Park Volunteers of the Year for 2002 – Karin DuPaul and Karlyn Eckman
We normally do not give out Park Volunteer awards to two people, but these two people have done identical activities in two different areas of the city. They are Karin DuPaul from the Swede Hollow areas and Karlyn Eckman from St. Anthony Park. These women are two outstanding leaders in the protection and promotion of parks.
Karin was nominated by the Friends of Swede Hollow. Karin has been a passionate advocate for Swede Hollow Park for many years, president of a number of community organizations and a member of the steering committee for the development of a new city park, the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary at Lower Phalen Creek. She also served on the Trout Brook-Lower Phalen Greenway Task Force in 2000-01.
Karin DuPaul has been a tireless and committed advocate for Swede Hollow Park since 1978 when she formed the Swede Hollow Task Force, a community group dedicated to park issues. She founded the Upper Swede Hollow Neighborhood Association in 1982, was its president from 1982-1999 and currently is Vice President. This year Karin took the initiative to work towards non-profit status for the Friends of Swede Hollow group. She is now president of this organization as well. The Friends of Swede Hollow is an organization that works in partnership with the St. Paul Department of Parks and Recreation as well as many other groups to improve the quality of the park through cleanups, removal of invasive species, the planting of native plants and holding events, such as hayrides, to enhance the enjoyment of the park.
As a member of Friends of Swede Hollow, Karin has written and received a number of grants to create the Hamm’s Mansion Woodland Wildflower Garden in the upper east section of Swede Hollow Park on the site of the Hamm’s mansion foundation. Over the years this section of the park had become a neglected section of Swede Hollow, overgrown with buckthorn and impenetrable to visitors. Over the past three years, the Wildflower Garden has been planted with a wide variety of native woodland species, has a walking path and has become a desirable place to visit.
Karin has introduced countless people to the environment and history of the parks on the East Side of St. Paul through her monthly Take a Hike walks, which she began in 1990. On these walks, she leads groups of people from Mounds Park along the Bruce Vento Trails, through Swede Hollow Park and out to Lake Phalen Park. She created a historical pamphlet, the Swede Hollow Walking Tour, complete with historical photographs and information to enhance the visitors understanding of the park’s rich history.
Karin also received a grant for the Friends of Swede Hollow this year from the Friends to establish a garden on the Mowry Garden Site, located on the south side of the upper section of Swede Hollow Park, adjacent to Mowry Street. It is the goal of the Friends of Swede Hollow to restore this piece of park to a more natural condition, with plants representative of the vegetation that might have naturally occurred on the site.
Karin is truly a local hero on the East Side –a person whose dedication has changed the face of her community for the better through sustained and thoughtful participation.
Karlyn was nominated by the Environment Committee of the St. Anthony Park Community Council. Karlyn is the primary organizer of the Annual Kasota Pond Clean-Up for at least the last five years. She first began organizing these clean-ups 13 years ago. Each year the involvement grows. The 2003 Annual Kasota Pond Clean-Up brought in a record breaking 60+ volunteers, who collected over 70 bags of waste.
Karlyn is the co-author and primary organizer of the 2003 DNR Conservation Partners Grant. Through the grant, Karlyn is leading several local residents, who are also environmental professionals, to help with various activities including planting native vegetation, shoreline restoration, provision of turtle basking and nesting sites, control of road runoff, and removal of invasive species. She is organizing neighborhood volunteers to monitor pond water and habitat, and take a neighborhood bird census. A variety of educational activities with local groups and schools are planned throughout 2003 including tours of the Kasota Ponds which she leads.
Karlyn is the co-author of the DNR Metro Greenways Grant for the St. Anthony Park Natural Resources Inventory and Planning Initiative. Through this grant and Karlyn’s work, the Community Council was able to conduct and complete a natural resources baseline inventory, with the purpose of protecting, conserving, and enhancing the habitat value of existing natural resources. Karlyn led a core team of six environmental professionals and over 40 citizen volunteers. Field studies were conducted on aquatic entomology, fisheries, turtles, mammals, birds, aquatic vegetation, water quality, hydrology, forestry, and soils.
She has authored several environmentally related articles, over the past five years, in The Park Bugle, and the St. Anthony Park Community Newsletter, the Networker.
Karlyn is the co-organizer and primary volunteer surveyor in a joint effort with the City of St. Paul Forestry Department to map and inventory all park and boulevard trees in St. Anthony Park. She began this project in the spring of 2001 in order to better monitor the health of the trees in the neighborhood.
Karlyn is a volunteer commissioner on the Mississippi River Watershed Management Organization, a very active member of the St. Anthony Park Environment Committee, and was instrumental in galvanizing a grassroots neighborhood campaign to stop the development of a gas station in the Kasota pond greenspace in 1998-1999.
Karlyn dedication to safe-guarding and improving the quality of the natural areas in the St. Anthony neighborhood is inspiring and well worth recognizing.
Bruce was nominated by Shannon Stewart, Volunteer Coordinator for Tamarack Nature Center. Bruce has dedicated over 1100 hours volunteering at the Nature Center. He has been a trail guide for preschool as well as school age programs. He is around to help the staff with any special event and has even dressed up as a voyageur. Bruce has cleared brush, burned brush, and hauled garbage. Bruce is always willing to make suggestions on how to improve programs or the nature center itself. Bruce is truly an asset to Tamarack Nature Center.
Recognition of retiring board members:
Perry came on the board in 1989 shortly after the Friends was established. He also served on the Task Force which, from 1988 to 1989 which developed the Plan for Parks, Trails and Open Space, a framework for guiding the park systems into the 21 century. He served as President of the Friends from 1998 to 2000. He moved to Crystal about a year ago, and it is difficult to attend the board meetings so he has chosen not to remain on the board.
Jerrilyn came on the board in 2000. She works in parks and recreation for the University of Minnesota. She contributed a lot to the Friends during her short time on the board.
We want to thank these two people for all they have done for the Friends of the Parks.