AmeriCorps Helps Restore Fort Smith Park

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AmeriCorps members work a community service project in Fort Smith Saturday. The team, which travels across the nation, helped local volunteers restore overgrown Ruth Armstrong Nature Area.

Alison Litchey with Fort Smith Parks and Recreation says the community has been working for years to transform the park, which is also a bird sanctuary.

"We're trying to enable, so birds can actually have a good time in here,” says Litchey, “Once we clear out all the privet and invasive species, we're going to plant native species and things like that so the birds will have a better habitat."

Volunteers like David Roberts helped cut down trees and hauled brush.

"It was so overgrown that it was kind of sterile and useless for all the animals,” says Roberts, “Plus, we like to walk in it. It's a beautiful nature area right down the hill from our houses."

Around 30 people donated their time to cleaning up the nature area across from Creekmore Park making it more enjoyable for the entire community.

"We're super grateful and amazed that they've come out and done all this cause this is one of those projects we wouldn't be able to do without them," says Litchey.

The volunteers worked alongside members of AmeriCorps hauling wheel barrels and improving eroded and overgrown trails.

"Building ramps on the bridges, so it's not like a big gap, so its biker friendly and just creating a new trail head so it's easier to go out to the corner," says AmeriCorps member Melinda Kelly.

She says woodchips from all the trees could also be used to spread along the trails.

"We create a day of service and it's basically just to get the community to come out and get together, have a little fun, and do a little work for the greater good," says Kelly.

AmeriCorps is a nationwide ten month community service project. It’s federally funded and is for those 18 to 24.