Appeal tribune. (Silverton, Or.) 1999-current, March 22, 2017, Page 4A, Image 4

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Life in the
Valley y
Earl McCollum leads a guided hike for siblings, Karen Parent, 9, from left, Elisha Parent, 5, and Elsie Parent, 5, of Albany, during the 7th annual Historic Silver Falls Day at Silver Falls State Park on
Saturday, July 9, 2016.
Volunteer time affords
Silver Falls adornment
Sublimity resident Earl McCollum helps brighten community
It would be easy to connect the aes-
thetic appeal of Silver Falls State Park
to the allure of volunteering at the re-
gion’s scenic wonder.
What would be less apparent is con-
necting certain aesthetic adornments at
the park to one of the park’s volunteers.
Friends of Silver Falls State Park
President Lou Nelson makes that con-
nection, and she’s happy to point it out
to anyone within earshot (or “eyeshot”)
of just such an ornamental touch.
Lou explained that each spring when
visitors come to the Nature Store at
Silver Falls, they notice a “lovely bou-
quet of spring flowers” on the table by
the entrance. The flowers come from
the backyard of Sublimity resident Earl
An active octogenarian who is game
for a range of endeavors, from a ses-
sion of tai chi at Santiam Senior Center
to a stint at the aforementioned nature
store, McCollum has been volunteering
at SFSP since 2005.
“Earl is a cheerful person who loves
to tell jokes and work with people,” Lou
said. “Meeting people from all over the
world is one of the things he likes best
about volunteering at the store.”
There’s another benefit, sort of akin
to maintaining an inviting backyard at
your home.
McCollum feels that Silver Falls
State Park is one of the most beautiful
places in Oregon (and it happens to be
in Sublimity’s “backyard”), which in
part is why he enjoys answering visitor
questions about the plants and wildlife
at the park.
“Volunteering at the store is a way to
feel useful and give back to the commu-
nity in a beautiful setting,” Earl said.
Lou added that Earl works well with
the other volunteers and the park rang-
ers. He is one of the volunteers who
lead interpretive walks at the park
beginning with spring vacation through
November, including his flower walk at
2 p.m. each Thursday, which leaves
Earl McCollum of Sublimity, center, Betty McCollum of Sublimity, right, and Susan Braatz of Scio, move during a Tai Chi class at the Santiam
Senior Center in Stayton on Friday, Sept. 18, 2015.
from the main lodge in the day-use
Earl is also an imperative, yet thin-
ning part of the park’s vitality.
“The store is how the Friends get
most of the funds to support or efforts
at the park,” Lou explained. “Due to
illness and other (circumstances), we
are down to 13 volunteers instead of the
30 that we need.”
Friends of Silver Falls State Park
support the educational and interpre-
tive opportunities available to park
visitors and promote the preservation
and protection of park premises. Silver
Falls is the largest and one of the most
popular Oregon’s state parks; it re-
ceived 1,272,680 visitors last year. The
park’s nature store is the primary
source of funds underpinning Friends
Volunteers are needed. Lou
stressed that anyone who would like to
work with “Earl or any of the other
wonderful volunteers,” should contact
Elaine at 503-873-8735 or ad-