Children (and adults) sat captivated as they watched raptor exports hold and discuss an owl and a hawk. Other children (and adults) worked to make the bike trails near Riverside Park better places for bicyclists of all ages to enjoy.

The two events were separate Earth Day events organized by two organizations. The Benton County Conservation Department invited residents to Rodgers Park for a variety of activities. The Vinton Off Road Cyclists (VORC) members organized a bike trail project. Dozens of volunteers, including a team of AmeriCorps NCCC members spent the morning removing fallen branches and repairing the trail.

“I think we had somewhere around 70 FEMA Corps workers, Lions, VORC members and other citizens come help fr

After (top) and before the clean-up day: A big difference.

om 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” said VORC member Ashley Hesson. “The trail area got a complete face lift; it doesn’t even look like the same space in some areas.”

During the seven-hour project, invasive plants and fallen trees were removed, as well as wire fencing, tires, old concrete posts, and all kinds of other garbage. A new trail was bench cut.

“Countless mountains of brush are evidence of the work done – and those are headed to the brush dump on Monday,” Hesson said. “It was a great day for our trails and the community.”

See more photos below:

Rodgers Park

Trail clean-up