9/8/2017 3:48:00 PM Pollinator garden growing at VCMS Organizers present awards for a job well done
Dave Boothe and Megan Mackey served as the co-hosts of the event celebrating the completion of a pollinator garden at Vinton County Middle School. The ceremony was held Wednesday, Sept. 6 to thank all the people who helped with and supported the project. (Telegram Photo By Red Thompson, Jr.)
Through the contributions of many individuals and businesses, a pollinator garden has been planted at Vinton County Middle School (VCMS) where the community garden once grew. During a ceremony held at VCMS Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 6, the contributors and donors were recognized.
The co-hosts were Vinton County language arts teacher and Beta Club advisor Megan Mackey, and former Ohio State University professor and County 4-H Agent Dave Boothe.
Mackey explained the students have become interested in food and nutritional issues since the county became a food desert five years ago. Fortunately, that classification will be ending soon as Campbell's Market is nearing completion.
After Super Valu grocery store closed about five years ago, the Beta Club, along with community members and organizations, created a community garden and much of the food grown there was given to local organizations and people. Now, a pollinator garden has been established there to help feed food pollinators such as bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, bats, hummingbirds, and songbirds. Their many food sources are milkweed, clover, goldenrod and a variety of fruit trees. Efforts such as creating this garden can feed these animals and increase their numbers which, in some cases, have been declining.
Boothe explained both the key reason for this project and why this is getting attention around the nation.
"Forty percent of the food supply needs pollination," said Boothe.
In the VCMS garden, there are several boxes full of flowers displayed nicely in the courtyard in back of the school. Around the nation, there is a Million Pollinator Garden Challenge (MPGC) underway. It is a nationwide call to action to preserve and create gardens and landscapes that help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators across America.
Boothe explained the local project took about six months to complete and there was a lot of work involved. Several participants in the project received awards. They included former Principal D. H. Caudill, Lowe's of Athens, Dettwiller's True Value Hardware and the Vinton County High School Future Farmers of America (FFA) Chapter. Representing the FFA were President Emma Coleman, Vice President Klaudia Faught, member Zackary Faught and Advisor Rashel Fallon.
During the project, the lot was roto-tilled, and pollinator boxes were built, painted and positioned. The garden is ready and Mackey and the students are very proud of the finished product. Mackey thanked Superintendent of Schools Rick Brooks and VCMS Principal Jeremy Ward for backing the project.
The complete list of donors is as follows: Gail Martin (Natives in Harmony); Tammy Webb (Athens Lowe's); Denise Ellsworth (Ohio State University Department of Entomology); Bob Brown (Buckeye Construction); Jesse Bowen (OSU Extension); VCHS FFA; Kathy McCorkle (SWCD Board of Directors); D.H. Caudill; Marcie Lininger (Fish and Wildlife); Terri Fetherolf (VC Development Director); Kate Homanal (OSU Extension); Ivan and Naomi Wallace; Nancy Walker; Lorraine McCoster; Jim Wooddell; Superior Hardwoods; Vinton County Local Schools; Jennifer Wells and Perry Smith and Family; Ricky Boothe; and Dettwiller's True Value Hardware.