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Column: Go green after St. Patricks

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Commentary by Cindy Benedict

It’s St. Patrick’s Day and so my mind is naturally going green. We have some hidden gems of resources that can help your yard look amazing and improve the environment. I also discovered that most of these resources are free, or very reasonable, so being good won’t break the bank. Let’s dig in (ok, I couldn’t help it – better than pot of gold jokes).

Earth Day/ArborFest at Forest Park on April 25. The city’s Clean Storm Water Program will be giving away free rain gauges and other goodies, while The Tree Board and Keep Noblesville Beautiful will be handing out free tree saplings.

Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District (HCSWCD) – www.hamiltonswcd.org has all sorts of programs to help you learn more about your soils, assess good ways to manage drainage problems, and provide water and soil testing. These two programs are especially good:

Backyard Conservation Cost Share – This matching grant program can reduce the costs of making your yard more environmentally friendly with rain gardens, bioswales, pollinator gardens and more. Applications are due by April 15.

Noblesville Rain Barrel Program – Beginning on April 20, Noblesville residents can receive a rain barrel for only $25. Take one of the water quality pledges at http://indiana.clearchoicescleanwater.org and bring proof of residency when you pick up a barrel at their offices. This program is in partnership with the City of Noblesville Clean Storm Water Program.

Seriously, everyone at HCSWCD is very friendly and wants to help so stop by at 1717 Pleasant St. to learn more or call 773-2181.

Purdue Extension, Hamilton County is home to the Master Gardeners program and their website has lots of free tips and information at www.extension.purdue.edu/hamilton The Hamilton County Master Gardeners 17th Annual Plant Sale on May 16 not only has an amazing array of plants but they provide free gardening information and planting advice. The sale runs from 8 a.m. through 3 p.m. at the Hamilton County 4-H Fairgrounds, 2003 Pleasant St. Learn more at www.hcmga.org

Making your outdoor spaces more beautiful, while easily improving storm water drainage or providing a habitat for pollinators, is a definite win/win. Who knows, maybe you’ll start a trend on your block that will beautify the whole neighborhood. Now that’s worth a St. Patrick’s Day toast in your honor!

Cindy Benedict is the community engagement manager for the City of Noblesville. She may be reached at 770-2007 or cbenedict@noblesville.in.us.


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