Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Day of Service

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog, Blair Academy, Blair Academy Day of Service, Blairstown Pocket Park

Hello Fellow Readers, It’s humbling to witness our youth working together to weed out undesirables- making way for new beginnings, and offering a helping hand. Nearly 500 students, teachers, and staff of Blair Academy, located in Blairstown NJ, mobilized on May 19th to help over 20 nonprofits in their annual Day of Service.

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog, Blair Academy, Blair Academy Day of Service, Blairstown Pocket Park

Volunteers sprucing up the Pocket Park in downtown Blairstown NJ, Photograph by William Cohea

Enthusiastic volunteers arrived in t-shirts that touted their Day of Service initiatives of helping, serving, supporting, and promoting a gambit of human, environmental and animal wellbeing necessities. I had the privilege of joining an ambitious group of twenty who helped spruce up the Pocket Park in downtown Blairstown. In our team were a few folks who maintain the beautiful grounds of Blair Academy bringing their expertise and equipment, even a truckload of plants to fill gaps in the garden, adding to the team’s generosity of weeding, planting, and spreading mulch.

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog, Blair Academy, Blair Academy Day of Service, Blairstown Pocket Park

Day of Service Initiatives, Photograph William Cohea

High school volunteers helped over 20 non-profits

Carolyn Conforti, Dean of Campus Life, shared other projects going on throughout our community and credited Joanne Brandwood in charge of orchestrating the logistics of the Blair volunteers helping Project Self Sufficiency, the Center for Prevention and Counseling, and the Manna House soup kitchen all in Newton NJ. Then there’s the Women’s Resources in Monroe County PA and the St. Joseph’s Center in Scranton PA, to name just a few. I asked if the volunteers could pick their project of choice. Carolyn shared that students and faculty didn’t know precisely where their project would be but could indicate whether they preferred to work inside or out. They all arrived with an attitude of “can do” for the project at hand despite the extraordinarily hot and humid spring day.

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog, Blair Academy, Blair Academy Day of Service, Blairstown Pocket Park

“Worm Entrepreneurs,” Photograph William Cohea

“Worm Entrepreneurs” on a fast track in business

A few of the students took upon themselves to collect worms by bartering with a local deli that sells tackle. I’m not sure their planned exchange was a strategy of bargaining worms for a sandwich, but I regard the “worm entrepreneurs” on a fast track career in business.

Also amongst our group was Bliss, a seeing-eye dog in training and Carolyn who volunteered to raise her first year of life. She quickly tributes the students helping to expose Bliss to daily life amongst the community. I asked if it will be difficult when it’s time to say goodbye. Carolyn replied, “Bliss wants to work, and it is an honor to help her prepare for service.”

Blair Academy’s contribution to instilling the importance of community volunteering and environmental understanding is an example for all. If all of us serve our earth and each other, our garden of life would surely be a more beautiful place. Garden dilemmas? Askmarystone@gmail.com

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog, Blair Academy, Blair Academy Day of Service, Blairstown Pocket Park

Reviewing the park design before the plants and volunteers arriving. Photograph by William Cohea

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog, Blair Academy, Blair Academy Day of Service, Blairstown Pocket Park

Patti Doell (left) and Gina Trish (right) who worked with me in developing the Pocket Park Design, Photograph William Cohea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special thanks to a dear friend and photographer William Cohea, who volunteered to photograph the ambitious volunteers during Blair Academy’s Day of Service.

Column Updated 7/19/20

 

 

 

Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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