Friday, September 14, 2012

4-H Members Beautify Camp with Inaugural Event

4H members beautify camp with inaugural event

LAKE PLACID - It was a hot, busy morning for nearly 60 nature lovers at Camp Cloverleaf Saturday as the first 4-H Club National Planting Day event took place. Local 4-H members from several different groups came together at the camp to take part in a national campaign that was localized at the hands of several volunteers.
The Keep Highlands County Beautiful campaign was the driving force behind the event and coordinator Christy Reed approached the 4-H about joining in on the effort.
"Christy came to me about it in July," said Lauren Hrncirik, 4-H Youth Development Agent.
The idea comes on the same day as other 4-Hers across America are making a more beautiful place to live in.
"We started at 8:30, just like everyone else. I honestly thought we'd be out here well past lunch, but these kids work really fast," Hrncirik said.
The first-time event was a huge success that Hrncirik and Reed contribute to all the volunteers and donations that took place.
"We got the trees from Robbins Nursery, LaGrow Irrigation helped out, and Choice Environmental and Keep Highlands Beautiful all contributed to this project," Reed said.
Help from the Highlands County University of Florida Extension Office also proved to be a vital part of the project's success.
"We had Master Gardeners here also. They are all volunteers from the extension office. They are specialists in horticulture. They came out and told the kids how to plant, how to separate the roots, how far down to plant them, what bugs and insects to look out for; things they wouldn't know normally," Hrncirik said.
4-H members planted 234 small trees Saturday morning in just two short hours. The fence that separates the open field at Camp Cloverleaf from Cloverleaf Road was the most extensive part of the project.
"We planted 170 just along the fence. That is the main phase of the project. Once those grow up it will provide a beautiful, fresh buffer. That is a pretty popular and busy road so we want it to look nice there," Hrncirik said.
The inaugural event proved to be a true community partnership bringing together the smallest hands and the biggest hearts in agriculture and nature.
"This couldn't have happened without all those different volunteers and donations. I can't even tell you how grateful we are for everything. Without the trees, which I don't even know how much those cost Robbins Nursery, and all the knowledge, we couldn't have done it. The specialists giving their expertise was a huge help and, of course, the kids," Hrncirik said.
Reed agreed and was thrilled to be a part of the first-time event with the kids.
"This has been great; the kids worked hard. They provided the most important part, the labor, and they have done a good job," Reed said.

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