Volunteers garden for the community
Monday, June 17, 2019
The sound of weed wackers and shovels hitting the dirt filled the air Saturday morning at the Greenville Community Garden on Stancill Drive as volunteers helped harvest, weed and plant new items for future donation to the community.
The help came from members of Love a Sea Turtle, a nonprofit youth organization, East Carolina University and ECU Campus Recreation and Wellness. Leading the charge was ECU's sustainability manager, Chad Carwein.
"We (ECU and Love a Sea Turtle) have been working together for the past couple of years, and expanding the garden. This is one of our regular work days, and we have local high school and college students volunteering, pulling weeds and harvesting some food."
Dan Sokolovic, the leader of Love A Sea Turtle, was on hand to help with machinery, including a tiller, as volunteers prepared to plant pumpkins.
The food harvested on Saturday was donated to the First Born Community Center in Grimesland.
"We've been donating food to the community center for years, so this is really just an expansion on what we've been doing," Sokolovic said.
Produce already planted in the garden included peppers, lettuce, potatoes and eggplants.
Carwein saw the garden as a way for volunteers to look at the bigger picture of what ends up on their plates everyday.
"It think it's important, especially gardening in general nowadays, whether you do it this way or on your own. It's important because it's such a fast paced world we live in that people often forget where their food comes from. To be able come out here, plant a seed, watch it grow and reap the benefits, it's a good learning experience."
Volunteers included several area high school students, including Lawrence Navarro and Brooke Sullivan, recent graduates of D.H. Conley. Navarro and Sullivan also play a critical role in helping run Love A Sea Turtle, as leaders in the group's Americorps program and summer camp counselors.
Americorps is a national organization based around helping students become active in their community.
"I came out because I wanted to help the environment," Sullivan said. "I'm going off to UNC-Wilmington in the fall to study environmental science and marine biology. Anything I can do to conserve and preserve around the community I will do."
Narvarro volunteered to to see his hard work pay off in person.
"I wanted to see the impact I make on the community," Navarro said. "Just making a difference in the world and seeing how I can help the community means a lot to me. That's why I became an Americorps leader."
Another Conley graduate, Rafael Macababat, worked alongside current student Mia Bruchak. Bruchak and Macababt are also Love A Sea Turtle members.
"It's really interesting to see everything in action," Bruchak said. "You're always told in the classroom, 'This is how this works,' but now I actually get to come out and do it."
Other high school students would rather spend their summer Saturdays sleeping or watching TV, but Marcababt sees the event a different way.
"You just have to look at the bigger picture," he said. "That this for the greater good of the community, all of the proceeds go to the food bank and that's enough to motivate me to keep working."