Stephanie O’Bryne

Stephanie is a park employee who has been a creative force behind the displays in the conservatory and has been instrumental in helping us be successful with Holiday Lights. Here’s a great article about her in the Spokesman Review:


We are proud to partner with Spokane’s Avenue West Gallery for a First Friday collaboration called, “Art and Manito, Bring the Gardens Inside”.

Our friends at Avenue West Gallery hosted an exhibition by local artists celebrating the beauty of the gardens at Manito Park. A portion of event sales was donated to Friends of Manito for the benefit of the park. The event was held on November 1st at Avenue West Gallery at 907 W. Boone Avenue from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Bob McCoy is the Volunteer of the Year

Bob McCoy

Bob McCoy is about as humble as it gets for someone who was named Volunteer of the Year for the Friends of Manito nonprofit organization. It was announced at their annual end-of-season volunteer brunch and came as a pleasant surprise to Bob. He wasn’t too sure about being interviewed at first but, fortunately for us, went ahead and agreed to meet for coffee for a conversational style interview.

From the East Coast originally, Bob has lived in both California and Bellingham, WA before relocating to Spokane. Bob first became involved with The Friends of Manito two years ago – shortly after arriving here – by joining in on a planting session. He had been an avid home gardener in Bellingham and wanted to find a way to ‘dig in’ to his new community of Spokane. He happened upon Manito Park during some of his first walks around Spokane, was quite impressed by the gardens and knew that he wanted to get involved by volunteering.

One of his favorite aspects of volunteering with the Friends of Manito is the support, connection and sense of belonging that he’s received. While the work can be challenging, the support of the team makes it easier and Bob appreciates the team quite a bit.  “I’m not much of a socializer,” he says, “but I greatly enjoy the interaction and collaboration with people who have come together for a specific purpose and are working together towards a common goal.” Another aspect that he enjoys is the cyclical nature of the work “With six months of intense activity and increasing excitement, followed by a long period of seemingly well-earned rest – a characteristic of gardening and reflective of the growing season.” He says.

Bob has a perhaps unique perspective on growing perennial plants, having a degree in forest resources and having worked for 15 years in private forestry in New Hampshire. During that time, he must have subconsciously developed an interest in plants that thrive in the shade of larger trees. As a result, working with The Friends of Manito, he finds his interest gravitating toward the shade section of the plant yard. After relocating to California at age 45, Bob began a new chapter of his life, one that would involve a wide variety of jobs including, among others, restaurant waiter, administrative assistant, directory editor, temp employee, camp prep cook, and nonprofit clinic janitor. He says that these experiences constituted for him a sort of personal philosophical quest, as part of which he was meticulously journaling his experiences.

Upon retiring from “regular employment” at 60, Bob was able to pursue writing more vigorously, eventually self-publishing a volume of the journal-style notebooks he had been keeping earlier. While he is no longer involved in writing, he continues to read philosophical texts, and, as a fun aside, mystery novels. The Inspector Maigret series by Georges Simenon and Sue Grafton’s mystery series are some if his current favorites. Some of Bob’s most frequented bookstores around town include Giant Nerd Books, Auntie’s Bookstore & 2nd Look Books.

Part of his life philosophy emphasizes the importance of learning new skills and engaging the community throughout one’s life. Bob sees it as important to be open to new potential jobs, hobbies and interests throughout life, particularly when relocating or entering a transitional part of life. Volunteering is a great way to gain new experiences in that sense.

While it’s difficult for him to pick a favorite garden in Manito Park, he is quite partial to the Old-Fashioned Rose Garden in Rose Hill by the Gazebo. “I particularly like the strong fragrance of the Rugosa Roses,” he says. “We used to have Rugosas in Bellingham, and they remind me of my time there, and of my long-time housemate Susan.” The various seasons bring out different aspects of Manito Park, but the park in fall has a distinct beauty to Bob.

As a walking enthusiast, Bob has a handful of favorite Parks around the city, with Cannon Hill Park standing out. “I enjoy the serenity of the park itself, plus the interesting landscaping of the yards surrounding the park.” says Bob “I find that being involved with the Friends of Manito has me looking with deeper interest at what people are doing with similar types of plants to the ones we’re raising at the park.” Because the Canon Hill neighborhood is adorned with large, shade-providing trees, most of the gardens there are considered shade gardens.

His favorite time of day to visit parks is at the start of the morning, when it’s quiet and peaceful. He’ll often show up to his volunteer position with the Friends of Manito early in order to enjoy the park and to see what needs to be accomplished that day. “For people that are interested in volunteering, it’s good to get there beforehand in order to get set up with a suitable task.” The planting sessions can become a flurry of activity, so you want to make sure you are well situated before things kick into high gear.

Bob plans on being involved with the Friends of Manito for a while. Recently, he was appointed to the Lead Shade position on the Plant Sale Committee. “That’s going to be a challenge for me,” he says. “but one I’m looking forward to.” He enjoys the prospect of seeing the same people season over season and notes that they have a good number of long-term volunteers within the organization. Bob’s nomination suggests that he has earned a place with the Friends of Manito. “What I particularly like about being involved with TFM is that when I come to Manito, I am able to feel a part of the park itself, like I have a place there. And being in the park rejuvenates me.”



I permanently moved to Spokane one year ago after living twelve years in Taipei, Taiwan, where I was an associate professor at National Taiwan University.  I grew up in San Francisco, but I’ve spent nearly every summer (and later, winters) of my life in Spokane.  Four generations of Anthonys have lived here. My grandparents were married in the little church on the corner of Grand and 25th. My father grew up near the northern edge of Manito Park. Back in the day, you might have had your eyes checked by my grandfather, Dr. Marc Anthony.  So, I naturally feel a strong connection to Spokane, and especially to the park and its environs. Now that I am officially a Spokanite, I’ve been seeking ways to contribute my talents to the city.  It would be a great honor to serve on the TFM board. I bring with me long experience as an educator, non-profit administrator, writer, event producer, and course/program developer, and would generously offer my time and energy to any activities and projects that will continue to make Manito Park one of the most beautiful and dynamic parks in the state.


I grew up in Spokane not far from Manito Park, and have a true love and appreciation for the treasure that Manito is. After time abroad in Japan and graduate school in Pullman, for the past fifteen years I have been living and working in Spokane as a professor at Gonzaga University in a communication and leadership M.A. program. I have served on a variety of committees internally at GU, and externally on the Main Market Co-op Board, Spokane Lilac Festival and Northwest Communication Association.  My interests include strategic planning, organizational communication and change, and training and consulting. If elected, I hope that these experiences and my passion for the park would be useful to The Friends of Manito organization.


I grew up in Spokane, and I spent many hours in Manito Park through the course of my childhood. I remember evening walks with my parents through the lilac garden, games of frisbee on the green just east of the Duncan Garden, and the addition of park features over the years — the Rose Hill pergolas and the Duncan gazebo stand out for me. As an adult, I returned to live in Spokane. I work as a high school math teacher, and in my spare time, I keep a garden, I bowl, I cycle, and I work on recreational math puzzles, among other hobbies. I am eager to give back to Spokane, and to Manito Park in particular, through service on the Board of the Friends of Manito.

Mirror Pond Renovation


Click on photo for story
Mirror Pond Landscaping


If you have a comment or question about The Friends of Manito, including volunteering, membership, donations, or our events, feel free to leave a comment below.

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  1. For those folks, like me, who forgot to renew earlier this year.. and are now renewing from the reminder notice… renewing on line. VERY CLEVER for adding the automatic donation! Love the Friends of Manito for all the good things that you do!

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