Volunteer Spotlight: Katie Parker
The Forest Park Conservancy is thrilled to have volunteers like Katie Parker who love Forest Park and don’t mind breaking a sweat for its sake. Katie can often be found in Forest Park, either running the trails with friends or volunteering with The Forest Park Conservancy (FPC) to help keep the trails in top condition. To learn more about Katie and her Forest Park experience, we asked her a few questions.
Mikala: How would you describe your relationship with Forest Park?
Katie: Growing up in Portland, my mom used to take my brother and me to the park when we were young. I rediscovered the park early in my college years when I got into running for the sake of running, rather than as a training tool for various athletics.
M: What sorts of athletics are you involved with?
K: I run Hood to Coast most years. I've also done Cascade Lakes Relays and the Wild Rogue Relay. Over the years, I've played on teams in kickball, basketball, soccer, etc. Nowadays, I mostly play ultimate Frisbee (shout to my team Tire Fire, which just won Oregon sectionals) and run relay races.
M: So, why volunteer with FPC?
K: I spend a lot of time in the park and think it’s such a valuable resource for our city. I’m grateful to have it and I wanted to do my part to help out and be sure it’s in good shape for others to use.
M: What do you like best about volunteering?
K: It’s fun. The people who volunteer to clean up parks are without exception kind and generous people. I enjoy getting to know many of the regulars who have been coming out every week for years. Another aspect I really enjoy is learning about the plants and wildlife and what goes into maintaining the trails. Every week I’m out there I learn something new.
M: What do you do outside of Forest Park (in the “real world")?
K: For the past decade I've been an accountant, but I wanted to make a career change so now I’m back in school studying chemistry and physics in preparation to apply for physical therapy programs. It’s a big change for me, but I’m excited about the opportunities it has allowed this past year…including my involvement with FPC!