WESTFIELD-Gardeners of all skill levels who are willing to get their hands dirty are encouraged to “adopt a plot” at the Amelia Park Rink & Gardens on South Broad Street.
From weeding and pruning to transplanting flowers, the opportunities are varied for volunteers, according to Beverly Donnachie and Beth Lusteg, members of the board of directors who also serve on the garden committee.
During a grounds tour on Tuesday, the women explained that gardening maintenance is needed now through the fall in designated areas surrounding the rink.
“We are looking for people who are passionate about gardening and want to provide some TLC to help our garden areas grow,” said Lusteg, noting that 15 to 20 volunteers this year would be a tremendous help.
Donnachie echoed those sentiments.
“It takes a village to keep it all going smoothly,” said Donnachie. “If you enjoy the outdoors in a beautiful setting you will find this opportunity to be a refreshing outlet.”
Both women agree that a time commitment can be flexible, however, a volunteer (or group) volunteering their time should plan on checking in on the plot at least once a week.
“Some of our gardeners have a little niche of what they like to do,” said Lusteg.
For both women, home gardening has been a passion of theirs for years.
“I’ve always loved gardening,” said Donnachie, noting that volunteering at the rink also opens up the opportunity to meet new people and become a part of the community.
“I love being outside,” said Lusteg, adding that sharing gardening knowledge with others is also rewarding.
For individuals with less time to oversee a plot, a one day work team is being assembled for May 15 at the rink. If it is raining on that date, the work team will gather on May 16. Prior to beginning the day cleaning, all volunteers will be asked to complete a volunteer application form.
The women are also gearing up for the Musical Moments concerts at Amelia’s Garden which is adjacent to the rink. While a landscaper is responsible for maintaining the infrastructure of the garden, there are opportunities periodically to also assist with weeding and basic clean-up duties. Tools are provided for volunteers.
“We will be trying something new this year at the concerts,” said Lusteg, noting that snacks, mini sundaes and ice cream cones, popcorn and beverages will be sold.
“We are working on the Amelia Park Trail Mix, as well as other ‘snacks of the week’ that could include strawberry shortcake when in season and homemade cookies,” said Donnachie.
The money raised from the sale of the “reasonably priced” snacks will assist in purchasing plants and maintaining the grounds of the garden.
The Musical Moments concert schedule includes: June 5, Pioneer Valley Fiddlers; June 12, Westfield High School Jazz Band; June 19, Easy Street; June 26, Pitoniak Brothers; July 10, Agawam Melody Band; July 17, Ritchie Mitnick and Sound of Music Singers; July 24, Old Country Road Band; July 31, Fran Liptak & Friends; Aug. 7, Dan Kane & Friends; Aug. 14, Harry Rock; Aug. 21, Charlie Galvin Band, and Aug. 28, The Knightsmen Band.
All concerts are conducted at 6:30 p.m. in Amelia’s Garden and attendees are encouraged to bring a lawn chair. In the event of inclement weather, the concert will be conducted inside the ice arena.
For more information on volunteering, call Donnachie at (413) 205-6295 or Lusteg at (413) 562-6897.
On a related note, a minimum wage position for eight hours a week is open for an individual to do mowing. Call Brian Barnes, executive director, Amelia Park Rink & Gardens, for more information at (413) 568-2503.