Today is a special day we dedicate to celebrating our planet: Earth Day. We spoke to Bismarck Parks and Rec to see how people can get more environmentally involved.
“It’s a place where people can just be,” said Karen Ehrens, a volunteer at Bismarck Community Orchard.
You might not have heard of it, but the Bismarck Community Orchard is just one greenspace Bismarck Parks and Rec manages. Tucked inside the Clem Softball complex, many don’t know it’s there.
“The tree rows keep it safe but also keep it hidden. So, a lot of people aren’t aware that this is here. And then, we do get a lot of trash and litter. It’s because it’s not used as much as it should be,” said Claire Lowstuter, a Local Foods Coordinator at Bismarck Parks and Rec.
For Earth Day, Lowstuter wants to bring it to light, or make it a not-so-secret garden.
“Because it is a community-driven resource, it also has to be supported by the community as well as enjoyed by the community,” Lowstuter said.
Lowstuter tells us they need more help with the orchard during the summer months. We caught up with one volunteer, who’s been working at the garden since it opened. She tells us now is a great time to get involved.
“I think in this year post-pandemic when some of us have been spending a little more time than usual together. Going out and volunteering together in an orchard or doing litter pickup in your neighborhood. In parks and roadways, those are all great things to get out and do together,” said Ehrens.
Those working in the Orchard say it’s more than just something to look at; it’s a community resource, full of learning opportunities.
“It’s a great way to just appreciate that growing food sometimes isn’t always easy. You have to deal with the weather. You have to deal with the other creatures that like to nibble on fruit trees. So you learn and can appreciate that our farmers who do grow food for a living.. some of the things that they have to go through too,” said Ehrens.
“One of the great things about the orchard is it can show how we can increase our access to local healthy food. I think Earth Day is a great reminder that we all share this planet, and we can all do a little bit to protect the environment for future generations,” said Lowstuter.
The Bismarck Community Orchard is looking for volunteers and sponsors. They also have a spring cleanup event planned for the end of the month.
For information on how you can get involved, click HERE.