07/09/2010 04:38 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Columbine Memorial: Clean It Up

The Columbine Memorial adjacent the high school is a powerful place. Becoming enveloped in the stone structure at Clement Park can be a learning experience, and an emotional one too. Although any other number of personal journeys surely take place there.

Memorials such as the one for Columbine also have economic stories. They need time and money to be built, and the path to the Columbine Memorial has been well-documented in The Denver Post and now defunct Rocky Mountain News (where I worked for 10 years). And even when the finishing touches are completed, the work is not done. Memorials, like any other structure, need to be maintained.

So it should be no surprise that I got an e-mail the other week from Kirsten Kreiling, president of the Columbine Memorial Foundation. She is soliciting volunteers (for as little as an hour) to help maintain the memorial.

One of my first thoughts, however, was "Can I just show up and start doing stuff?" I figured that is the kind of situation that makes a government official like a park worker or police officer cringe.

Kreiling assured me that the park staff is aware a call has been put out for volunteers to show up. I tried it out myself the other week; the only problem I had was dealing with the afternoon heat (bring a bottle of water). And if the idea of volunteering for a cause isn't enough to motivate you, you might appreciate eavesdropping on the comments of visitors.

This is the list of work Kreiling sent out:

  • Deadheading perennials in all the flower beds; including the columbines
  • Cut back the spring bulb growth (ie cut off the wilted green stalks from the tulips, hyacinth, etc.)
  • Weeding under the pine trees on the hill
  • Weed whacking around the rose bushes up above the fountain (and weeding as needed)
  • Weeding of the flower beds
  • Sweeping of the entire Memorial
  • Trash pick up along the hillsides
  • Clipping / pruning of dead growth on trees
  • Spraying of weeds with Round Up in any of the sidewalk areas

You can contact Kreiling at: