Audubon, YMCA join for garden project

Submitted Photo Organizations working together resulted in plantings by the Jamestown YWCA’s entrance on Fourth Street and a more attractive downtown. Pausing in their work along with their young helpers are (from left) YWCA Finance Director Cody Gustafson, Audubon Community Nature Center Executive Director Leigh Rovegno, YWCA Billing Coordinator Brooke Sikes, and former YWCA Executive Director Patricia Smith.

JAMESTOWN — Audubon Community Nature Center recently joined forces with the YWCA to help beautify the areas surrounding the YWCA building’s entrance on Fourth Street on the corner of Main in downtown Jamestown.

Audubon Executive Director Leigh Rovegno worked to help design and implement the gardens with the assistance of YWCA staff members, students, and Audubon Garden Committee volunteers. Funding for the project was provided by the Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation.

“It’s so important for local organizations to work together to support each other,” said Rovegno. “So many of our donors, members, and volunteers support numerous organizations in the area, so it only makes sense that we do the same. Jacqueline (Phelps, YWCA Executive Director) and I really enjoyed working together on this project, and we are grateful to the Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation for making it possible!”

The collaboration was inspired by Sheldon Executive Director Linda Swanson when she spotted Phelps and Rovegno having coffee one morning in Jamestown this spring. Joining their conversation about possible collaborations, Swanson suggested improving the entryway area to the YWCA. Rovegno offered her garden consultation services that had been one of the recent “Audubon Exclusive” fundraising opportunities.

The two directors began working together to come up with a budget proposal to be submitted to the foundation for consideration. The goal was to create a low-maintenance, but beautiful, garden that would compliment the beauty of the historic building. The proposal was submitted in May, and the planting took place soon after.

Audubon Garden Volunteers pitched in to help build a stone border, add new soil, and plant the new plants with the assistance from YWCA staff and students from the YWCA’s preschool program.

“It was a fantastic way to show the importance of working together on a collective effort that benefits Jamestown as a whole,” Rovegno observed.

The Audubon director has an extensive background in gardening, from beginning in New Hampshire where she worked on the first certified organic farm in the state to her years at the Denver Botanic Gardens, where she established a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program that grew over thirty different crops and fed over 300 families.

Rovegno also had her own garden consultation and maintenance business in Colorado, working with homeowners to re-invent and re-create their gardens to enhance their beauty. She now offers this service as a fundraiser for Audubon. Keep an eye out for the Fall Garden Clean Up/Garden Consultations coming soon on the Audubon Exclusive webpage,AudubonCNC.org/Exclusives.

To learn more about the Jamestown YWCA visit YWCAJamestown.com. More information about Audubon Community Nature Center can be found at AudubonCNC.org.

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