On a beautiful Saturday under a Carolina blue sky, the North Carolina Branch of PGMS made a difference in the community at the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Winston Salem, N.C. The project was originally scheduled for February 21, but was delayed due to unusually cold temperatures and snow.
Over 90 enthusiastic volunteers participated even though the schedule change meant that an expected 100-200 more volunteers from two local universities were unable to participate. A color run charity event with an attendance of over 7000 was held right across the street from the cemetery and the citywide Great American Clean Up was also occurring simultaneously with the Odd Fellows project. Given the circumstances, we had a great turn out!
This was the second annual clean up at the cemetery organized by PGMS. Although The Friends of the Odd Fellows Cemetery who manage the grounds have been organizing cleanups for several years, it’s clear the expertise and support brought by PGMS and its partners is making a huge difference. Several returning volunteers mentioned how much better the site looks now than just a year ago at the first NC Branch clean up!
One of the goals was to eradicate underbrush and briars and encourage the growth of grass. Areas that were sown last February with seed donated by Cutting Edge Grass Seed were sprayed with a broadleaf herbicide late this summer to remove returning unwanted woody vegetation. On this year’s workday, Mirimichi Green Express donated and applied their biochar soil amendment to existing lawns and newly seeded areas This application should provide a healthy environment for turf development without promoting excessive growth and increasing maintenance demands.
Other key partners that helped stretch the budget by supplying much needed gloves, safety gear and tools were the local Home Depot affiliate and Gempler’s. The Home Depot also sent a team of volunteers who worked tirelessly. Several local green industry professionals provided goods and services and a restaurant provided lunch to help make the project a success. PGMS is so grateful for all their contributions. And of course there were the 90 plus volunteers loading brush, raking leaves, removing vines, sowing grass, picking up litter and otherwise improving the grounds. 20 of these hard working volunteers were brothers of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity from both North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina.
The lessons learned through this process are simple and apply to everyday life as well as grounds management. Recognizing and showing appreciation to people and business for their contributions simply pays dividends. Being a good steward of resources and having the right team in place makes a big impact even on a small budget. Planning well but being flexible with the plan is a must. Most importantly— never lose site of the vision. It’s the vision that matters in life – plans change. It would have been easy to feel frustrated and lose focus at rescheduling and losing so many volunteers, but it really wasn’t about the numbers or the date. The goal was to improve the cemetery while serving the community. This goal was undeniably accomplished under a 72 degree Carolina blue sky. It was well worth the wait!
Click here to view photos from the event.
Thank you to the following local partners and volunteers:
- Allman Spry Davis Leggett & Crumpler, P.A.
- Arnold’s Landscaping
- Carolyn Albright Photography
- Cutting Edge
- Frank L. Blum Construction Company
- G L Hutchens Sand & Stone
- Hauser Rental Service
- The Home Depot
- Larmore Landscape Associates
- LTD Farm and Garden & Clemmons Milling
- Lusk Tree Service
- Mid-South Irrigation
- Mirimichi Green Express
- NetUnlimited Cabling Solutions LLC
- PGMS NC Branch
- Piedmont Rent-A-Jon
- Pine Hall Brick
- Riverside Farm and Garden Supply
- Shouse Nursery
- Sunbelt Rentals
- Tommy’s Stump Removal
- Village Tavern
- Wake Forest University Athletic Department
- Wake Forest University Volunteer Service Corps
- Wake Forest University Sustainability Department
- Winston Salem State University Volunteer Service Corps