2019’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day saw Hinesville, Midway and Jesup area Georgia Power representatives volunteer their time with Keep Liberty Beautiful to beautify and update the Reading Garden, located behind the Midway-Riceboro branch of Live Oak Library.
According to a press release by Georgia Power, “each year, Georgia Power honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s commitment to transform communities through volunteering by engaging more than 1,000 employees in community service projects across the state on MLK Day of Service.”
The annual event rallies employees across the state to uphold Georgia Power’s century old-mission to be “Citizens Wherever We Serve,” according to the press release.
Local Georgia Power manager Randy Mayfield said that Georgia Power is located in nearly every county in Georgia except two, which makes this such a huge, impactful service.
“Georgia Power did projects in our local region of Savannah, Brunswick, Hinesville, Statesboro and Rincon,” Mayfield said. “The Citizens of Georgia Power groups are also doing projects across the state.”
Local representatives gathered at the Midway library 8 a.m. on Monday to begin an ongoing project to update the Reading Garden behind the library.
The garden, created four years ago by Keep Liberty Beautiful’s former director Sarah Swida and volunteers, the garden was originally meant to be a rain garden, for research purposes, KLB’s current director Karen Bell said.
“The garden was made out here so we could demonstrate what others could do with their gardens,” Bell said. “We’ve partnered with the Girl-Scouts, they’re going to make a shaded area for where the benches are with Home Depot.”
The garden, which also received a certification as a pollinator garden in September 2018, needs some renovations to update and preserve vital plants, such as Milkweed, to keep the Monarch butterflies alive. Liberty County Extension Agent Ashley Hoppers helped KLB achieve the certification, and they’re currently hoping to advance to the next level.
“Just this year, the population has dropped by 40 percent,” said KLB Program Assistant Chase McDuffie. “The milkweed plant is the only plant that Monarchs can lay their eggs on. They have to have it to reproduce.”
Those who volunteered spent the morning shoveling gravel, building up edges, and eventually covering the entire area in a new layer of rock. The next steps include planting when the weather is good, McDuffie said. Right now, the weather is too cold to plant anything.
With these improvements, it’s hoped that the garden will be used even more by those visitors to the library.
“I am so thankful to the Georgia Power works who came out to assist with the Reading Garden at the Midway Community Complex on MLK Day of Service,” Bell said. “I appreciate their dedication to support Liberty County and the programs of Keep Liberty Beautiful.”
The local branch of Georgia Power is also involved with Keep Liberty Beautiful’s Earth Day as a sponsor and booth participant, and they participate in the Great American Clean-up and Rivers Alive, Bell said. There is also an expressed interest in supporting community gardens around Liberty County, she continued.
The mission of KLB is to be a community education and volunteer action program dedicated to community improvement, KLB’s website reads. It is an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, and has been working for the best quality of life for Liberty County since 1983.