Go Green Hamilton to plant seeds of service and volunteerism among local youth

Pollinator Gardens on South Fourth Street in Hamilton will see some new features, one of which is to plant native flora for a seed nursery.

Go Green Hamilton, which is a committee under the umbrellas of the Healthy Hamilton Coalition and Envision Partnerships, will participate in the Global Youth Service Day as ServeOhio, a governor-appointed commission, awarded one of its 19 grants. The grant will help get the Pollinator Gardens started for the season, as well as add a couple of new amenities.

“Our whole goal at Envision Partnerships is to reduce youth substance use, but there are so many ways to go about that, and one of the most realistic ways is through positive community engagement,” said Rachel Harding, coalition coordinator at Envision Partnerships.

ServeOhio funded 19 statewide service projects taking place between April 28 and 30 in recognition of Global Youth Service Day, which is the largest service event in the world dedicated to the contributions of children and youth every day. ServeOhio’s grants will fund projects in 17 Ohio cities and led by more than 1,300 volunteers, according to the organization.

“It’s so inspiring to see the seeds of service begin to grow in our younger generations,” said William Hall, executive director for ServeOhio. “We are proud to support the service of our youth as we continue making strides toward a better Ohio.”

ServeOhio is designed to engage youth volunteers to create or improve community assets or infrastructure, like Hamilton’s Pollinator Gardens. The projects also incorporate an education component as they create long-term, sustainable change on issues and with people.

Go Green Hamilton and Envision Partnerships will have 15 youth volunteers, from seventh to 12th grades, planting the native plants on April 29, as well as working to construct a 5-foot-by-5-foot greenhouse and installing a rain barrel.

Jeff Gambrell, who leads the Go Green Hamilton committee, said these native plants would fill a void after Mary’s Plant Farm, which sold native plants, went out of business last year. He said the project also supports the surrounding wildlife.

“A lot of these plants are going to be host plants, they’re going to be a productive nectar source for the wildlife, so we want to start this native seed nursery and to give out these seeds that are going to be packaged,” Gambrell said, adding seeds produced will be packaged and handed out at events that Go Green Hamilton attends.

Gambrell said they’d also look to develop partnerships with the Hamilton Parks Conservancy and residents in the community so the flora produced at the Pollinator Gardens can be planted around the city. To help with Go Green Hamilton’s future sustainability as an organization, they’re considering an annual plant sale as a funding source.

Ahead of the Global Youth Service Day, Go Green Hamilton is leading two Earth Day cleanup sites this Saturday.

From 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the Low Level Dam across from Miami Hamilton and the west side of the High-Main Bridge, people can volunteer by just showing up at one of the two locations.

“Summer is going to be a very busy time for Go Green Hamilton; we have some very exciting programs coming up,” Gambrell said.

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