Volunteers with Green Thumbs Use Their Fridays to Beautify Kings Park Library

For almost 20 years, a loyal cadre of Braddock residents have worked tirelessly to improve and enhance the outside environment at the Kings Park Library. These volunteers are members of the Friends of the Library, and its coordinator, Norene Gerstner, serves as the Friends’ Garden Chair. Gerstner, who has been planting, pruning, weeding and mulching at the library for 14 years, is a Master Gardener and hosts a free weekly plant clinic from 10 AM to 1 PM on Saturdays at the Library between May and September.

What even the casual visitor can see emerging at the library in recent years is a series of a drought tolerant, perennial and diverse gardens areas. A guiding principal for the group is to assure that the “right” plant finds the “right” location. The library grounds are designated a “waystation” for monarchs, which have both milkweed plants for the caterpillars and nectar plants for the butterflies.
Norene has also supervised 26 Eagle Scout projects at Kings Park Library. The most recent one - the restoration of a native garden in the northwest corner of the library - took place this past summer. More than 100 hours of labor were performed by Eagle Scout candidate Andy Russell and his team to complete the project.

In addition to garden work, these volunteers spend time cleaning up the pervasive litter—cigarette butts, gum, fast food trash--left on the grounds by patrons. The volunteers would appreciate the public’s help in keeping the library grounds litter free.

The group’s most active volunteers in recent years, include Irene Powers, Judy Nitsche, Linda Wirth, Carol Owen, Beverly Horton, Beverly Wright, Daniel McGuire and Sandi and Bruce Wallachy. Braddock District owes them a debt of gratitude. If you do not have the time to volunteer, a donation to assist with the purchase of plants and other materials can be made to the Friends of the Kings Park Library.

If you are an avid gardener, or just have an interest in learning, get engaged and join this dedicated group. Head Librarian Linda Masnik notes: “Among the highlights of visiting the Kings Park Library is our inviting outdoor space. Our customers and staff have enjoyed the gardens and natural beauty for many years. We have even brought the outside in, displaying photographs of the gardens in the library.”

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