September 17, 2020

Pandemic Doesn’t Stop Volunteers from Helping

Even a pandemic couldn’t stop volunteers from IU Health West Hospital from playing an important role in preserving our parks.

In a typical year, more than 70 volunteers from the hospital gather in September at a park property for their annual Day of Service. This year, to allow for safe social distancing, Brownsburg Parks worked with IU Health West Hospital to split their usual group activity into multiple projects, including planting a rain garden, painting ornaments for a Hope Tree located on Town Hall Green, and building bat houses. IU Health West donated funds to purchase the materials needed to make the projects possible.

“We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with IU Health West Hospital to improve our natural resources and benefit our community,” said Jonathan Blake, Brownsburg Parks’ assistant director of Operations and Development.

To ensure no large gatherings, volunteers signed up for shifts to help plant the new rain garden at Arbuckle Acres Park in the parking lot near the playground. Several volunteers brought their families along with them to help and learn more about parks. Natural Resources Supervisor Greg Dickenson gave a quick lesson on the importance and purpose of rain gardens before teams began planting native grasses and coneflowers.

“We are homeschooling our two children this year, and for them, this is a major lesson [that] parks belong to everyone, and it’s everyone’s responsibility to help keep them clean, beautiful, and exciting,” said IU West Clinical Staff Pharmacist J.R. Billman.

Volunteers that weren’t looking to get down in the dirt could paint an ornament for the Hope Tree. The goal of the Hope Tree is to “encourage, inspire, and provide comfort for those who need it,” said Krystle Barber, marketing & community outreach associate at IU Health. Brownsburg community members can hang ornaments on the tree, as well. IU Health volunteers will remove the decorations after several weeks.

Volunteers looking for a challenge were tasked with building bat houses. IU Health West donated 10 bat houses to be placed in Arbuckle Acres Park, Cardinal Park, and along the B&O Trail.

Brownsburg Parks is proud to partner with the business community. If your business is interested in volunteering to improve our parks, reach out to Jonathan Blake at