Want to Know About Our Projects?
Exploring Joara: Currently, the lead project of the Burke MGVA is the partnership we initiated in 2013 with the Exploring Joara Foundation in the development and the maintenance of the Native American and Colonial raised bed gardens at its Catawba Meadows Archaeological Interpretative Site. We spent approximately 500 volunteer hours on this project in 2013 (in planning, building, planting, watering, and weeding the beds, and participating in workshops to explain the garden beds, from a historical perspective, to local school children), and our involvement in this project has continued in earnest ever since. Our activity on this project resulted in a First Place Award for Demonstration Gardens, granted by the NC Extension Master Gardeners. Demonstration workshops began in April and continued throughout the summer, into fall.
Habitat For Humanity: In June 2015, we finished up a project installing gardening beds at a Habitat for Humanity site with five homes on Woerner Way in Morganton. We were the advisors on this project, as we worked with four teens and an adult leader from the Catholic Heart Work Camp to construct, install, and plant five raised beds, one for each of the homes. Seventeen of our EMG Volunteers were involved. Thanks to them, and especially to Ann Carr, the project lead, for their work.
Community Gardens & Cistern: In addition to the time spent on the projects discussed above, there are many other activities in which our Master Gardeners are routinely involved. Those include our maintenance of the MGVA Community Gardens and cisterns, which we built in 2008/2009, and are located directly behind the Burke Agricultural Building. They are watered using rain water from the roof of the building. Currently, there are 29 raised beds, which are open to members of the public (for a small rental fee) who do not have adequate garden space at their homes. The beds were fenced, with help from the youth at Freedom High School, during the month of May 2015. In July and August, our Master Gardeners, and several of the garden renters, spent many hours adding mesh wiring to the bottom of the picket fence to keep the critters from feasting on the vegetables that are planted. And then in mid-October, we spent over 50 man-hours staining the fence, and still have to work on the inside of the fence, when weather permits.
Burke Ag Building Grounds: We have taken on a major project at the Burke Agricultural Building, and that is, we are using our gardening knowledge and skills to dress up the grounds of the building. So, during the same work sessions that we cleaned up the Community Gardens, we also addressed the flower gardens that we have planted on the grounds of the Burke Agricultural Building. They are looking great, but we will have to work on these each year.
Other Projects: We also volunteer at the Drexel Community Fair, the Burke County Fair, the Veggie Varmint Contest, Earth Day, the Historic Morganton Festival, and the annual Burke Extension Small Fruit Plant Sale & Distribution. We also recently completed a project with Burke Hospice in the design and planting of a Meditation Garden. And last year, we formed a Flowers Committee, which collects flowers from our home gardens and takes them to hospitals and nursing homes in our area.
Spring Fun Sale: We spend an incredible amount of time and energy each year on the Annual Spring Fun Sale. This is because it's a great way to reach out to the community with plants grown by our members and by our donors. But it is also a great way to raise the funds needed to handle other community projects (like those outlined above). Again this year, as in 2014, we conducted our community-wide SPRING FUN SALE in early May. Included were a plant sale, yard sale, bake sale, and silent auction. Our members volunteered to make this event a huge success. They planted seeds, divided perennials, propagated houseplants, and solicited donated plants and other items from local businesses; they cleaned out their garages looking for yard sale items; they baked cakes, biscuits, and cookies, and they showed up during the week of the sale to help with set-up, to price items, to act as cashiers and runners, and to clean up afterwards. We had a great turn-out for this year's event, and the plants that were not sold were donated to Burke Hospice and to Habitat for Humanity.
On the Projects page are several photgraphs of our volunteers working on these projects. Many more are shown on our Facebook page.