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The Thompson-Ames Historical Society
writes a weekly news release.

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4/23/06   Random Observations on Earth Day

Saturday, April 22nd, Earth Day, was an opportunity for some random observations.

A group of Thompson-Ames Historical Society members had gathered to work at the Rowe House.

While Judy DalPan was putting the final touches to Spring Cleaning indoors, others were contemplating how to tackle some outdoors needs.

But first, the newly planted Green Mountain Sugar Maple became the center of attention. Carmel Lancia of T-AHS’s Rowe House Gardens Committee had arranged to use some Rowe House Memorial Funds to purchase a tree. Hayden McLaughlin of Belknap Landscaping had selected the tree, chosen the ideal location, and planted the tree the week before. Careful watering every other day should help the tree settle in by Memorial Day Weekend dedication ceremonies.

Planting a tree at this time of year is reminiscent of Arbor Day activities, which date back to 1872. The first Arbor Day was celebrated on April 10th of that year in Nebraska, a state nearly void of trees. In fact, it is said that a traveler could go for miles in the western plains without seeing a tree, the result of cutting so many trees to build houses, to supply firewood, and to clear land for farming. Arbor Day ceremonies soon spread throughout the Unites States and even to Europe and Asia and were especially popular among school children.

In 1970, Earth Day evolved as an attempt to draw people’s attention towards preservation and conservation efforts. Here in Gilford, in 1990, the students in fifth grade organized themselves as “Environmentalists” to promote awareness in their families and in the community as a whole to preserve, conserve, recycle and reuse. They worked along with Lucille Allen to build community awareness by promoting recycling, including the creation and use of the Goodie Barn at Gilford’s Recycling Center on Kimball Road. For Gilford’s Old Home Day parade the students created an awesome float using a train as a model to promote community awareness. Furthermore, not only did the students host a day-long meeting with the Green Kids of Franconia but also they planted 100 trees in Gilford!

On Earth Day, 2006, at the Rowe House, attention turned to rejuvenating the hedge row that lines the entrance way to the elementary school parking lot. Pruning and weeding proved out of the question. The drastic solution agreed upon was to cut the mangled growth down to ground level and let it re-grow under the watchful eyes of the Garden Committee. Mary Chesebrough, Dale DalPan, Herb Riley, Ed LaSala, and Stan Piper were up to the task and by noon had made a level field for the shrubs to send up new shoots.

Before calling it a day, the folks paused to survey the area. What they saw brought out smiles of approval. There flanking the entry steps to the Rowe House and nodding in the breeze were groups of daffodils now in full bloom with the first flowers of violas and wild violets at their feet. -- Some of the plants have been growing there for countless years and some varieties are undoubtedly heirloom.

Without question, volunteers such as these help Thompson-Ames Historical Society preserve the cultural history of Gilford. -- If you are interested in lending a helping hand, please check out T-AHS’s website, www.gilfordhistoricalsociety.org. To contact Thompson-Ames Historical Society, please call 527-9009 or send an e-mail to thomames@worldpath.net.