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Outreach Corps beautifies trail

| Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, 10:15 p.m.
Trail Town Outreach Corps interns (from left) Joe Crumbley, Rachael Christie and Michelle Rapp start preparing a newspaper bed with project leader Emma Strong (far right). They used newspaper to kill the grass and prevent weeds because rototilling would have been difficult with old railroad ballast near the trail. Submitted

Water pooling near the Yough River Trail portion of the Great Allegheny Passage will now help nourish some plants that will beautify the area.

The Trail Town Outreach Corps installed the 55 square-foot flower garden near the Bright Morning Bed and Breakfast on Jefferson Court in Collinsburg.

Owner Mary Lou Rendulic said she'll be glad to see the blooming wildflowers in the spring.

“It will definitely enhance my property, I look at it every day,” she said.

Rendulic agreed to maintain the garden after it was created in October.

Cara Madden, an intern with the outreach corps, organized the beautification project, which is a requirement for each corps member through the Student Conservation Association.

“After a rain, water really builds up at the side of the trail,” Madden said. “We planted a number of native wildflowers that like rain.”

Five corps members planted six types of plants in the garden, including a range of blooming times and heights. The common names of the plants chosen for the project are Bee Balm, Blue Flag Iris, Button Bush, Cardinal Flower, Sneezeweed and White Beardtongue.

Rendulic's bed and breakfast is a member of the Great Allegheny Passage Sustainable Business Network, which is also a project of the Trail Towns Outreach Corps that includes 25 businesses along the trail who have agreed to take steps to minimize environmental impacts of their operations.

Rendulic said she knew that maintenance is the hardest part of any project, so she volunteered.

“It might take another season for the plants to really establish and propagate, but I think it will be really nice,” Rendulic said.

So far, she's raked the mulch back into the flower bed where animals have scurried through.

Madden said she's glad the students can work together with the residents along the trail toward sustainable development, which is part of their mission.

“We really appreciate having partners in the community that can work on the projects with us,” she said.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at sfederoff@tribweb.com or 724-836-6660.

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