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Park volunteers get their own newsletter

By LARRY DI GIOVANNI News Staff Reporter

MOUNT VERNON — There are more than 80 volunteers who commit time and effort to make the Knox County Park District and its seven parks thrive. They take on tasks such as removing invasive plant species, clearing trails, monitoring butterflies or blue bird boxes, or helping out with seasonal events like Passport to Fishing, Barktoberfest or Fire and Ice at Honey Run Waterfall park.

Some of the volunteers help out with considerably more than one task during the year, yet what they do is often done behind the scenes without expectation of accolades.

However, recognition is always a good thing, park leadership members say, and the volunteers are deserving of a bit coming their way. That was the case when they were recognized this past year during a Volunteer Recognition dinner held on the Bridge of Dreams.

And now, every other month for a total of six months per year, they will be recognized through a Volunteer Appreciation Newsletter that has made its debut with a winter issue. Katie Hux, park district administrative assistant, is using a digital program, iContact, to produce the newsletter, which is emailed to volunteers and can also be found at the Knox County Park District website knoxcountyparks.org. In addition, Hux is working on a Knox County Park District video using a program called Animoto.

“We wanted to get the newsletter out right around Christmas as a way to wrap up the past year’s events in our parks,” said Hux, who writes the newsletter copy while working closely on it with park district Director Lori Totman.

Hux said with the small staff it has, the Knox County Park District relies on volunteers and would not be able to provide a worthwhile park experience to visitors and local residents alike without their selfless efforts.

Writing in the newsletter’s first issue, Hux states “As you know, maintaining the county parks and trails is never-ending in all seasons, as grass continues to grow, trash cans need emptied, trails need cleared from downed trees, and blown off after storms, and tree growth and vegetation need managed ... Volunteers are abundant throughout the Knox County Park District and we would like to highlight and commend them for their efforts and unwavering support throughout the year.”

One of the newsletter sections is called “Meet A Few Volunteers,” in which Hux writes brief descriptions of park volunteers, which parks are their favorites, and how they have made a difference through park volunteerism.

Speaking of volunteer Marica Crim, for example, Hux notes that she is a life- See PARKS on Page 3A

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long Knox County resident who has been a park distirct volunteer for five years. “Marcia feels her greatest accomplishment as a volunteer is seeing the difference in the appearance of the Woodlands Trail at Wolf Run Regional Park,” Hux writes. “Marcia and other volunteers remove invasive garlic mustard and multi-flora rose around the ferns and other native plants along the trail.”

The newsletter, in addition to asking those who wish to become Knox County Park District volunteers to call (740) 392-7275, also lists all park district volunteers by name for recognition purposes and the areas in which they volunteer.

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