Jenkins Art Students Give Dirt Day Shade House New Look
George Jenkins High School art students (left to right) Leah Principio and Rachel Fishel, both seniors, along with Verity Reppeto, a junior, are contributing community service hours toward a project sure to thrill youngsters participating in monthly “It Matters What You Grow” Dirt Day plant propagation workshops. It Matters What You Grow is an initiative developed by the Friends of the Parks Foundation to teach kids (EcoFriends) about plants that conserve water and are beneficial to Mother Earth and Florida’s special environment.
Mary Beth Garcia, who is the art department chair at Jenkins, said there were more students who wanted to help but due to work schedules and later conflicts with FCAT testing, only the three were able to begin the transformation, expected to be completed within the next few weeks. (View them hard at work: http://www.flickr.com/photos/visitcentralflorida/sets/72157626632472146/ )
Leah Principio wants to attend Ringling College of Art and Design, and Rachel Fishel plans to attend Polk State College. Verity has another year to think about plans after graduation. Garcia said she was approached by Magnify Credit Union, corporate sponsor for the Foundation’s Dirt Day programs, about painting the mural. “It is a different type of community service project for the students to be involved in,” said Garcia. “You might say, it’s a volunteer effort by high school students to recognize and encourage volunteer efforts by the young EcoFriends.”
Marian Ryan, president of the Parks Foundation, said, “The lively graphics will not only an inspiration for our program’s EcoFriends who plant cuttings and seeds, but the adults who volunteer their time to nurture and install plantings will be equally impressed. Before the shade house was extremely drab and uninviting – now the whimsical flowers will make it fun.”
Ryan says volunteers are always needed at the shade house and Circle B. Anyone interested in helping should contact Tabitha Biehl-Gabbard, Environmental Lands Stewardship Coordinator, (863) 668-4673 ext. 201 or (863) 534-7377.
Only Five Openings Remain for May 21 Dirt Day!
The next “It Matters What you Grow” Dirt Day will be held on Saturday, May 21, at the Magnify Credit Union next to Bruster’s beginning at 9:00 a.m. Young EcoFriends will propagate native milkweed from cuttings and seeds; make a fun and colorful pencil Monarch caterpillar; learn all about solar energy with a tour of Magnify’s “Green Building”; and end the morning with a special ice cream treat – a Dirt Sundae with gummy worms. Don’t delay, only five openings remain. Call Miss Glenda today at 534-4340 to join the fun.
Friends of the Parks Foundation is a private 501(c)(3) organization, staffed solely by volunteers whose efforts promote and support the public parks, trails, environmental lands and waterways within the boundaries of Polk County. Its popular Trek Ten Trails program is another FREE initiative of the Foundation. To learn more, please visit www.friendsoftheparks.net