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Hilltop Garden and Nature Center creates plant growing kits, celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day



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Volunteers tie bags of soil and assemble growing trays Jan. 20 at the Hilltop Garden and Nature Center at IU for a Martin Luther King Jr. Day service activity. The volunteers made plant-growing kits for local schools. Cate Charron

Hilltop Garden and Nature Center invited volunteers to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday at the center on East 10th Street by creating plant growing kits for local schools.

This is the 11th year Hilltop Garden has arranged the event. The event went from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and produced approximately 6,000 seed packets for 2,000 students. Kits are free to teachers in Monroe, Lawrence, Greene, Brown and Owen counties.

Manager Kaylie Scherer said it’s great to help local students, especially during Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“It’s a good opportunity for students and the community to give back,” Scherer said.

In 2019, Hilltop Garden sent kits into 145 classrooms in 37 schools. The kits provide teachers with a hands-on activity for their students to learn about plants, biology and nutrition, according to a press release from Hilltop Garden. 

Each kit has a packet of peas, lettuce and kale, soil, a growing tray and instructions. Cook Medical donated unused plastic trays to be repurposed into the growing trays for students.

About 75 people volunteered throughout the day, including IU students, staff and community members.

Georgia Vaught is part of the Monroe County Master Gardener Association. She works at Hilltop year-round in the tea and pollinator gardens, but also volunteers at the center.She said it was good to see such a big group come to volunteer.

Various groups volunteered at the event including 4-HClub Junior Leaders, First United Methodist Church, Master Gardeners, Hanapin Marketing and Civic Leadership Development at IU. 

IU freshman Noah Kaufman said he volunteered at the event because he’s part of IU’s Civic Leadership Development club. He said it was meaningful to volunteer on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“It’s important because Martin Luther King Jr. was dedicated to service, so we are honoring his legacy,” Kaufman said. 

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