Collegian file photo

Spring Green keeps parks clean


Student volunteers, like Cristobal Mendoza, planted trees within the first hour of the Spring Green event before setting up posts and raking leaves in the Hinton Community Center park.
Roe Borunda / The Collegian

Spring Green, a volunteer event presented by the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning, built trails and planted trees Saturday morning to benefit children and students who will visit the parks and preservations in the future.

About 20 Fresno State students volunteered to plant trees in Hinton Community Center in southwest Fresno and build hiking trails at the Fine Gold Creek Preserve in the foothills.

Daniel Ward, a reflection facilitator for the Spring Green event, said there was a definite need for new trails to be built.

“It’s used for elementary school students to come and experience the outdoors,” he said.

Spring Green is one of three annual events put on by the Jan and Bud Richter Center for volunteers. The other two, Saving Fresno Day and Make A Difference Day, take place in the fall.

Song Vang, a reflection facilitator and participant in the building of the hiking trails, said many students from Fresno State hadn’t previously been to the mountains before, so it was a rewarding experience to see something they didn’t know existed.

“It’s just interesting to see their faces light up, so it provides them the opportunity,” Vang said. “If we didn’t build these trails, there would be no way for the buses to come up, and it would make it harder for the students to come up and walk to the creek.”

As a reflection facilitator, Vang was on-scene to interact with students, help them feel comfortable and help them have a good time.

“We just want to make an environment that is open and makes you feel comfortable, to feel as though they are one and are a team,” Vang said.

She said she liked to see the volunteers’ faces after a hard day’s work and wants to share the history of the area instead of the experience of pure manual labor.

“We interact with the students,” she said. “Prior to that, we really bring in the educational aspect of it. We bring in the story behind it and why we are doing the project we are doing. A lot of times, students just volunteer because they are there, but for us, we go deeper with the history behind why Fresno State is connected with them.”

Spring Green takes place annually, and the Richter Center receives feedback from the volunteers that is designed to make the next event better for the volunteers.

Vang said she has gotten great feedback from students who had volunteered in the past tom make future events better.

Students that were sent to Hinton Park finished planting trees within the first hour and spent the rest of the time setting up posts, raking leaves and painting the park.

“When you get those people out there, they see the beauty that is inherent to the country,” Ward said. “They become more aware of their actions and ways that they can help keep this green area of this nice outdoor area going strong for an indefinite time.”