WILMINGTON — Local parks and recreation options were a focus for Make a Difference Day.
Volunteers got their knees and shoes dirty and earned at least one hand blister as they worked Saturday to help develop two Wilmington parks which are works in progress — Stuckey Farm Park and the Xidas Park. In addition, a work party and tournament were held at the Clinton County Youth Council (CCYC) Disc Golf Course in Wilmington to make course improvements with help from Ewing Tree Service.
At Xidas Park, members of Psi Beta Omega sorority at Wilmington College along with other WC volunteers, the Clinton County Master Gardeners and a Southern State student worked on the park at the corner of Sugartree and South streets in downtown Wilmington.
Wilmington Parks & Recreation Director Lori Kersey Williams said the work Saturday at the Xidas Park green space involved implementing the Master Gardeners’ landscaping design and putting together tables. There was education going on too as Master Gardeners told young volunteers how to plant the right way.
“One good deed on top of another on top of another,” said Williams, after recalling that Laurel Oaks students previously did block work at the new park.
At the Stuckey Farm Park, three trees were planted by adult volunteers from the community. Additionally, a raised flower bed was created using wooden cribbing, strips of conveyor belt to keep out weeds, and the labor of Wilmington Institute for Stewardship & Engagement (WISE) students from Wilmington College and other student volunteers.
The WISE students previously used their gray matter preparing for Saturday’s activities. They had been asked to plan out the park’s playscape — a playground with an integrated design of equipment, especially using components made from wood and other natural materials.
Trevor Shelley of WISE was involved with building a boulder fort, using a concrete culvert as an opening and boulders to enclose the area. He said children can regard a boulder fort as their own space, and a spot to use their imaginations.
Excavation equipment at the park dug out a “vernal pool,” intended for amphibians and other creatures that use temporary wetlands or bodies of water that periodically dry out.
There is still a long way to go at Stuckey Farm Park, Williams said. Other future ideas for the park include balance beams, stumps to walk on, tree cookies or disks, and bamboo sticks.
“It’s another place for people to go recreate. It will be geared toward children — where they’re encouraged to get muddy and dirty,” Williams remarked.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.