Amazing Friends of McMichael Park volunteer: Geoff Brock

What did you love about volunteering in McMichael Park?
Sense of community.  Interacting with my neighbors. Seeing results as the condition and beauty of the park continued to improve.
What volunteer moment are you most proud of?
Keeping Alexis from murdering Mike DiBerardinis, then Recreation Commissioner, even though he deserved it.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome regarding being a park volunteer?
Aside from getting older, none.  But we do need more young folks to receive the torch.  Those that come out now are an encouragement.
How many years did you volunteer in McMichael Park and what inspired you to keep participating?
Since the 1980s.  This is our community.  While the City has responsibility for it, we know that for many reasons, the City will not provide satisfactory services for maintaining this space.  The photos I took in 1984 convincingly make this point.  Nothing is sustainable without on-going commitment of creativity, materials and labor.  This is what we, together, bring to this park.  I occasionally look at the old photos and get encouraged by the current condition of the park.  There’s still more to do, though.
What advice do you have for other friends/volunteers?
First, go into the park often and enjoy it. Communicate with each other about what you see.  This could be something positive you wish to share or a sprig of poison ivy that needs to be pulled out.  Get on the social media sites for the park.  Back when the park was somewhat of an unmaintained hell hole, people tended not to go in there. Consequently, it attracted dumping, sketchy characters (including a murder), etc.  With community members regularly in the park, it tends to discourage abuse.  And while you’re there, feel free to pick up a few fallen branches and place them by a trash can.  

McMichael Park – 1984. Grass was sky high. The bushes around the War Memorial required the FOMP volunteers to prune and maintain annually. Eventually they were removed.

Geoff continues to volunteer in McMichael Park.  Photo from Spring/2019 Love Your Park Service Day.
McMichael Park – 1984. Trash cans were overflowing which attracted rodents. The FOMP pruned all trees twenty feet from the base for safety reasons. Park usage increased as the Friends continued to maintain.