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Terra Kemper

Terra Kemper

Park Ranger 3, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Chiloquin, OR

As an Oregon State Park located in Chiloquin, Collier Memorial State Park is incredibly fortunate to host Sierra Service Project volunteers for six service days in the summer. The partnership between Collier and SSP has fostered stewardship in the outdoors for over six years at the day-use area!  When SSP groups first arrive at Collier Park each Adventure Wednesday, I give a brief talk outlining why this park is special to people near and far. This provides context for the service work that makes noticeable improvements in the park.

“SSP volunteers planted over 100 two-year-old ponderosa and lodgepole pine trees with care.”

This past summer SSP volunteers watered the newly established native vegetation that was planted in late May. Volunteers diligently filled their buckets and walked water out to each individual plant, providing it with life-saving moisture. SSP sustained hundreds of plants one bucket of water at a time!

In addition to establishing a native plant population within the park in 2019, SSP volunteers planted over 100 two-year-old Ponderosa & Lodgepole pine trees with care. Thanks to SSP, the forest within the park now has an established succession for when old large trees die. The trees planted by SSP volunteers will be the next generation of the forest for Collier Park! Working with the youth and adult leaders warms my Park Ranger heart, as each group takes my message of caring for their baby tree seriously. This level of care is noticeable in the diligent planting and survival of each tree.

“Working with the youth and adult leaders warms my Park Ranger heart, as each group takes my message of caring for their baby tree seriously.”

Collier Park’s primary natural feature is the Ponderosa Pine Forest. These tall evergreen trees drop a layer of pine needles and cones that Park Rangers cannot keep up with clearing. SSP volunteers helped to remove this layer of pine needle duff, which keeps the day-use area wildfire safe throughout the dry, warm summers here in Chiloquin. The day-use area continues to benefit from this service provided by SSP on an annual basis.

Under the established Adopt-a-Park Agreement between SSP and Collier Memorial State Park, volunteers provided a much-needed facelift to the two picnic shelters by giving them a fresh coat of paint.  They look so good!

“SSP volunteers provided 1,292 service hours at Collier Memorial State Park in 2019, and park staff extend a giant thank you for the love and care.”

Collier Park has just two year-round Park Rangers, myself included. We both always have a list longer than our arm to try to keep up with, and it’s just not possible to get everything done. With the help of SSP volunteers, the native plants survived a dry summer, a forest succession of baby trees was established for generations to come, fire debris was removed to provide a safer area for all, and the picnic shelters look stellar!

Sierra Service Project volunteers provided 1,292 service hours at Collier Memorial State Park in 2019, and park staff extend a giant thank you for the love and care given to Collier Park. We look forward to working with Sierra Service Project youth into the future!

Editor’s Note: Terra and fellow park rangers with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department have collaborated with SSP in Chiloquin, OR on Adventure Wednesday activities for three years. We are grateful for partnerships with our local contacts, as they provide context for the service learning activities SSP volunteers engage in. Learn more about how to support SSP communities through advocacy!