Spring is here. The temperatures will surely get warmer. And things will soon start to bloom.
Town of Amherst horticulturalist Chelsea Baird is on a mission to grow a Communities In Bloom committee this Spring and watch it flourish into a perennial part of the border community.
Baird is hosting an open house at 6 p.m. on Wed, Apr. 11, at the Credit Union Business and Innovation Centre – a.k.a. the old town hall off Acadia Street – to reintroduce the program to the community and plant the seeds of interest in bringing Communities In Bloom back.
“There is a need in the community for a committee to take hold of Amherst and try and improve in those areas,” Baird said. “It also helps us work towards our goal of being the most healthy, active living community in Nova Scotia.”
It's a bit of a misnomer to think Communities In Bloom is only about flower gardens and hanging baskets. The organization reviews and grades participating communities on six criteria – tidiness, environmental action, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscape and floral displays. The variety of evaluation criteria means many inroads for the community to participate in the national program means more ways for Amherst to show its civic pride while pursuing its goal of being a leading community for healthy and active living.
Active living, Baird said, can be inspired and encouraged by community beautification.
“The nicer your town is the healthier your town is,” Baird said. “I think we made great grounds last summer with the floral displays downtown and in the parks. I think we definitely saw more people getting out and taking it in.”
When a community enrolls, representatives with Communities In Bloom’s head office visit and evaluate their collective efforts and offer input on things to do in the future to enhance those efforts, Baird said.
“In my past experiences with Communities In Bloom, it’s a great asset to have these people come to the community and kind of see it in a different light,” Baird said. “They evaluate you and make suggestions to what you can do to improve your community.”
Because of the diverse criteria there are many ways for citizens, businesses and the town itself to be involved, Baird said, noting the town’s infrastructure for water treatment, sewage and drainage are also looked at in the evaluations and best practices are shared so everyone works towards improving their environmental practices.
Beyond building interest in the Communities In Bloom, related plans are underway for the Town of Amherst to put its best foot forward this month with community cleanups working towards Earth Day on April 22.
A general community cleanup will take place Sat, Apr. 21. Bags and gloves will be available at the Amherst Stadium which will serve as a pickup/drop-off. Local schools are being encouraged to hold their own cleanups Thurs, Apr. 19, and businesses are encouraged to participate Fri, Apr. 20.
Communities In Bloom