Groundskeepers create new garden behind Student Center

Caitlin Saniga

Carla Olson, Rebekkah Berryhill and Shannan Booher sit in the garden they created. ELIZABETH MYERS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Jason Hall

This summer, three groundskeepers planned and planted a new garden behind the Student Center to give students, staff and campus visitors a calm retreat.

Groundskeepers Rebekkah Berryhill, Shannan Booher and Carla Olson, with the help of several volunteers, created a garden of warm-colored shrubs and trees that features a campus map and stone bench.

“The area has a lot of red that will really draw your eye,” Berryhill said.

To fill in the area, they chose redbud and paperbark maple trees and flowering shrubs like viburnum, spirea and quince.

Creating this landscape was part of the Job Enrichment Training Program – a nine-month program for campus employees who are part of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The program gives these employees the opportunity to earn a raise by completing about 135 unpaid hours and participating in semi-weekly workshops.

As part of the program, Berryhill, Booher and Olson met for four hours twice a week to do math problems, work on computers and look at blueprints for the landscaping project.

“If we would have done it in our own backyard and paid for it ourselves, it would have cost $20,000,” Olson said. “But, here we used our own materials and equipment. “

Although several volunteers helped the groundskeepers plant trees and shrubs, Booher said they had expected more help.

“We were going to put in irrigation and a waterfall, but we didn’t have enough time or volunteers,” Booher said.

The next session of the program, which begins Sept. 24, may continue to develop the landscape by adding the waterfall. Berryhill also drew up plans for another small garden on the other side of the sidewalk.

“I hope it will become a place where people can congregate and kind of relax and enjoy the scenery,” she said.

Contact buildings and grounds reporter Caitlin Saniga at [email protected].