Community

Park Perspectives: June Robinson Park

Kassandra Kersting waters a raised garden plot at June Robinson Park while Michael Kaakso wheels in some topsoil. The park offers garden plots through Community Organic Gardens of Sequim, including city-sponsored plots for volunteers to grow produce for the food bank.  - Photo by Joan Worley
Kassandra Kersting waters a raised garden plot at June Robinson Park while Michael Kaakso wheels in some topsoil. The park offers garden plots through Community Organic Gardens of Sequim, including city-sponsored plots for volunteers to grow produce for the food bank.
— image credit: Photo by Joan Worley

June Robinson Park is one full of organic gardens, and a fitting tribute to June Robinson (1925-2009), who spent her life showing students and city residents that history is a living thing.

June Robinson Park, opened in 2010, provides a shady lawn and a bench for relaxing; half of the park, however, is a busy patchwork of 16 10-foot by 10-foot plots and eight 4-foot by 10-foot raised garden beds. Community members can apply on a first-come, first-served basis for garden plots through Community Organic Gardens of Sequim.

The park is a complete gardener’s delight, with watering on-site, a protective metal fence and a well-stocked tool shed built by the Sequim Sunrise Rotary Club. The raised beds are courtesy of Sam Schwab, who took on the task as an Eagle Scout project.

In addition to individual gardens, the city sponsors several plots for volunteers who wish to grow produce for the Sequim Food Bank.

The park also has a porous asphalt parking lot and LED-style street lamps, a green move for the city.

Historian and teacher

Born and raised in Seattle, June Robinson spent summers hiking the Sequim area with members of her mother’s family, the Spaths. Inspired by her own fourth-grade history teacher, Robinson went on to take a degree in history from Seattle University and to teach for a number of years.

“A couple of students told me June was the best teacher they ever had,” June’s husband Ray Robinson said at the park’s opening. “From the start, she was a good teacher.”

When she and Ray retired to Sequim, Robinson continued her work in education. She was a reading tutor for many years and served for more than 10 years on the Sequim School Board.

She turned her scholar’s eye to local history, adding her writing and editing skill to publications such as “Images of Clallam County,” “A History of Clallam County,” “Washington, Why Do They Call It …,” “The Norwegian Memorial,” “The Chilean Memorial” and the “Wreck of the Austria.”

Robinson created an inventory of pre-statehood landmarks in Washington to help preserve historical sites.

She worked for the community as well, serving with the City of Sequim Parks Advisory Board, the Sequim Museum & Arts Center, the Clallam County Heritage Advisory Board, the Clallam County Historical Society and the Clallam County Genealogical Society.

For Robinson the area’s history was not a hobby but a “profession,” said Clallam County Commissioner Mike Doherty after Robinson’s death: “It was a very rare asset to have a citizen to have the interest (about local history) and be very professional about it.”

 

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