The Wednesday Weeders are a Volunteer Group

The Wednesday Weeders Program – by Diane Patterson


The Wednesday Weeders: an enthusiastic group of volunteers who work to beautify our hometown.

It started with my being asked to sit on the City’s Streetscape Advisory Committee (SAC) in 2007. The committee was talking about forming an adopt-a-streetscape program. Remembering a friend’s, Sally Berryman, recent comments about the appearance of the busy intersection of Hwy 47/50, N Elizabeth and I-25, which everyone visiting Pueblo from the north passes through, I thought perhaps a group of us could get together to “adopt” what we now call the K-Mart Corner.

I was told the first step would be to contact the owners of the property to obtain permission. Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) owns the property, and upon calling their representative I was told that private citizens were not allowed to work on CDOT property; it was too dangerous for citizens to work around such high volumes of traffic. CDOT provided water and lawn mowing services and instead of being picked up trash was run over by the mowers; no weeding, trimming or edging was performed.

CDOT has an adoption program but they look for organizations to donate the money it takes to pay a landscaping company to do the maintenance. CDOTs solution was to find an organization to donate $25 to $35 thousand per year and they would then be happy to post a sign acknowledging the company.

Explaining CDOTs reaction at the monthly SAC meeting fellow member, Barbara Vidmar, mentioned that she knew the current division head of CDOT in Pueblo. Barbara arranged a meeting and we explained what we wanted to do at K-Mart Corner. Supplied with CDOTs blessing, safety videos to watch, orange plastic vests and a couple of cases of bright orange trash bags we were set to begin.

Wednesday mornings worked for Barbara, Sally and me so we agreed to meet early, before the heat of the day settled in, to make the place look better. Word spread and other like-minded friends volunteered to join us. At that time we all bought orange shirts to wear because the plastic vests were too hot. After a year we decided our group needed a name that we could put on highly visible lime green shirts. A local T-shirt provider came up with the logo incorporated into the Wednesday Weeder name.

The first two summers we concentrated our efforts on K-Mart Corner. The grassy areas were too full of dandelions and bind-weed to ever gain control of so we turned our attention primarily to the planted beds. We weeded, trimmed, edged, planted trees and flowers, hauled in breeze and picked up bag after bag after bag of trash. We found CDOT water and mowers to be difficult to rely upon, but instead of becoming frustrated and quitting we turned our attention to other landscapes that needed help.

To this day we still work at the K-Mart Corner but other places we have worked are:

                The fence line on N Elizabeth from Hwy 50 to the 4500 block

                Triangle shaped planting area formed by northbound I-25 exit lanes to Hwy 47

                The swale between southbound I-25 and the exit lane to Hwy 47/50 and N Elizabeth

                The Nature Center

                Arthur Park at Midway and Abriendo

                Pocket Park at St. Clair and Prairie Avenue

                We plant and maintain the Johnston Water-Wise Garden at HARP

                Pueblo Conference Center

                Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center (in the Fall of 2015 we planted 3,317 bulbs!)

                Planting the hanging baskets for Main Street and City Center Drive

                Planting the hanging baskets for HARP

                Front entrance of El Camino neighborhood

                Participated in Streams Week Cleanup

               

Beyond the enjoyment of working together we often have coffee, celebrate holidays, go on trips to the Denver Botanical Gardens and on shopping expeditions to the Denver Pottery Company and to find gardening shoes and tools.

Anyone is welcome to join. We have no requirements other than that you come to work when your schedule allows. If interested, ask to have your name added to the Wednesday Weeder email list and each Monday or Tuesday you will receive an email telling you where we will be working. We work whenever the weather allows.

The WW are under the umbrella of the Keep Pueblo Beautiful Association. In 2017 the Wednesday Weeders performed over 500 volunteer service hours.


The Wednesday Weeders planted well over 3300 bulbs at the Sangre De Cristo Arts Center