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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Carthage, Indiana, USA

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Carthage, Indiana, USA
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Registered: November 2017
City/Town/Province: Carthage
Posts: 1
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Two years ago, my family and I moved to a small, rural town of 750 people. Our first home had been in a quaint little town, but this new place was miniscule in comparison. Our new town, Carthage is also off the beaten path, traffic here is slow and deliberate. I had actually been to this small town many times on the Pumpkin Train as a small child. While gently swaying back and forth on the old train, I marveled at this step back-in-time trip from Knightstown to Carthage. Knightstown is a small Indiana town owing fame to an old depot, and an October train ride to an even smaller dot on the map. To my dismay, the train shut down its depot and all the rides to Carthage. I all but forgot about this tiny little farming town.
Until my parents spoke of a house they were looking to purchase that was within walking distance of town, but had some acreage with it. We looked at this house that had been foreclosed on, and honestly I did not see much to it or the town we had come through on our trip in. The house had stood for a summer at least, unloved and terribly overgrown. The town had a familiar feel to it as we drove through it to look at the house. I remembered some of the sights I had seen many years before. Time seems to weather a lot of things, the new house and town including! We made the move despite my opinions.
Anyone who has moved from one home to another knows how hard it is to embrace. We all worked hard to cut back the brush, paint and clean up an overgrown 15-acre farm. I was still missing my other home, complaining about this new, sad little town. I was having trouble seeing the beauty here, and I was missing my friends, neighbors and my old life. My parents seemed to love it here, but I could not feel a connection for this new place or the town. My mother said a good way to help get over my homesickness would be to get involved in our new community.
My mother and I got involved with the Carthage Lions Club. We found out rather quickly that they needed help with their flower project. Right away, we dove in to try to help. Carthage has signs at three different entrances to town. They needed somebody to clean the weeds out, mulch and plant flowers. That was not all, those flowers once planted, would need water hauled to them every other day throughout the summer to keep them blooming.
I planned my weed versus flower attack with my mom. She suggested I research what kinds of flowers would do well in poor, dry soil. I did all the research, and she took me shopping for the flowers. I liked the looks of the hardy flowers that were taller, about 12-18 inches so people could see them easily when they drove in and out of Carthage.
My mother said they had a budget of $100 for flowers. We had already started work on the flower beds. They were full of a lot of weeds, and the dirt was very hard. My mom suggested that we take a truck load of mulch over from our home project to help with the soil.
I picked out Zinnias, Arch Angels and Dahlias. We got enough flowers to do the three flower beds without going over budget. We spent several hours prepping the flower beds, planting the flowers and mulching. My mom said that the hardest part was yet to come, keeping our flowers alive! We started this project at the end of May.
May in Indiana is sometimes very fickle. This year, it was dreadfully hot, and dry. This is not the best time to plant tender young flowers. I was determined to keep our flowers going. The first week, my mom drove the water buckets and I almost every night to ensure their survival. The weeds grew, but I felt that the flowers were curling up and withering away. I prayed for some cooler temperatures and rain. We finally caught a break the middle part of June and got some rain. The flowers took off, and so did my spirits. The flowers actually began blooming! They looked wonderful, and I felt a sense of pride. But, my hard work came to a screeching halt on Fathers Day.
My family was taking my dad out for the holiday, when I noticed coming home that all of the flowers at one sign were gone! I was very upset to find out that evening when I watered that somebody had cut all of the flowers off at the mulch. It took all of July for those flowers to grow back and bloom again, but they did.
After my Fathers Day setback, all else went smoothly. I fell into a routine of watering and weeding. I logged 60.25 hours taking care of those flowers. More than that, I began to feel a sense of accomplishment and belonging to a new community. A once small buzzing, factory town, Carthage is now quiet and crumbling. Flowers help make my town more inviting. People stopped while I was working, and said, Thank you, keep up the good work. It was nice to hear, while I sweated and swatted mosquitoes. I hope that the Lions Club will continue to allow me to help with their signs.
I have plans to include the last entrance sign for 2018. One last sign needs dirt, edging and flowers planted. I would like to propose this addition as part of my work for the spring. I feel that my work with the flowers helps this little town immensely, and it has helped me too. I feel that I really have grown to appreciate this town. I love the rural aspect of this small town, the buildings and the people in it. I am proud of the work I did. I can see myself living here, buying a place in my peaceful little town in the country when I complete my college education.
Date: November 24, 2017 Views: 291 File size: 16.4kb, 118.6kb : 410 x 640
Hours Volunteered: 60
Volunteers: 2
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 16 & 50
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