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Kiwanis digs in to help ID local plants

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

On Saturday the Kiwanis Club of Claremont refurbished botanical identification signs along the Thompson Creek Trail as part of the nationwide “one day” project.

Every spring, Kiwanis clubs across the country select a day to perform community service projects to beautify their communities as an ongoing demonstration of the good work that can be done in a single day.

A little over a year ago, Kiwanis purchased, and installed, 90 signs along the trail to help park visitors identify plants and trees, including many California natives species. They originally raised about $1,000 to purchase the small metal signs that include the botanical and common names as well as country of origin. The club sought to place each sign in a visible spot so that walkers could easily read them.

“We consider the trail to be an outdoor botanical garden,” club member Jerry Feingold said.

Missing signs were replaced, existing signs were washed and cleaned, and general maintenance was conducted to ensure that walkers have the best possible experience along the trail. Claremont’s city arborist assisted Mr. Feingold in accurately identifying the various plants.

About a dozen people, including three members of the Claremont High School Key Club, gathered at Higginbotham Park, and Mr. Feingold sent half of them south along the trial while the other half headed north. The crew spent two hours digging holes to replace some signs and providing general maintenance.

Mayor Jennifer Stark, a Kiwanis Club member, worked with the three high school students on the cleaning project.

“It went very smooth because many of those who came out worked on the original project,” Mr. Feingold said.

Mr. Feingold and his wife Maury, who live adjacent Thompson Creek, walk the trail daily, most times walking north from their home near Higginbotham Park. So for them, the improvements are a bit of a personal project. He said people who come to the trail often express interest in knowing the name of a plant so they can buy one for their yard.

“Spring season is the time when walkers spend time enjoying the trail. It is our hope that their time will be more enjoyable by reading the signs,” Mr. Feingold said.

Previous “one day” projects for the Kiwanis Club of Claremont included working on the Habitat for Humanity homes in Claremont as well as building flowerbeds at the high school.

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