Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteer Association of Stokes County Updates

— Written By Bryan Hartman
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(WRITTEN BY: Katherine Gambill, Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteer Association)

The Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteer Association of Stokes County had an interesting and exciting late winter supporting our three high school horticulture programs, the Friends of Sauratown Mountains (which supports Hanging Rock State Park, among other facilities), and the Stokes Partnership for Children.

Members visited the horticulture faculty of each of the three high school programs and presented a donation of $1,000.00 to each. The teachers were particularly grateful for help in the 2021-2022 school year, as they were not able to stage their usual fund-raising plant sales in the spring of 2021, and were also facing much higher costs of all the supplies needed to proceed with preparations for a spring sale this year.

Mark Powell gave a tour of the greenhouse, workshop, and classroom at West Stokes High, as well as an interesting history of the facilities and program.

At North Stokes High, Ben Hall thanked us for the donation to his program before showing us around his work area, including the hydroponic project.

At South Stokes High, instructor Sawyer Ferguson greeted us along with several of the FFA members dressed for the occasion!

Hanging Rock State Park visitor’s center has undergone a year-long renovation which necessitated replacing most of the landscaping. Following the “plant native”  mantra, SEMGVA contacted the Friends of Sauratown Mountains, who support the park by helping with landscaping, trail management, and preservation and protection of the park. Our donation to them will help purchase site-appropriate native plants to restore the landscaping at the visitor’s center. To further educate the public, signage will be installed to identify the native shrubs and flowers and advise their benefit to the environment.

Park Superintendent Robin Riddlebarger accepts the donation on behalf of Friends of Sauratown Mountains.

The Stokes Partnership for Children was the recipient of a $1000.00 donation as they proposed to start a garden at one of the pre-K or daycare facilities with whom they work closely. The enthusiasm among their board was so great, that they decided to match the funds! Their executive director and coordinator devised an opportunity for two of their programs to receive financial and advisory help from SEMGVA and our Cooperative Extension agent through a grant request. Those two have been chosen, and those facilities were toured by our members in July to make suggestions about the location of garden beds, what to plant when, and some things that would be of most interest to the age groups they serve. This educational endeavor will be ongoing as the teachers and childcare directors are fully engaged in this project!

On June 8th, we hopped in the van and enjoyed being chauffeured by our Horticulture Agent Bryan Hartman to Chatham Mills ”Pollinator Paradise” Garden in Pittsboro. Debbie Roos gave us a 2-hour tour of the amazing garden, explaining the habits of the plants, which pollinators they attract, and their botanical names. The garden is maintained by volunteers, but Debbie is clearly the driving force there. A beautiful and educational wander without a guide, but if you can set up a tour with Debbie, it’s very worthwhile! Lunch at the Co-op Cafe in the Chatham Marketplace was good, too!

Chatham Mills ”Pollinator Paradise” Garden in Pittsboro

For additional information, contact Bryan Hartman, Agriculture & Natural Resources agent, at bkhartman@ncat.edu or (336) 593-8179.

(WRITTEN BY: Katherine Gambill, Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteer Association)