Peri Gordon GMMG

Don’t just rake those leaves—make compost

Master Composter and a Georgia Mountains Master Gardener, Peri Lyn Gordon will present the program, “When Nature Gives You Leaves…Make Compost” beginning at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 12 at Lumpkin County Parks and Recreation.

Gordon has been a dedicated recycler since the mid 70s. She came to the realization that the real solution to the solid waste problem lies in the reduction of waste materials produced and consumer reuse of waste. She first became aware of consumer reuse of waste while learning about organic gardening methods at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, N.C.

In the wake of Hurricane Hugo in 1989, Gordon became involved as a volunteer with the Mecklenburg County Land Use and Environmental Safety Administration (LUESA) in Charlotte, N.C. with the massive cleanup of vegetative waste. LUESA was faced with an unprecedented challenge of what to do with the sheer volume of trees, limbs, and leaves that would quickly overwhelm the existing landfill capacity.

Gordon, along with the LUESA staff and other volunteers, advocated with the Mecklenburg County Commission for space to store and eventually compost this waste. LUESA was given access to vacant property but no additional financial support from the county. This was the origin of “Compost Central” which at the end of five years was the most profitable program under county control, generating enough revenue from the sales of finished compost and mulch to pay for two full time employees and a building. It has since moved into a much larger full-service recycling facility.

Out of this initiative grew first the “Pile It Project” a program encouraging passive composting of leaves in backyards and eventually the Master Composter program, a 10-week program teaching not only about composting but other environmentally sound methods of reducing the use of irrigation and chemical pesticides and herbicides. Similar to the Master Gardener program, graduates could become volunteers who are required to give back hours by teaching and volunteering in other initiatives, including community gardening projects, invasive species eradication, native plant rescues, and floodplain reclamation, among others.

Please join the Georgia Mountains Master Gardeners (GMMG) for this interesting and informational program at the Lumpkin County Parks and Recreation, 365 Riley Road, Dahlonega. The program is open to the public and there will be light refreshments served. GMMG also hosts educational programs throughout the year which are free to the public. Prior to the meeting, at 6:30 pm, GMMG members will hold a brief annual meeting to vote on the roster of officers for the 2019 year.

The Georgia Mountains Master Gardeners (GMMG) just completed a season of monthly “Ask a Master Gardener” clinics April thru October at the Dahlonega Farmer’s Market. In addition, the new Junior Master Gardener year kicked off in September at Lumpkin County Elementary School where the Diggin-It gardening club has been busy preparing collard and herb gardens and setting up composting bins, as part of their bi-weekly meetings. These are just two of the projects that GMMG provides as a service to the local Lumpkin and Dawson County communities.

For more information contact the Lumpkin County Extension Office at 706-864-2275.

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