Pollinator Pop Up Recap

Welcome to one of several summer 2020 volunteer pop-up recaps from our very first Project Impact ROI intern. Project Impact ROI is an annual program designed to engage local high-school seniors and college-age students in community service, and expand SHOTC youth summer programming and outreach. In return, the intern gains valuable leadership experience, credit hours (if applicable), and a monetary stipend. Know a student (18+) who would make a great intern candidate for Project Impact ROI? Click here for application information.

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My name is Elijah, and I’m the new Hands On Thomas County intern! I’ve just graduated from Thomasville High School and will be attending the University of Georgia this coming fall. I’ve worked with HOTC for many years in the past, with my church, as a member of Boy Scouts, as a camper with Student HOTC Project Impact summer service camp, and more recently as a counselor at the same Project Impact. I’ve always felt called to serve, and this opportunity is a wonderful chance for me to continue to give back to my community. Thanks for following along on my intern and volunteer adventures.

Hello again! It’s another week and another successful pop-up service project, this time at the Cherokee Lake Pollinator Garden. As part of National Pollinator Week, June 22-28, HOTC volunteers helped the Friends of Lost Creek Forest with upkeep on the garden which they use to educate the community and further their mission in our area. Friends of Lost Creek Forest is a non-profit which helps maintain habitats full of natural and native vegetation and animals in Thomas and Grady counties.

The Pollinator Garden is their in-town location which contains a multitude of plants that are necessary for specific pollinating animals like butterflies, bees, dragonflies, and many others. Our volunteers helped Lost Creek members pull up invasive or harmful plants in the garden, edge the butterfly-shaped plant bed to allow separation between the bed and the grass around it, and lay out cardboard and pine straw to prepare new areas for planting. At one point, we even found a tiny worm snake, only a couple inches long, at rest in the flowerbed where we were working!

The garden is important because as our area becomes more and more developed, it becomes more difficult for pollinators who require specific plants to mate or reproduce to stay in our area, and the more of these pollinators that are unable to survive in Thomasville, the less biodiversity and beauty we will have in our surroundings. Friends of Lost Creek Forest recommends having a small portion of your yard sectioned off and allowed to grow semi-wild, just enough to allow shelter and an enticing area for pollinators to make their residence nearby. Each of our volunteers went home with a box of wildflower seed to get them started!

Although doing what feels like yard work may not be everybody’s cup of tea, it brings me back to summers helping my grandmother and grandfather on their small farm, potting flowers and saplings, struggling to plant little buds of garlic evenly down a row that my grandfather had just tilled, and even the endless raking and moving of pine straw to prepare the flower beds every year. A little nostalgic, perhaps, but it’s always a pleasure to get out and do stuff with people, especially with times as they are.

Anyone looking to help Friends of Lost Creek Forest continue to positively impact our ecosystem is welcome to volunteer with them at the Pollinator Garden during their summer work hours on Monday nights at 7:00 pm and Friday mornings at 9:00 am.  Also check out their website, and the actual Lost Creek Forest they are named for. And of course, they are also on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/CherokeeLakePollinatorGarden/

https://www.facebook.com/LostCreekForest/

It was a wonderful experience with wonderful people willing to volunteer their time to make a difference, and I hope that some of you reading this will get to experience the same thing on your own. I  look forward to next week, when we may get to meet some furry friends, so stay tuned!

Project Impact summer programming is a part of Student HOTC, and combines service learning with hands-on volunteer experiences designed to get youth and adult leaders actively involved in community matters. Special thanks to Ashley Homestore, Hurst Boiler, and Ms. Diane W. Parker; as well as the Thomasville Antiques Show Foundation for making volunteer programs like these possible.