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This time of year I’m longing for “green,” realizing we are at least a couple of months away from any real signs of spring. I love hiking on packed snow and haven’t had my fill of snowshoeing or skiing. Perhaps so much time indoors away from friends makes me wistful for “new beginnings.”We all recall the toilet paper and hand-sanitizer shortages just 11 months ago. Beans and soups were in short supply. Today most everything is back on the shelves but I recently read that seeds for planting a garden are hard to find if you are looking for something in particular. People spent more time outdoors last summer — some hiked, others planted a garden.If gardening appeals to you, check out the Charmaine Nymann organic community garden in Bear Creek Park. It’s managed by the Bear Creek Garden Association, and open plots are announced at this time of year. It’s a great way to dig in, get dirty and learn from more experienced gardeners.The garden association has much to be proud of. It brings together as many as 200 gardeners in any given year and they are responsible for deploying invasive weed-eating goats to the park. The goats are great fun to watch as they consume their weight in weeds. Last year the group supported the region’s new Apex Mountain Bike race by providing an end-of-race bike wash for participants.Some of their proudest recent accomplishments: first they produced a half hour garden movie, “A Garden Experience — Growing Organic” available for streaming on Amazon.That elicited an invitation from a garden radio show entitled “Digging the Dirt.” That show just happens to air in the U.K.! The British hosts had seen the Bear Creek group’s movie and wanted to feature the president of the association and the movie producers on their show. It was recorded on Skype and broadcast on Dec. 20. You can listen to the free podcast online at http://apple.co/2J7QZFS. It turns out this is the most popular gardening show on the radio in both the U.K. and New Zealand. Talk about hitting paydirt! Karen Stith (president) learned that they have a slightly longer history of “community gardening” in England. Instead of plots they are called allotments and the practice started in 1732.The two-acre Bear Creek garden is the oldest community garden in the Pikes Peak region and named for the garden’s greatest champion. Charmaine “Char” Nymann formed the nonprofit association and was a force of nature. I met her shortly after I moved to the area. Her weed-eating goat project and the financial health of her garden were her twin passions. One reason the goats appeared year after year was because the word “no” was not part of Char’s vocabulary. Others have picked up her trowel to keep the goats coming and the garden going.2021 promises new hope and new beginnings. At the same time there are still many unknowns. Perhaps adopting a 20-foot by 40-foot plot in a community garden is just the right project at this point in time.Half plots are available, too. For more information, go to Bearcreekgardens.org.Susan Davies is executive director of the 30-year-old Trails and Open Space Coalition. Send any questions and comments to [email protected]
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