GREENWAYS | When did you start working with Greenways Land Trust?
SHERRILL | I first got in contact with Greenways in 2011 regarding the launch of the Laughing Willow Community Garden. When I moved to Campbell River in 2010 I noticed a request in the paper in which a young mom was looking for supporters to turn a run-down playground on Simms Road in Willow Point. She lobbied for the property to be turned into a community garden and have children involved. I was enthusiastic about that idea, got in touch with her and with the help of the City of Campbell River and a lot of other sponsors we founded the Laughing Willow Community Garden. We had beds, a shed and a fence build and pretty much everything else such as sand and soil got also donated to the garden. 2011 was our first planting season. Greenways has an umbrella function together with the three member garden committee, of which I am one. I function as the contact person, secretary. We are governing ourselves together with Greenways.
GREENWAYS | How do you primarily spend your time when you are not volunteering for Greenways?
SHERRILL | I work casually at Berwick by the Sea as a receptionist, I dragon boat, volunteer at the Tidemark Theatre, I garden and am on the garden committee.
GREENWAYS | What do you think is Greenways’ biggest success that you have been a part of?
SHERRILL | The Laughing Willow Community Garden is my happy place and it is a great success. We have about half of the gardeners return every year. This is fantastic and gives us the possibility to accommodate the people on the waitlist. The gardeners automatically become Greenways’ members and so they get some nice advantages along the way. My love is the garden and I enjoy it so much.
GREENWAYS | How would you describe the CR community regarding volunteer engagement?
SHERRILL | It is amazing in every aspect. Especially having the central Campbell River Volunteer Center in town is fantastic. This is the smallest place I have ever lived in. I was raised on a farm and ever since I have always lived in big cities. Campbell River has a great sense of community. It is wonderful. The community really gives back by volunteering a lot. This also shows in our dragon boat team “River Spirit” of which I am the vice president. We are helping people and go to people to ask for help. It is about creating awareness for breast cancer as we are a breast cancer based team. In the 1990s a UBC professor worked on proving that exercise is good for breast cancer survivors and these days there is at least 150 dragon boat teams around the world. We got two boats that are currently docked at the Tyee Club and we usually go out into the estuary twice a week to exercise. Dragon boating was a life changer for me.
GREENWAYS | Which is your favorite CR greenway and why?
SHERRILL | The newly improved Canyon View Trail is my favorite greenway in Campbell River.
GREENWAYS | If you had a magic ball that would let you see ten years into the future, how would CR and its greenways have improved?
SHERRILL | I am hoping for more community gardens to be up and running by that time. Also a central composting system would be a great resource to have in our community. A place where people could take their compost. It would be great to have a professional pick up system in place, as we do have for the blue recycling bins and our household garbage. It is wonderful to know that the City of Campbell River is already taking action on this as we speak. We pile too many things in garbage bags and it sits in there for years and years. It would be great to reduce our amounts of waste and optimize our recycling systems.
GREENWAYS | What rewards do you receive from volunteering?
SHERRILL | I receive much more than I give. I don’t volunteer because I expect to receive something in return. I am a people person and I enjoy the networking that naturally comes along with volunteering. Sometimes these connections and experiences also get you into a new paid occupations. It is a win-win for organizations as well as the individuals. The volunteering I do is dealing with things that I am passionate about so it does not even feel like work. I am passionate about all these things: the garden, the dragon boating, Berwick and the theatre.