As Franklin Tate and the service-learning staff kept Tropical Storm Fay at bay, several hundred Warren Wilson students, faculty and staff made landfall at numerous sites in Black Mountain for a massive Service Day effort Aug. 22.
Beneficiaries of this year's Service Day whirlwind were Black Mountain Recreation and Parks Department, Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women, and longtime college partner Presbyterian Home for Children. The projects ranged from playground construction at Lake Tomahawk to brush clearing at the children's home.
The largest number of worker bees could be found at the correctional center, where well over 100 students, faculty and staff planted about 1,100 plants and shrubs to beautify and stabilize a large bare bank looming above Lake Eden Road. President Sandy Pfeiffer and his wife, Evelyn, were among the contingent at that site, along with Jonathan Ehrlich, new vice president for administration and finance.
Where did all those junipers, day lilies and the like come from? Hawksridge Farms Inc., a nursery in Hickory, N.C., donated them all, to the tune of about $6000. Landscaping assistant Renee Fortner, Tom LaMuraglia's new sidekick, was instrumental in securing the generous donation from the nursery more than an hour down I-40.
Tate, interim service-learning dean, said the decision to return to Black Mountain after a successful day there in 2006 was an easy call, calling it "truly a backyard endeavor."
"In service-learning we always like to talk about 'need,' as in, 'Who truly needs our help?'" he said, adding that Service Day 2008 was "a great opportunity for Warren Wilson students, staff, and faculty to feel not only needed, but needed by our closest neighbors."