Going Green

For years, nothing has really been able to grow at the Riverwalk Community Labyrinth located along Jones & Gifford Avenue.

After Wednesday, that might finally change thanks to the partnering of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County Master Gardener Program and The Resource Center. On Wednesday, 400 red-osier dogwood whips were planted at the Riverwalk Community Labyrinth. A whip is an unbranched young tree seedling.

The labyrinth was created several years ago by people with cognitive disabilities and their support staff at The Resource Center. The labyrinth is located across the street from The Resource Center’s Michael J. Raymond Center.

Betsy Burgeson, Master Gardener Program coordinator, said the reason nothing has been able to grow in the labyrinth is because of the over-population of deer in the area, which have eaten everything planted at the site.

So what is to stop the deer this time? Apparently red-osier dogwood plants are seldom damaged by deer.

“They’re easy to maintain, too,” Burgeson said about the dogwood plants. “You just stick them in the ground, and we will see if they take.”

Robin Kestler, The Resource Center Alternatives Day Habilitation activities leader, said about 20 people participated in planting the dogwood that will hopefully be able to grow. She said teaming with Cornell’s Master Gardener Program is part of The Resource Center’s mission of being involved in the community.

“We’ve been doing a lot of volunteering,” she said. “We want people to see what we can do.”

The dogwood was donated by Cornell Cooperative Extension from their agriculture center. Burgeson said the Master Gardener Program has been working with many organizations to enrich the community.

“It is nice to interact with people,” she said. “It is nice to see how a little thing can make a difference.”

The Master Gardener Program is one of several programs offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension. Cornell Cooperative Extension is a community-based educational organization, affiliated with Cornell University, Chautauqua County Government, the New York State SUNY system and the federal government through the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. For more information, call 664-9502 or visit www.cce.cornell.edu/chautauqua.