Lucas Towers and the NHS relaunch community gardens

Spruce Mountain High School National Honor Society members Lucas Towers left and Chance Brooks build a raised garden bed Saturday morning, May 14. Six new beds located behind Jay’s Middle School will be used to grow produce for the local food pantry. Pam Harnden / Livermore Falls Announcer

JAY — Continuing a family tradition, Spruce Mountain High School junior Lucas Towers led a National Honor Society community service project to rebuild the raised beds behind the college.

“The beds were taken apart a few weeks ago,” NHS adviser Kyle Mclellan said on Saturday morning May 14. “Lucas did an amazing fundraiser, got about $2,000 for supplies to revitalize the garden beds.”

A rededication ceremony is planned for the fall, Mclellan said.

Left-wing NHS members Emma Towers, Leah Burgess and Faith Mrais build a raised bed behind Jay’s college on Saturday morning May 14. Pam Harnden / Livermore Falls Announcer

“I was so impressed with this effort,” he noted. “Lucas has gone above and beyond. It’s very encouraging, the start of some good things to come over the next few years.

Raised beds maintained by SMHS NHS members show wear after nine years of use. Photo submitted

Only four of the six raised beds were planted last year, Mclellan said. The six new beds will soon be planted with vegetables and flowers and then tended through the summer by NHS staff with produce donated to the pantry, he noted. Sunflowers will likely be replanted, they could be seen across the road last year, he added.

In May, Lucas and fellow NHS staff Leah Burgess, Lily Bailey, Kaila Godbey, Anna Plourde, Ella Plourde, Chance Brooks, Emma Towers (Lucas’s sister), Sam Perkins and Faith Mrais tore up existing beds. Mclellan and Lucas’ father, Chris Towers, also helped out.

The construction and installation of the new beds was carried out by the three members of the Tower family, Brooks, Burgess, Mrais and Mclellan.

“This project is important to me because we can donate the products to people in need,” Lucas wrote in an email later that evening. “It’s nice to see the ‘fruits of our labor’ – tending to the garden, watching the garden grow, then celebrating a good harvest.

“We keep track of our food bank donations by weighing each of our deliveries. Last summer we donated approximately 125 pounds of product. Before planting seeds this year, we will add compost to the beds and mulch around the beds to improve their appearance.

For years SMHS NHS members have maintained a community garden behind Jay’s college. You can see some of the plants grown in a previous year. Photo submitted

The Tri-Town Ministerial Association Food Bank, located in the St. Rose Community Center in Lima, receives and distributes the products, Lucas wrote.

“I have emailed many local businesses in the Tri-City area explaining the project and the need for monetary donations to cover supplies needed to build the new garden beds,” Lucas wrote.

Several companies and churches responded, including TnT Landscaping, Main-Land Development, Hilltop Collision Center, St. Rose of Lima Church, Mrais and Sons, Berry Fruit Farm, Wood Pallet Warehouse, Pallet One, Beans Corner Baptist Church, and North Livermore Baptist Church. , he wrote.

“For the past few years I have tended this garden through the summer and it produced some very successful crops, which we donated to the local food pantry in our town,” Lucas wrote. “I started helping out in the garden when my older sister Lilly was in the NHS [I was in middle school at this point]. Once I became a member of the NHS in December 2020, I volunteered to be the head gardener since I had experience, and the former head gardener was a graduate.

“Over the past year, the flowerbeds have started to show many signs of wear. Many garden beds had exposed, rotting walls and deteriorated wood. Almost all garden beds [we have six] was almost to the point where they could not be used. This garden has not been renovated since it opened 10 years ago. As it is the garden’s 10th anniversary this spring, I thought it appropriate and necessary for some renovations.

“Early in the year, Mr. Mclellan asked us to think of a service-learning project we wanted to participate in for the upcoming school year. It seemed logical that I would continue to work with the garden and thought it would be good to try and renovate it,” Lucas continued. “I expressed my interest in renovating the garden to Mr. Mclellan at the start of the school year, and he thought it was a good and ambitious project. He advised me to start planning early so we could have the funds ready by late spring. I started contacting organizations at the beginning of March and was so surprised to receive such quick responses. I received over $500 in donations in the first week alone after sending the email. I was honored that the community was so willing and did not hesitate to donate to the project.

More than $1,400 was raised, of which about $1,200 was used to purchase materials for Ware Butler’s new beds in Livermore Falls, Lucas wrote. Seeds and supplies to maintain the new beds will be purchased and with the remaining funds he hopes to have a sign made listing donors for the 10th anniversary of the Tri-Town Community Garden.

Ten years ago, NHS student Trevor Doiron started the garden project and the National Honor Society has continued it ever since, Lucas’ mother, Lynelle Morin-Towers, wrote in a recent email. . .

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