GREENWAYS | When did you start working with Greenways Land Trust?
LAUREL | I first noticed Greenways Land Trust at the Chum Derby in 2012. I fished a lot those days. In the following year they were there again with a booth and I reached out to Erin Nowak to learn more about what they do.
GREENWAYS | How do you primarily spend your time when you are not volunteering for Greenways?
LAUREL | In my leisure time I try to enjoy the outdoors as much as I can. I have a season’s pass for Mount Washington in the winter. In the summer time I ride my hybrid and mountain bikes on trails and the Sea Walk. I also volunteer with other organizations like the YPCR, the Young Professionals of Campbell River. I am their current president which takes up a lot of my time and energy – in a really positive way. In my work life I am also heavily involved in the leisure industry. I have a research company called the Sociable Scientists, I teach part-time at the North Island College in the tourism program, in the summer I am a bike tour guide with Island Joy Rides and I pour beer at Beach Fire Brewing.
GREENWAYS | What do you think is Greenways’ biggest success that you have been a part of?
LAUREL | The Adopt-A-Trail program that Greenways runs is very valuable and accessible for all users of the trails in the Beaver Lodge Forest Lands. Unfortunately it runs a little bit under the radar. We need more Adopt-A-Trailers in Campbell River. It is an easy program for people to participate in because it is so well supported and lots of us are out there anyways, riding our bikes or walking our dogs. When I adopted my Butterfly Trail two years ago, I got a 1-on-1 introduction on the trail about how to maintain it: signage, drainage, debris, disposal, (invasive) plants, the beaver pond, emergency contacts. Sometimes I bring friends there as well – it is great being out and getting your hands dirty.
GREENWAYS | How would you describe the CR community regarding volunteer engagement?
LAUREL | Campbell River’s volunteer engagement is pretty stellar. It is one of the things that I noticed about this community right away. Many people are involved in volunteer work. It is heartwarming to see how many community members are willing to give their time and resources. The amount of sold out fundraisers proves this. A lot of my friends are also part of different boards, applying their skills and using volunteer work to expand their networks or their skill sets. Having said that I think that we can always do more and help to encourage one another even more. We all have the capacity to do something and if you think it takes time away that you would rather spend with your family, then bring your family. There is ways of engagement that makes it possible to involve all ages and abilities. Sometimes timid people also need to be asked to get involved. This is something I see as part of my role of being a leader at the YPCR.
GREENWAYS | Which is your favorite CR greenway and why?
LAUREL | The Beaver Lodge Forest Lands is where I frequent the most. It contributes to my overall health and wellbeing as I bike and walk in there. It provides a diversity of experiences in one greenspace. That is why I decided to adopt the Butterfly Trail a couple years ago.
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?
LAUREL | There would be a greenways Greenways loop. Who wouldn’t benefit from that? It would be a dream coming true to see it actually being completed. It only needs one individual that goes for it. It would be phenomenal and it is so close. It makes me think of all those VIU master planning students who for example worked on the Campbellton designs. This could be one of the next projects that students take on. They could create a draft and do the design work which could then be used to show which steps need to be taken next. Parks and trails are the number one attraction for visitors of communities across Vancouver Island.
Also having more Adopt-A-Trail type programs on any of our trails or park spaces would be a great development for the future. These should not be labeled and represent corporate interests but rather be for the intrinsic reward for individuals or community organizations.
GREENWAYS | What rewards do you receive from volunteering?
LAUREL | I really love where I live and I want to be a part of it’s health and the quality of life we get by living here. It is rewarding to be a part of things and help others to be a part of these things as well.