PHOTO BY PAULA MULLER
Nataya Grekova, right, and Jen Trahant pick up pine needles and dead leaves during the 16th Annual Earth Fest Lynn Woods Clean Up on Saturday.
By MICHELE DURGIN
LYNN — Despite gray skies and rain, more than 150 enthusiastic volunteers arrived early Saturday morning for 16th Annual Earth Fest Lynn Woods Clean Up.
Sponsored by Friends of Lynn Woods, the event is an effort to pick up litter and plant trees on a portion of the forest in West Lynn.
“This is my ninth year here,” said Susan Downey, a volunteer. “Folks come together because they care, plain and simple. I like to participate and see people uniting to accomplish a goal, and keeping Lynn Woods beautiful is a wonderful goal. Oh, and I also love meeting new people.”
Lynn Woods Reservation is a 2,200-acre, city-owned forest off Walnut Street. Created in 1881, it provides North Shore residents an opportunity to get away from the city, yet still be close to home. It’s open year round, from sunrise until sunset. There are marked hiking and bike riding trails. Horseback riding and dog walking are permitted. There are also several attractions including the Rose Garden, where weddings are held, along with Dungeon Rock, Stone Tower and two picnic areas.
Karen Searles, a member of the Friends of Lynn Woods board of directors, said she is committed to preserving the reservation and hopes people continue to make its upkeep a priority.
“People come here from all over the world,” she said. “Three years ago, I was here on Clean Up Day and I met two young men from Great Britain who were biking through the reservation. They were very impressed with the surroundings. As they were leaving, one of them turned to me and said, ‘This place is brilliant.’ I was so proud and happy to agree with him.”
There was a large contingent of volunteers from North Shore Community College, led by Brian Falter, assistant coordinator of student life.
“I’m hoping that today is a positive, giving back to the community event for this group,” he said. “It’s important that we are a part of Lynn, not just located in Lynn.”
Becky Jones, youth coordinator for the New American Center, which assists immigrants new to the area, came to clean-up with a group from the nonprofit. The 10 volunteers, who range in age from 13-19, are from Nepal, Sudan, and Uganda. They expressed enthusiasm to be at Lynn Woods for the first time.
“I think this is a wonderful opportunity for these teens who are new to the city of Lynn,” Jones said. “This will help to make it feel like home and it’s a chance to give back in a meaningful way.”
Overseen by the Department of Public Works, Park Commission and Lynn Water & Sewer Commission, the Lynn Woods encompasses nearly 20 percent of the land area of the city.
”It’s a nice turnout and I’m really enjoying the day,” Small said. “It’s not about how many people come. It’s about how much actual work they get done, and this has been a hardworking group today.”