Any St. Thomas runner can be found multiple times a week just down the road at Memorial Park, working out in their outdoor fitness center or running around its three-mile loop.
The park has become one of the team’s favorite places to go for early morning practice or workouts, and the familiar group has built a reputation of dedication within the park throughout its many years frequenting it.
This weekend, the team showed its appreciation.
On Saturday, February 4th, athletes on the cross country and track teams met early in the morning at Memorial Park to give back to the place that has given so much to them.
“The distance crew uses the park on a weekly basis, we also host two events there yearly … It is a great opportunity for St. Thomas’ Track and Field team to give back,”
Nathan Labus, Head Cross Country and Track coach
The team helped directors of the Memorial Park Conservancy to maintain the wildlife surrounding the famed running trail. Their primary tasks consisted of cleaning the bricks that bear the names of prominent park donors in front of the tennis center, clearing a patch of pine trees from harmful invasive species, and picking up litter. The two and a half hours that the team spent mending the area ensured the trees will have improved growth for years to come.
“Thanks to [volunteers], we will be able to complete the much needed development of the long-range master plan for Memorial Park, continuing to replant portions of the forest while also overseeing ongoing efforts to improve and care for the Park … Public and private support for Memorial Park is critical to ensuring that tomorrow’s generation has a beautiful and enduring urban green space,”
Jim Porter, Conservancy Chairman
Memorial Park is an oasis of nature and relaxation nestled in the middle of urban Houston, surrounded by the business of downtown and the pollution of the 610 loop. It is one of Houston’s finest gems, the last holdout of green in an ever-expanding landscape of gray. With over 4,000,000 visitors each year, the service of volunteers is crucial for its longevity.
The park also has a fascinating history hidden within its trees.
“Many people do not realize it, but the park was built in 1917 for the 130th Infantry at Camp Logan, the World War I-era Army training facility after which Memorial Park is named,” Labus explains.
Throughout the years, many Houston historians or lucky volunteers have found WWI artifacts, bullets, and remnants of trenches in the park, evidence of the days of Memorial’s infancy.
The park’s volunteer program features over 40 events a year, involving over 2,000 volunteers who put in over 6,800 hours of work into improving the park.
For information about how you can get involved and volunteer or donate to Memorial Park, visit http://memorialparkconservancy.org/volunteer.html