Serin Van Dyke joined us last summer, and has not only become an integral part of our team of Nature Guides and Nature Center Volunteers, she has also taken on administrative projects large and small, supporting our work behind the scenes with her amazing engineering mind.
Serin brings an incredible set of skills to Tryon Creek, from her wealth of nature knowledge and group leadership to her powerhouse of administrative skills—and a wonderfully positive attitude to boot! We are so lucky to work with this stellar volunteer.
Where is your hometown, and where else have you lived?
I was born in Portland and have lived here my entire life. My grandparents, parents and my husband are also lifelong Oregonians.
Where else have you volunteered?
Many years ago, I volunteered at Portland Audubon Society. I lead educational tours and worked in the bookstore, while also doing some wildlife rehab at home. I loved my time up there and recently decided to get back into a volunteer role with a similar organization. I also volunteer at my children’s school, Irvington Elementary, working in the classrooms and our annual auction.
What are some of your favorite hobbies or pastimes?
I love camping and hiking. My family has a plot of land in Zigzag, OR and we spend most weekends sitting around the campfire and working on projects in our forest. We love building things and so far have a bridge, outhouse, tree-fort and are currently working on a yurt. I spend a lot of time hanging out with my two fun kids, Kira 10 and Calvin 8 and my Australian Shepherd puppy. I love to ski in the winter and we spend time traveling the world as much as we can.
What do you enjoy about volunteering at Tryon Creek?
I love my time here at Tryon Creek, because it allows me return to my passion of nature and environmental education for the general public which I believe is critical in this modern age of technology and concrete. I get excited when I see kids engaging with the forest in ways they have not had the opportunity to do before. I like to share my enthusiasm about all of the plants and animals that we have around us and I hope that the kids get to take that home and share that experience with their families.
What do you think makes this park unique compared with other parks around Portland?
The proximity to the city and the well -maintained trails make Tryon Creek a great place to hike. The education opportunities and activities provided by both the Oregon State Park Rangers and Friends of Tryon Creek provide a unique experience for visitors to have fun as well and take home some new fun facts. Having so many local schools participate in field trips at the park gives a connection to many families that may not have come to explore on their own. Hopefully many of those kids bring their families back to visit as well.
Do you have a spirit animal?
I have always loved frogs and spent many years studying and raising them when I was younger. I think they are fascinating both because of their adaptability as well as their frailness. They live almost everywhere, but are exceptionally sensitive to environmental changes. They are beautiful and ugly and very cool.