CRESTVIEW Jane McCreary and Joe Jones, Master Gardener interns, aren't yet tree planting experts, but they're learning quickly.


CRESTVIEW Jane McCreary and Joe Jones, Master Gardener interns, aren't yet tree planting experts, but they're learning quickly.



"We're getting there," Jones said. "It's fun. If you like nature and gardening and growing things, this is a very enjoyable group to join."



McCreary and Jones are earning hours toward their certification with various activities, including Monday's tree-planting at the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Services County Extension office. About a dozen volunteers showed up recently to help plant trees around the extension's Crestview branch.



"This piece of property already had a fairly good collection of native plants and we're adding to that," Larry Williams, county extension director, said. The tender young trees will form part of the county extension stormwater management program and enhance the quarter-mile nature trail through the woods behind the Airport Road facility.



"The purpose of the trail, and ultimately the landscape, will be educational. We will eventually label a lot of the plants," Williams said. "Also, it's an attempt to bring better awareness to people about the wealth of native plants that are suitable for landscape and encourage use of those plants."



Volunteers enjoyed the fellowship among green thumbs.



"I just retired and I thought, 'I want to do something,'" Rusty Weenink said as he helped Master Gardeners President Stacey Taylor and member Les Chambers plant a Southern sugar maple.



University of West Florida environmental studies students Jessica Kaono and Elizabeth Steele were among the volunteers who partnered with Master Gardeners to learn planting techniques.



Former Master Gardeners president John Bauer helped Steele plant a crabapple tree as extension horticulture agent Sheila Dunning  supervised the planting and delivered wheelbarrows full of saplings.



Email News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes, follow him on Twitter or call 850-682-6524.