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Volunteers prepare Elizabeth Township herb garden for growing season

| Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 4:16 a.m.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Cynthia-Grace Devine-Kepner, Bonnie Shanko and Peggy Trevanion of the Herb Society of America Western Pennsylania Unit assess the condition of the herb garden at Round Hill Park on Monday. Their organization is looking for volunteers interested in tending the garden on a regular basis.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Steve Tarrant, who manages a Starbucks in Mt. Lebanon, was one of several employees from the company who volunteered to clean up the Round Hill Park herb garden on Monday.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Tim Kepner and Bonnie Elster clean up the herb garden at Round Hill Park in Elizabeth Township on Monday. The garden is managed by the Herb Society of America Western Pennsylvania Unit.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Sophia Petrantoni, 3, and her mother Jenny Petrantoni help clean up the herb garden at Round Hill Park in Elizabeth Township on Monday.

Volunteers converged on the herb garden at Round Hill Park in Elizabeth Township on Monday to ready the site for the growing season.

Those taking part in the annual spring cleanup included volunteers from Starbucks and members of the Western Pennsylvania Unit of National Herb Society of America, an organization that has overseen the garden for more than 40 years.

“It's a process,” said Cynthia-Grace Devine-Kepner, who tends the garden on a regular basis. She noted a lot of work goes into maintaining a healthy growing space and said volunteers are always welcome. Over the years, she said her organization has lost older members who have not been replaced.

There are more than 20 plots in the garden containing a variety of herbs, including lovage, wormwood, fennel and various varieties of mint, thyme and oregano.

So far, only a few of those perennials have started growing for the season. Volunteers worked carefully around any spots of greenery to clear old growth and dead leaves from the plots.

Steve Terrant, who manages a Starbucks outlet in Mt. Lebanon, said his company and its employees are committed to volunteerism. The visit coincided with the coffee seller's Global Month of Service.

Terrant said Starbucks employees are encouraged to support community and non-profit causes they believe in. Terrant said the company devotes part of its website to helping employees and store customers connect with local service projects.

“Our partners want to volunteer their time,” he said.

Peggy Trevanion, who is past chairperson of the National Herb Society of America chapter, said Starbucks has been good to the organization. In addition to helping with volunteers, she noted that last year Starbucks Foundation donated $1,000 to her organization.

The local chapter oversees the herb garden at Mellon Park in Shadyside and the medicinal herb garden at Old Economy Village in Ambridge.

Anyone interested in volunteering in the Round Hill Park herb garden is asked to call 412-341-6853.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or eslagle@tribweb.com.

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