Bearcat Athletes Volunteer for the Salem Community during Into the Streets

Willamette's group adds Bark Chips to Trails at Minto Brown Island Park

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University athletes Josh Dean (Jr., QB, Dana Point, CA/Dana Hills HS), Madisyn Leenstra (Sr., OH/MH, Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS), Mike McGrew (Sr., MF, Portland, OR/Grant HS) and Andi Rowan (Sr., MF, Boise, ID/Timberline HS) helped with a community service project as part of Into the Streets during the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, Jan. 21.

Dean is a member of the WU football team and Leenstra is a volleyball player. McGrew is from the men's soccer team and Rowan is from the women's soccer team.

The Bearcat athletes were part of a group of Willamette students and staff who helped place bark chips and mulch on walking trails at Minto Brown Island Park in Salem, Ore. Willamette's group included the athletes and several other students, as well as President Stephen Thorsett, Head Football Coach Glen Fowles and Athletic Facilities and Operations Manager Rob Passage.

Willamette's group, plus groups from Corban University and Chemeketa Community College combined their efforts at the Minto Brown dog park. The WU students and staff, along with the Chemeketa CC group, focused on the trails at the east end of the dog park, while the Corban group concentrated its efforts at the west end.

"It's an awesome thing to do," Leenstra said. "I have the time ... I'm going to put it to good use."

As dog owners watched their dogs run throughout the park, the WU students and other volunteers brought load after load of bark chips and mulch in wheelbarrows to the various trails, while other workers spread out and flattened the mixture. Their efforts resulted in updated trails throughout the dog park.

"It's pretty interesting McGrew said. "We were each doing all three aspects at first (loading the wheelbarrows, transporting the bark chips, spreading it out). It took about 10 minutes before everyone picked up their own chores to divide the work. And two or three of the dog owners helped, too."

"I have been raking ... all over," Rowan noted. "Teamwork definitely helps. Three of us have been working on this trail (a wide trail in the southeast corner of the dog park) most of the time."

"This is my first time dealing with the the mulch," Dean said. "A nice even coat is what you're looking for. We've done projects similar to this with the football team during the United Way Days of Caring."

The Willamette athletes were able to contribute significantly to the project, while combining their efforts and meeting students from Chemeketa CC and Corban.

"I was aware there were events going on," Dean commented. "I was able to respond and come here and help out and have an enjoyable time."

"It's pretty fun," McGrew said. "One of my interests is community health, so I'm glad to be able to participate."

Into the Streets is an annual community service project for Willamette. It is part of WU's list of special events that are part of the celebration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

Andi Rowan (Soccer)

Andi Rowan (Soccer)

Josh Dean (Football)

Josh Dean (Football)

Madisyn Leenstra (Volleyball)

Madisyn Leenstra (Volleyball)