary interest as a board member is working on the regional trail system as it ties into Buford Park. Kevin sees as a puzzle worth solving the fact that, “The only way to get there is to drive, but it’s totally within hiking and biking distance of the majority of the Eugene/Springfield population. That’s a missing piece that ought to be high on our priorities to solve. It’s tricky because you have big rivers and stewardship issues and landowner issues. The park can and should be better connected to the community that supports it.”
As such, Kevin is the board liaison to our Trails Committee and is involved in planning discussions on behalf of the Friends about the trail system. Stay tuned for updates on Kevin’s work!
Spotlight on Volunteers: Sandra Mayne
Sandra Mayne says that the devotion of the volunteers was the first thing about Friends that impressed her and ultimately drew her to commit as much as 12 hours weekly at our native plant nursery. “I really love all the people out there. I feel like everyone is funny and conscious. They all put in a lot of time,” said Sandra.
Sandra laughs often and her voice booms with enthusiasm as she describes her enjoyment of the work and the people with whom she works. “I love going out there. It is a nice part of my day,” says Sandra. She wanted to see her work come full circle from the preparation and planting in the winter months when she started as an intern to the harvesting and gathering in the spring, so decided to stay on as a volunteer.
In doing so, Sandra joins the ranks of a handful of dedicated volunteers who regularly care for the plants in our two-acre native plant nursery, where the Friends grow plant material for restoration projects in the park and in close proximity. In addition to these weekly volunteers, who attend our Tuesday, Thursday and 1st/3rd Saturday morning nursery work parties, there are at least 150 volunteers who participate in one-time work parties at the nursery through their workplace, school, or congregation.
Sandra also wanted to continue working with the Friends so that she could engage in restoration projects outside of the nursery. This spring Sandra has been helping survey the vegetation in Turtle Flats with Friends Stewardship Coordinator, Jason Blazar. Sandra is mapping vegetation layers and delineating the plant life found in Turtle Flats. Her work will be used to aid in the restoration of Turtle Flats.
Sandra transferred to the University of Oregon from Portland where she attended Portland Community College and waited tables. This spring she graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in biology. Sandra’s next move is to California for a seasonal field work position.
Sandra says shared, “The nursery gave me a place where I could put energy into something I feel strongly about, restoration. I will miss listening to the birds while I collect seeds and all the people that help make it a unique place.”
Spotlight on Volunteers: Aryana Ferguson
On any given day one might find Aryana Ferguson strolling the trails of Buford Park, enjoying the natural beauty of the place. Moreover, even when she isn’t volunteering, Aryana is constantly on the look out for ways she can improve her surroundings by keeping an eye out for invasive species. “If I hike the hill, I just keep my eye out,” says Aryana.
Buford Park has become a home away from home for Aryana simply based on the amount of time she has spent improving it over the years. Aryana has been a member of the Stewardship and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) for almost 13 years now, and she truly enjoys what she is doing. “STAC committee is just a hoot. We are all on the same page and we have a lot of fun in our meetings. We are all devoted to the same cause,” she said.
Aryana’s work moves Buford and Friends of Mt. Pisgah towards achieving its restoration goals for the park. As a restoration ecologist, she brings specified knowledge and expertise to the discussion and has served on several sub-committees including the South Meadow Restoration Sub-Committee and the Genetics Sub-Committee. On STAC, Aryana helps determine issues pertaining to genetics and seed sourcing for both plants in the park and plants that are sold and shared from the Nursery. She also surveys areas of Buford Park for invasive species in order to keep Buford looking beautiful and its ecosystems healthy.
Aryana decided to join the Friends of Buford Park & Mt. Pisgah team after an inspiring visit to the South Meadow to look at the restoration work being done. Aryana was instantly hooked. “I saw an organization that was doing great work and wanted to be a part of it,” she said. We’re so glad she is!