West Linn girl throws party with friends to clean up Maddax Woods

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - The birthday girl, Olivia McDonald, was honored with a crown of ivy. Being born on Earth Day in 2004, Olivia McDonald of West Linn always felt an extra responsibility to take care of the earth.

From an early age, she loved to plant and tend to gardens and would pick up trash whenever she went for walks with her family, often stating: “My birthday is Earth Day, so it’s my job!”

Last year, when planning her eighth birthday, instead of deciding between a bounce house, ice rink or movie theater, McDonald invited her friends to help her clean up Burnside Park.

And instead of asking for gifts, she asked that they consider donating to SOLVE — an Oregon nonprofit organization that since 1997 has strived to take care of the state’s natural spaces. The party was a success and McDonald wanted to do it again.

To celebrate her ninth birthday, this past Saturday, McDonald and a dozen of her friends from West Linn schools including Bolton, Stafford, Sunset and Trillium Creek primaries spent four hours as part of SOLVE’s Maddax Woods Earth Day cleanup.

The young crew used their party favors of gardening gloves and trowels and worked hard pulling ivy, planting yellow grasses around the duck pond, hauling bark dust and picking up garbage — and enjoyed every minute of it.

Joseph Burke, a third-grader at Bolton Primary, said, “This is much more fun than I thought it would be. This party is epic!”

The birthday party crew provided a community service and had fun doing it. Although they were covered in mud and suffered a few nettle stings, they have already signed up to participate next year — and that was before they had even been served SUBMITTED PHOTO - From left, Aiden Brody, Victoria Garcia, Olivia McDonald, Noelle Herricks and Robin Brody work to pull up ivy at Maddax Woods to celebrate Olivia McDonald's ninth Earth Day birthday.

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