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Omaha nursing students prepare Council Bluffs community garden

Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 2:29 PM CDT
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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) - Dozens of students from Nebraska Methodist College volunteered their time Wednesday at Creektop Gardens, a community garden in Council Bluffs.

Helping to prepare the 90 plots for the upcoming gardening season, dozens of students worked in groups to weed, mulch, and clear the planting beds.

“I think volunteering should be part of everyone in a community,” said Melissa Hulbert, a nursing instructor at Nebraska Methodist. “Especially as nurses coming into a profession where we’re serving our patients in different ways, I think it’s important to serve our community as well.”

The 712 Initiative oversees Creektop Gardens. The non-profit’s director of marketing, Rachel Kent, said they’re always happy to have helping hands.

“It is such a large garden and it takes a lot of hands to prepare it for the season so when we have large volunteer groups like we do today, it helps prepare it faster and better for the gardeners,” she said.

Melissa Hulbert said by volunteering their time, the nursing students are learning valuable lessons.

“I hope that they see the importance of truly serving their community and serving all people. Not just worrying about the acute sickness part, but the whole patient.”

Another group of Nebraska Methodist students was helping to renovate houses in Council Bluffs on Wednesday, too.

Meanwhile, as the gardening season fast approaches, The 712 Initiative hopes that Creektop Gardens can build off its 2020 season when every plot was planted. Rachel Kent says that was the best season in the nearly 10 years the community garden has been around.

“The garden was super vibrant, everything was growing, we had the most gardeners we ever had so we’re hoping to do it bigger and better this year.”

Kent said it’s possible the pandemic helped 2020 become the banner season as more people were looking for ways to get out of the house.

She hopes as restrictions are lifted, more people will be drawn to the garden that is also a dedicated learning space for students. The 712 Initiative looks forward to hosting educational workshops this summer for students interested in gardening, local birds, native plants, pollinators, and other topics.

Plots are still available to reserve for the 2021 gardening season. You can apply at The 712 Initiative website.

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