A Tribute to a Valiant Weed Warrior Darvel Lloyd

(Published May 2021)

 

Darvel Lloyd began his Mt Tabor weed-whacking with pal Tony Cole about 14 years ago. Together, they did successful battle with the annual emergence of the dreaded invasive plant Scotch Broom. Darvel was small in stature but a giant of strength and fortitude. He often could be seen purposely heading up into the park, his backpack on and carrying tools, from his nearby home in the Montavilla neighborhood. We suspect he logged in more volunteer hours than any of us, hours at the once a month last Saturday volunteer events as well as many on his own. Here are recollections of this one of kind gentle man from: Tony Cole, Ellen Simmons, Lise Gervais, Alexa Todd, Chris Olinger, Stasia Honnold, and Mary Kinnick. The FMTP Weed Warriors program involves annually hundreds of volunteers who remove invasive species and plant native plants to improve the park’s biodiversity and ecological health. Read his obituary here.

 

“Darvel was a beautiful person and for many years a valiant warrior against implacable invasive botanicals in our beloved Mt Tabor Park. When I was no longer able to carry on the campaign, Darvel took up the Scotch Broom banner. He was fearless in the face of this noxious plant—which has called a one-month truce in Mt Tabor Park, a 30-day pause in growth, in mourning the passing of so worthy a foe.”

Tony Cole

Founder of the Weed Warriors

and Crew Leader

“I met Darvel at a Weed Warrior event probably seven or eight years ago. We discovered we were the same age almost; he was one day older. We enjoyed working together and prided ourselves on our toughness as old geezers, digging out Himalayan blackberries and humongous clematis root balls. I went hiking with him several times including bushwhacking in Oxbow park to the bases of giant old growth Doug firs. He knew where all the biggest trees stood. He spoke of the boat trip he and his twin brother (Daryll), then teenagers, and their father took all the way up a branch of the Columbia river toward its source in western British Columbia. I was shocked and saddened to hear that he died.”

Ellen Simmons

Weed Warrior Crew Leader


 

“I always appreciated Darvel’s enthusiasm and cheerfulness and his stories about where he’d been recently looking for giant trees. I recall he successfully nominated the Lombardy poplar at Powell Butte for Heritage Tree status. I always thought of him as humble. Reading the memorial on the Friends of Mt Adams website and learning more about his adventures, I would have liked to ask him what it was like being a kid in Taipei, what it was like at the South Pole, etc. But, he may not have appreciated an inquisition. It would be nice to do a tree planting in his honor somewhere in the Park.”

Lise Gervais

Weed Warrior Program Coordinator


 

“Since before I arrived, Darvel was dedicated to restoring the natural habitat in the park…He appeared happiest when confronting the most physically challenging invasive plants such as digging up blackberry root balls and pulling massive clematis vines from trees…I remember Darvel with shining eyes and a giant grin ready to do whatever was needed.”

Alexa Todd

Weed Warrior Stewardship Coordinator

 

“I worked with Darvel for years as a Weed Warrior, but when I reflect on all that time, I realize I rarely actually worked with Darvel. His preference, after setup and introductions, was to set off on his own, to areas he had scouted out on his many walks. Not that he was anti-social, quite the opposite.  He was just less interested in education, supervision, advocacy, call it what you will, and more focused on removing the maximum amount of Scotch Broom in the time allotted, without anything or anyone slowing him down.

I got a little insight into his motivation during a Saturday post-event conversation about the degree to which folks appreciated having Mt. Tabor right here in our midst. He was incredulous that anyone would not treasure our good fortune—which is when he said, almost in passing, that Mt Tabor had "saved his life." I don't think of Darvel as overly given to hyperbole, rather more the hedging of a scientist (possibly the oldest tree in Oregon, or the tallest known tree on the Central Coast). I did not ask him the particulars of how, but it was clear to me that he felt an obligation to Mt. Tabor, for all it had done for him.

And he worked to repay that obligation. I live only a few blocks from Darvel's house, and while I would see him at WW events, or at the Montavilla Farmers Market, my enduring image of him is the sheer number of times, going somewhere, I would come across him, walking with a sense of purpose, headed up to Tabor. He had his backpack, his tools, in case he needed to remove something, and what strikes me as a uniquely symbiotic relationship with our favorite park.

I certainly hope that we plant a tree in his honor, and that is one that will grow BIG.”

 

Chris Olinger

Weed Warrior Crew Leader

“I will never forget how one fall, deep into a bike trip around Vancouver Island in Canada, I'd made a stop in Victoria to see the Royal BC Museum. Imagine my surprise when I turned a corner and ran into Darvel (with his twin brother Daryll), all of us so very far from home. Of course, when he heard that I was on a bike trip, he told me about all the big trees in the area (which of course he knew) and gave me directions to find a particularly impressive one. It really put into context for me the way that he intimately knew all the trees of Mt Tabor—their approximate ages, heights, histories—it was like every tree was a friend of his, and in Canada, after our Weed Warriors work together, I was honored that he trusted me enough to introduce me to some of his more northern friends. I will miss his wonder, and his ever-present desire to meet a nice tree.”

 

Stasia Honnold

Weed Warrior Stewardship Coordinator

“I knew so little about this remarkable forest spirit of a man. Reading his obituary was proof of how humble he was about all that he had done. I knew about his dedicated trekking through remarkable terrain with his twin brother all in the cause of meeting-up with one special tree. He knew so much about trees, forests, natural areas, and wild places. He generously shared photos from his many adventures, testament to his reverence for the natural world and his desire to share what he saw with us. In 2018 he worked with me to raise funds to sustain the Weed Warrior program. Darvel always showed up unless pulled away to events at Mt Adams or a special road trip to imbibe with nature. He was one of a kind. And, I’m so glad I knew him."

Mary Kinnick

Weed Warrior Program Coordinator