Friday, May 1, 2009

Habitat for Humanity Volunteer Planting by Heirloom Fan

You’ve heard the expression, “cold hands, warm hearts”. This certainly applied to a dedicated group of CSU Jefferson County Extension Master Gardeners (CMG) and other volunteers who gathered in Arvada to plant the landscape for a new Habitat for Humanity for Metro Denver homeowner.

On April 25, 2009 guided by Jefferson County Horticulture Extension Agent Heather Hodgin, the volunteers braved chilly 50 degree temperatures and light rain to make homeowner Barb Daila’s yard come to life. Habitat representative Kathy Fiebig was also on hand to supervise the event.

Ms. Fiebig spoke to the group of volunteers before work began and explained the mission of Habitat for Humanity. She stated that the homeowners become a vital part of the construction process and that they purchase the homes for low interest rates, enabling many families to move out of poverty housing and to residential neighborhoods and own their first home. Homeowners must be willing to dedicate at least 250 hours of “sweat equity” work in building and completing their homes, including duties such as the landscape planting.
In return, Habitat is able to sell them a home at 0% interest. Over 1 ½ million people have been able to own their first home and move out of poverty thanks to Habitat for Humanity. Volunteers such as the CMGs are also a vital part of the process. Jefferson County Extension CMGs have provided habitat homeowners with low-maintenance, low-water landscape advice since 1999.

Homeowner Barb Daila worked with CMG Kathryn Gault to choose the right plants for her landscape. Her goal was to find ones with year round beauty and color, as well as plants that were water wise and they achieved their goal. Many of the plants selected for the landscape were Plant Select plants,, that have been tested by Colorado State University and the Denver Botanic Gardens for durability and water conservation in the Colorado climate.

When the truck arrived, Kathryn Gault and Heather Hodgin began checking the delivery and designating the plants to the spots marked on the yard. Each volunteer than grabbed a shovel and began the planting process. The homeowner and her family will now have a wonderful landscape to enjoy for many years to come!