Baxter County Master Gardener Project
The Norfork National Fish Hatchery is located on Highway 177 below the Norfork Lake dam. The Hatchery is visited by 280,000 people yearly, making it one of the most visited areas in Baxter County.
The Baxter County Master Gardener 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. This project was selected as Baxter County Master Gardener Project of the year in 2012 and 2014.
Cheryl McConkey was the first project leader. During her term a flower bed was created 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 the beds in front of the office and at the entrance sign were included in the project.
In 2012 Sally Stidham and Dianna Hall became co-project leaders. The garden on the south side of the visitor center was expanded filling it with easy-to-grow sun-lovers and Arkansas natives. Nametags for all plants were made, and Bob Jenkins created a book listing all the plants and their needed care. He also provided pictures of each plant and created a picture board of the project and events. In 2013 a rain barrel and watering system were added to the gardens at the visitor center. In 2014 a three-section compost bin was constructed out of recycled pallets.
In 2015 Darrell Stewart and Karen Tipton took over as project co-leaders. During that time another planting bed adjacent to the garage was added. The Oak Leaf Hydrangea was moved into to this bed, and new camellia added. Native plants are used in the Hatchery Gardens except for the addition of some annuals flowers added each season for color.
After enhancing the 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 refreshments, and at the end of our meeting we have a drawing for a door prize.
We also assist 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, in 2014 we provided the children with sun visors and decorations for various plants they were able to identify, and in 2015 grass Chia sock heads were made by the children. Each year this event grows bigger with up to 400 kids registered and l,000 visitors.
This big project could not be done without the support of our dedicated helpers. Our dedicated workers at the Hatchery in 2015 were Bob Jenkins (who is also our photographer), Miriam Emerick, Barrie Hazelton, Ken Braswell, Donald Beard (who also takes care of the watering of our gardens), Barb Goodlett, Libby Stewart, Rod and Kathy Gilmore, Jo Wilson, Joanne Ragsdale, and Pam Posner. Each and every one of these people bring something special to our group and we are grateful to have them. For 2016 Darrell Stewart is Project leader backed up by these dedicated helpers.
If you would like to join us at the Hatchery, the regularly scheduled meeting day for Project Enhancement Day is the FIRST Thursday of each month at the Hatchery Visitor Center.
Hope to see you there!
Visit our website to view all our projects baxtercountymg.com
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