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Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Trees & Community Service Run in This Family

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Hayley Kwasniewski
/ Categories: Our Community

For those who knew Diana Anick when she was growing up in Central Pennsylvania, it should have come as no surprise when, decades later, she became The Park People’s employee, volunteer, donor, and champion. After all, trees played a prominent role in her life from the beginning.When Diana (known as “Di”) and her younger brother were born, their parents planted sweet gum trees outside their bedroom windows. Later, she would climb her brother’s tree to get over feeling sad. And, as a high school senior, she decided to attend Ohio’s Wittenberg University for one and only one reason: She loved the campus’ trees.  

One other childhood influence may have pointed Di towards The Park People. She noticed that her parents, Jane and Donald King, enthusiastically volunteered for their church, their kids’ schools, Scout troops, and other organizations. To Di, the lesson was, “as a member of society,” one donates time and money to support the community.  

Years later, after Di and her family had moved to Denver, she sought a part time job that would enable her to “make a difference.” Fortunately, Claudia Winkler, a graduate school friend who was then a trustee for The Park People, suggested The Park People. Di became the executive assistant to Executive Director Kim Yuan-Farrell.  

Di and her husband Alan quickly embraced The Park People’s Tribute Tree program. The Anicks’ first Tribute Tree was planted in memory of her father in Platte Park, where Di could see it from The Park People’s office windows. Then, two more were planted in Platte Park, another for her father and one for the family’s dog, Calvin. And Washington Park boasts six Anick Family trees: one each for Di’s father, Di’s mother, Alan, Di, their son John, and their daughter Elizabeth.  

Picture Description: Di and Jane next to their tribute tree for Di's father and Jane's late husband: Donald King. 

Di’s enthusiasm for, and commitment to, The Park People drew in her mother, Jane King, who became a very generous donor. Jane sponsored a table for The Park People’s 50th Anniversary celebration. She put up a challenge fund for a recent donor appeal and did so again—this time in Di’s honor—for this spring’s appeal.   

According to Jane, she initially became a donor because “Di loved The Park People, and I love my daughter.” However, Jane soon decided that she, too, loved The Park People. As she spent more time with The Park People’s staff and volunteers, she discovered that “The Park People felt like family.” 

What’s more, Jane quickly found that The Park People’s mission and work resonated with her. “Helping to provide shade to people who need to have trees” strongly appeals to Jane.  She loves TreeForce, a pre-apprenticeship program that introduces previously incarcerated adults to potential forestry careers.   

And just as Di’s enthusiasm engaged her mother, it attracted her children. Elizabeth is a donor and volunteer, and she is participating in this year’s Community Forester course. Before The Park People got its new truck, John, an auto mechanic, maintained the old truck. He continues to make his own truck available when needed.   

Picture Description: Elizabeth (right) volunteering at the welcome table for Denver Digs Trees 2023.

Although Di retired from The Park People last summer, she continues her enthusiastic support, both as a volunteer and as a donor. The Park People’s recent growth and expanded capacity thrills her. She very much likes the TreeForce program and the increasing engagement with low tree canopy communities. Maybe most important, she continues to see The Park People as an effective means of “leaving things in a better place.” 

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