Fremont Middle School’s Future Business Leaders of America were among many community members who showed up Saturday to beautify the Stewart Park Duck Pond.

Organizer Ryan Finlay said more than 30 local volunteers came out to the ponds in Stewart Park to help plant trees, shrubs, and plants as well as spread bark chips across the area. “It’s looking amazing!”

Finlay appreciates Roseburg’s youth getting involved with the community.

“The Douglas County Timbers youth baseball team was a big help last week doing prep work for yesterday’s planting day,” Finlay said. “It was great having Fremont’s FBLA group join us. It’s awesome having our youth join in these projects because I believe it helps build pride and a sense of ownership that can help the community for decades to come.”

The participants had fun doing the community service.

Zoey Godfrey, a member of FBLA, said, “I think it is important to help the community because it makes it a better place.”

Finlay is also thankful for all of the other volunteers that came and helped. “I’m grateful for all the volunteers that came out and worked so hard to improve this area in our park system. Our Roseburg Parks Department has done an incredible job facilitating these volunteer workdays. It’s been great working with them.”

This event was not the first time Finlay arranged a community service project.

“I’ve been organizing community benefit projects through Roseburg Tracker for the past few years, especially in Stewart Park by the ponds and natural areas,” Finlay said. “Yesterday’s planting day was just a continuation of that work.”

Finlay worked with Tracy Pope, the horticulturist for the Parks and Recreation Department at the City of Roseburg, to organize the event. Pope did a lot of work acquiring all the trees and plants that went into the ground.

“The Roseburg Parks Department was also a huge help staging the bark chips, helping dig the tree holes and other site preparation,” Finlay said.

Other people contributed to this event as well.

Roseburg resident Nellie Rue provided refreshments, Luann Urban provided support and Kris and Kirk Riggins donated a dump cart.

There are more plans set for the future. “We plan on having several more work projects at the ponds and surrounding natural areas. There are a lot of invasive weeds, bushes, and trees we are hoping to remove in the months ahead. There are more bark chips to spread on the soft trails,” Finlay said.

It is essential to keep Roseburg’s natural areas clean.

“This area is truly one of the most beautiful places in our city,” Finlay said. “It’s just needed some love, and it’s awesome to see the community, the City of Roseburg, and the Parks Department step up and invest together in our parks and natural areas. It’s a powerful thing when people start asking, ‘How can I help?’”

Editor’s note: Zoey Godfrey is the daughter of Sanne Godfrey, a reporter for The News-Review.

Skylar Knox is a seventh grade student at Fremont Middle School in Roseburg and contributing reporter to The News-Review. Skylar is also the president of Fremont FBLA. Her work can found online at

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When are they going to clean up the bums that are camped there?

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