FLINT TWP. — A lot of teamwork went into the 6th Annual Join Hands Day to clean and beautify the Flint Township Park on Norko Drive, sponsored by the GLEANER Greater Arbor fraternal organization.
Helpers included members of the Flint Township Parks and Recreation Committee, Faith Missionary Church Youth Group and the 4-H Club Country Clovers.
Twenty-two youth and 21 adult volunteers turned out to lend a helping hand in work that included clearing leaves and last year’s flower stalks, planting more annuals and perennials in gardens, picking up litter, clearing branches and weeds and adding safety chips to swing areas, mulching juniper beds and removing invasive autumn olive and buckthorn bushes, said Peter Mikelens, GLEANER project leader, in a report to the township board.
He valued volunteer efforts at more than $4,000 in hours and labor.
A nature walk highlighted early spring wildflowers and addressed the toll invasive insect pests have taken on elm and ash trees. Invasive plants are an ongoing problem in the park, but overall park flora is doing well.
The Gleaner Arbor provided $500 for food and materials, Keep Genesee County Beautiful contributed $733 to the effort. Emterra Environmental Services provided Dumpster service — a $300 value, Mikelens said.
He also pointed out improvements to the park including the addition of a beautiful floral backdrop for photographs. Students and wedding parties requested a picturesque place to stand in front of while taking pictures in the park, he said. The backdrop consists of two semi-circles of spirea, a white flower that blooms in late spring, hopefully in time for future graduations and weddings.
Establishing the park as a butterfly preserve is another ongoing effort.
Mikelens said the popularity of the park is catching on. He has observed large numbers of people bringing fast-food lunches to enjoy at the park’s pavilion. The park is within walking distance of many retail businesses on Miller and Linden roads.
Parents and grandparents also bring children to play in the park.
“It is one of the things that makes the township livable,’’ Mikelens said of the natural setting.
Township Supervisor Karyn Miller thanked Mikelens for his efforts and also noted that The Gleaner Arbor takes responsibility to spray for dandelions.
Mikelens credited TrueGreen which he said kindly agreed to work with The GLEANER Arbor to manage dandelion growth in the park.