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We Heart Oceano volunteers will tidy up Oceano Park following counterparts in Arroyo Grande and Nipomo 

After sprucing up parks in Arroyo Grande and Nipomo, organizer Kendra Paulding's community beautification project will make its way to Oceano.

We Heart Oceano is the latest South County addition to the original We Heart AG events where eager volunteers carry out small but significant improvements to public areas. Months after the We Heart Nipomo gathering drew in roughly 80 helpers, We Heart Oceano hopes for similar popularity on April 13.

click to enlarge BUSYBODIES Similar to the previous cleanup project in Nipomo (pictured here), We Heart Oceano volunteers will help mulch, weed, plant seeds, and paint picnic tables around Oceano Park. - COURTESY PHOTO BY JAMES SOFRANKO
  • Courtesy Photo By James Sofranko
  • BUSYBODIES Similar to the previous cleanup project in Nipomo (pictured here), We Heart Oceano volunteers will help mulch, weed, plant seeds, and paint picnic tables around Oceano Park.

Paulding told New Times on March 21 that she consulted with San Luis Obispo County Parks and Recreation Ranger Matt Mohle about rounding up volunteers.

"I reached out to a bunch of community groups in Oceano like the Elks, the Eagles, OBCA [Oceano Beach Community Association], VACO [Vitality Advisory Council of Oceano], Eco SLO [Environmental Center of SLO], the Oceano Library," she said. "They're putting the word out there, and we're just getting started."

We Heart Oceano is looking for 35 people to volunteer at Oceano Park on April 13 from 9 a.m. until noon. They will fill holes and plant grass seeds; mulch, trim, and weed around the park sign; pick up trash around the pond and park; and repaint the picnic tables. Interested participants can sign up at signup.com/go/GfnXdnj.

Email [email protected] with additional questions.

"There are so many nice tables out there, and they're starting to peel and crack," Paulding said. "It would be nice if we could get someone who's confident, and a skilled carpenter would be great who can help us replace some of the boards and drill some holes."

Like the other iterations of the cleanup project, We Heart Oceano will split volunteers into groups for each activity. Paulding will lead mulching efforts; her husband, 4th District Supervisor Jimmy Paulding, will oversee painting the picnic tables; Oceano Community Services District President Charles Varni is the trash pickup team leader; and Mohle from County Parks will direct filling gopher holes and planting seeds.

"There's just so much to be done, especially with the storms. County Parks is doing a lot of extra work, and we're trying to help maintain things that volunteers can do like painting picnic tables while they're going out with their chainsaws and chopping down [tree] limbs and things that are unsafe," Paulding said with a laugh. "We're just supplementing some of County Parks' role."

Paulding and her team are also working on the 2024 round of We Heart AG scheduled for May 4 at 9 a.m. The growth of the beautification efforts around South County saw requests to conduct a similar event in Grover Beach, too. Community members from other parts of the county also tapped Paulding for advice.

"I had someone else up in Morro Bay just complete a We Heart Morro Bay. They reached out and asked what I did for We Heart AG, and I told them basically the setup, and volunteers got together and did an event in Morro Bay," she said. "Why not go out an beautify your towns and cities?"

Fast facts

• The Arroyo Grande Recreation Services Department will host its 35th annual egg hunt festival on March 30 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The all-ages event will be held at Elm Street Park complete with carnival games, free hot dogs, local food trucks, and more.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis Obispo County organized a tour of City Farm SLO for at-risk children and their mentors. The tour will take place at 10 a.m. on April 6 at the City Farm SLO facility on 1221 Calle Joaquin. The group will get to plant seeds, transplant seedlings, and taste the vegetables grown on the farm. For more information, contact Interim Executive Director Caity McCardell at [email protected].

• SLO High recently held a grand opening of its wellness center for students. The supportive resource offers individual counseling, group counseling, educational initiatives, and outreach programs for students seeking immediate assistance. The San Luis Coastal Unified School District and a $30,000 grant from the SLO County Friday Night Live Partnership helped fund the wellness center. Δ

Reach Staff Writer Bulbul Rajagopal at [email protected].

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