Club kids raced to their tree stations eager to learn about tree care during the Buffalo Community Orchard groundbreaking. Huddled around the trees, these youth earned an expertise in proper tree planting.
The vision for this orchard began with a vision. Kelly Norse, Head of Bighorn Forest and President of the Bread of Life Food Pantry, had been trying to create a community orchard for some time without success. That is until her path crossed with Scott Mussleman, Buffalo Club Director, through Wyoming Hunger Initiative.
“Kelly was so passionate about this orchard, and during our conversation it was suggested to be located on a chunk of property across the street from the Club that the school district-owned.” After speaking with the school, the orchard project was, at last, a go!
On June 1st, 2021, the community pulled together for a groundbreaking. Fourteen Club kids participated and helped plant fourteen fruit trees such as
apricots, peach, plum, and apple. They even planted some grapes too!
“It was an amazing day all around,” said Scott. “And looking to the future, this orchard will be the Club’s responsibility and joy to look after.” Kelly Norse will continue to work with the Club for instructions and proper care of the orchard.
Club kids take joy in this new project. Scott explained that gardening is nothing new to the Club, and they’re learning the art of growing something and having patience for it. “The trees are just another avenue of that. These plants will take one to five years before we see a harvest, but once they see the fruit of their labor it will be more than worth it.”
With those fruits, the community can partake in the harvest and some of the produce will be given to the food pantry, as well. The plan forward is to plant more variety like raspberries and a full-blown garden.
The biggest takeaway, Scott says, is that, “If you have a vision, don’t give up because it’s challenging. Even if you fail, keep going, keep advocating for your goals. Kelly did, and it brought the whole community together.”