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Rediscovering Mother Earth

Kenley Moore (left) of Seaboard and Jeyon Rodgers of Rich Square were two of approximately 20 local children that took part in a landscaping program conducted this week by Northampton 4-H. Staff Photo by Amanda VanDerBroek

JACKSON — When it comes to having a successful garden you can’t be afraid to get your hands a little bit dirty.

On Thursday, approximately 20 youth wrapped up their participation in “Petal to the Metal: An Adventure in 4-H Landscaping”, where they learned about plants, soil, insects and giving back to their community.

“It’s basically a fun two days to help them learn about 4-H and expose them to 4-H,” said Ann Lawrence, Northampton 4-H Program Associate.

Held at the J.W. Faison Senior Center, the two-day program featured various speakers and activities.

“We try to offer these opportunities to kids during school breaks,” said Caroline Brown, Northampton 4-H Extension Agent. “I hope they have the opportunity to learn life skills in how to serve others, respecting people.”

On Thursday, activities offerings included decorating and filling pots with colorful flowers for the residents of the Hampton-Woods Apartments. Brown and Lawrence noted that many of the plants were donated by Lowes.

The children also spruced up the Senior Center’s sign by planting rose bushes and a butterfly bush.

That excursion outside led to the discovery of things other than dirt and flowers.

Kevin Pernell of Jackson admired a ladybug he found, while Marlon Kunstler of Como cherished a piece of broken pottery he found while on digging duty.

“I was digging a hole to plant the butterfly bush and I found this,” he said.

Richard Lovett, 11, of Seaboard said he was having a good time at the program.

“We learned about plants and bees,” he said. “It teaches me respect for others.”

Kathryn Long, 7, of Seaboard was happy to get outside and get her hands dirty planting the colorful flowers.

“I haven’t done this in a long time,” she said.

Long said she and her grandmother planted a garden a couple years ago and her family had grapevines at one point.

“I’ve learned that every day is Earth Day and it’s important to recycle,” she said.

Long also learned that it is equally important to care for those in her community.

“(Some) people don’t have family,” she said. “I think the flowers will make them happy, I though it might brighten up their spirit.”