HELENA – Eleven AmeriCorps members got their hands dirty Tuesday installing irrigation throughout the afternoon in Helena’s Sixth Ward Community Garden.

The members from AmeriCorps NCCC Pacific Region Gold 3 were on hand as part of a weeks long project to get the garden up and running.

Laurel Johnston, a member of the group, said the team is preparing the community to take over the garden.

“This is really just laying the groundwork for everybody else to come in,” Johnston said.

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AmeriCorps is sponsored by the Helena Family YMCA. With their help, the group was able to install varying sizes of pipes that will provide water to future plants at the garden.

Larsen Volk, another AmeriCorps volunteer, said the smaller piping is also more efficient.

“What that does is allow us to save water by increasing the pressure by using smaller and smaller tubing,” Volk said.

Workers were also busy removing weeds and ripping them up to be turned into mulch for the garden.

Organizers said the project takes the burden off of others who would otherwise have to do the job alone.

“If we were not here to do this work, there would be one guy who is an older gentleman who would have to do all this work by himself or you would have to get a couple crews out from Helena’s parks and that would cost the people of Helena more money. So we’re out here saving Helena money,” Volk said.

Other AmeriCorps workers brought in plants like lupines, a member of the pea family. Thyme, spearmint and parsley will also find a home in the garden.

AmeriCorps has been working on the garden since last Monday. They expect to be finished with the project before they leave town in two weeks.

“If you’re not going to be involved in your community, then who is? You are the community. I think it’s been a really wonderful opportunity for us to come into communities that aren’t ours and make them ours by becoming involved in them.”

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