The Norfork Fish Hatchery is located on Highway 177 below the Norfork dam. The Hatchery is visited by 280 thousand people each year, making it one of the most visited areas in Baxter County.
Our Hatchery project began in 2008 with the understanding that it would be funded by the Friends of the Hatchery and worked by the Master Gardeners. Cheryl McConkey was the first project leader. During her term we created a flower bed in front of the visitor center. Cheryl researched and selected all the plants, choosing Arkansas natives and attracters of bees and butterflies. The next year we decided to include the beds in front of the office and at the entrance sign. In 2012 Sally Stidham and I became co-project leaders. We expanded our garden on the south side of the visitor center filling it with easy-to-grow sun-lovers and Arkansas natives. We also made nametags for all our plants, and Bob Jenkins created a book with all our plants and the care of them. He also provided pictures of each plant and created a picture board of our project and events.
During 2013 our group mulched all of our beds, brought in a ton of sand and created a Japanese garden, did general maintenance of gardens and seasonal plantings. We also added a rain barrel at the visitor center and added a watering system to the gardens there. So far this year we have cleaned our beds, pruning and weeding as needed. At our last meeting we made a three-section compost bin out of recycled pallets. After enhancing our gardens we meet in the heated/air-conditioned visitor center and discuss gardening problems and try to find solutions. We also discuss future needs of our gardens. At this time we partake of refreshment usually provided by Sally, Rich Goller, or Harold Marks. At the end of our meeting we have a drawing for a door prize. Each year in July we meet for a potluck lunch and enjoy visiting together.
We also support the Hatchery Outdoor Adventure. This is an event put on by the Friends of the Hatchery that provides educational opportunities for children. In the past this has included Archery, fly fish casting, fish ink painting, a watershed display, looking at bugs under a microscope, catching real trout from a fish tank, fishing Dry Run Creek, Lawn fishing, BB gun shooting, S-more making, water safety, river boat safety, fly tying, and projects from Master Gardeners. In 2011 we made Chia heads with the kids. In 2012 we made bird feeders from recycled water bottles. In 2013 we made planters from old shoes, filling them with plants grown by hatchery MG's. Each year this event grows bigger. Last year there were over 400 kids registered and l,000 visitors. Sally and I are very grateful to our MG's who support this event. This year the event will be on September 6th from 9 am to 3 pm. The kids will be making and decorating sun visors. They will earn their decorations by identifying various plants.
This is a big project and we would not be able to do it without the support of our helpers. Our dedicated and much loved workers at the Hatchery are Bob Jenkins, who is also our photographer. Miriam Emerick, Susan Pitchford, Barrie Hazelton, Ken Braswell, Fred Struthers, Donald Beard who also takes care of the watering of our gardens, Rich Goller, Barb Goodlet, Libby Stewart, Harold Marks, Denise McCormick, Mike and Ivy Wilcox and Bob Dunston, and from the new class we were happy to have Rod and Kathy Gilmore, Darrell Stewart and Pam Posner join us. Each and every one of these people bring
something special to our group and we are grateful to have them. If you would like to join us at the Hatchery, the next scheduled meeting is on April 7th at the Hatchery visitor center.
Hope to see you there. Dianna Hall
For more information and pictures ..... Click Here
Submitted By Dianna Hall
Edited By Joan Burr
Master Gardener Projects
Read about all of our lovely projects the Master Gardener program supports in Baxter County.
Baxter County Master Gardener Program • University of Arkansas System • Division of Agriculture • © 2013 BCMG