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Ligonier Country Market, Loyalhanna Watershed Association lauded for children's outdoor education efforts

Mary Pickels
| Friday, May 4, 2018, 11:45 a.m.
Ligonier Country Market's six-year-old children's garden was honored in 2017 with a blue ribbon from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's Gardening and Greening Contest.
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Ligonier Country Market's six-year-old children's garden was honored in 2017 with a blue ribbon from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's Gardening and Greening Contest.

In celebration of Ligonier Country Market's children's garden's 2017 receipt of a Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Blue Ribbon, the market and partnering organization Loyalhanna Watershed Association will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. May 19, opening day for the market's new season.

"Our garden was selected from over 350 entries. We're thrilled to receive this amazing honor," says Wilma Light in a news release.

Light is a member of the Weeders and Seeders Garden Club of Ligonier and the Westmoreland County Penn State Extension master gardener program, two of the partner groups that maintain the roughly 2,000-square-foot children's garden.

Located at the Loyalhanna Watershed Association farm at West Main Street and Springer Road, the garden serves as a living outdoor classroom for local children to dig in the soil and learn about garden ecosystems, the release states.

Created in 2012, the garden's vegetables, herbs, flowers, native shrubs and other pollinator plants also are a colorful focal point for market shoppers.

Grant will boost kids' gardening education

The watershed association also received recent acknowledgement, with the award of a 2018 Youth Garden Grant from Kids Gardening, a national nonprofit promoting garden-based learning for children, the release notes.

The grant includes $600 worth of gardening supplies, from tools to a grow lab, books and a watering wand, for the association's Farm Environmental Science Program, which also support the children's garden, Light says.

Begun last year with an after-school club for R.K. Mellon Elementary School students, the program is growing to include more schools and groups, Light says.

"(Association) instructor Lynne Donnelly has designed an innovative, hands-on environmental science education program for students in area public and private schools. These children are really eager to learn, and it's amazing to see them soaking up environmental education and enjoying it so much," she adds.

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MaryPickels.

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