National Day of Service 2013
Notes from the Garden
by January Nordman
The constant in any viable garden system is change. Throop Learning Garden lived up to this adage on January 19th when we participated in President Obama’s National Day of Service.
We had been contemplating transitioning the lawn by the bus stop on Los Robles from a Bermuda Grass-infested dirt pile, littered with debris, to an appropriately graded area, swaled for water catchment and mulched, ready for planting. January 19th proved to be the perfect opportunity.
We had been offered, via John Maliga, to take part in a volunteer referral service associated with the President’s call for a National Day of Service. They sent us volunteers from neighborhoods near Throop Church — 42 in all! We were absolutely thrilled at the response to the call to service!
The day began with our core group setting up. We identified all the tasks that needed doing and defined team leaders to coordinate & direct the volunteers. Jean and Rev. Tera took care of sign-in and greeting. David directed parking lot traffic. Therese and Elisabeth directed cardboard wranglers and the de-taping crew. Therese also directed transplanting figs and bulbs from the area to be graded. Michael, Qrys, and Sylvia organized and directed the heavy work of grading, digging swales, contouring, and laying of mulch.
All the folks who showed up to volunteer were so enthusiastic. The yard took on a carnival-like atmosphere as groups of people worked hard at the various tasks, getting to know each other and really enjoy themselves. Tape came off of cardboard. Huge stacks of cardboard amassed. The transplant crew replanted all the bulbs, removed from the yard, to the pathway along the north end of the church. At one point, there were 18 enthusiastic people, armed with shovels, tackling the heavy work of digging the grade.
By the end of the day the yard had been transformed, as had the participants.
Our volunteers came from many walks of life, ranged in age from 4 to 81, and shared a simple, common purpose: to be of service. Some folks came as a family, some as groups of friends. Others came on their own, but soon had a new friend or two. Some had a long history of helping in the garden or in Time Bank projects. Others were new to the concept of volunteering their service. All expressed gratitude to be present for such an exhilarating event.
Our thanks to all who participated. Thanks again to Therese and all who organized pre-event. Michael for National Day of Service sign in. Thanks also to Christine, Benjamin, David, Mari and Sylvia for staying to the very end.