Volunteers bring youthful energy to Botanic Park during work experience
By: James Whittaker | [email protected] August, 2013
A small group of young volunteers is helping things run smoothly while learning some of the tricks of the trade at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park.
Wilson Dixon, Jovon Millwood, Julian Smith, Shaun Ebanks and Lewis Connolly, all 17, and Keiron Ebanks, 13, have been helping out at the park. Wilson started in February and since then, a full-scale volunteer program has evolved.
“Wilson’s kind nature is always welcomed by all staff from his first day,” said manager John Lawrus. “He has been involved in nearly all areas of work within the park, such as in the color garden, discovery garden and lakeside area.
“Wilson has strongly adapted into an environment of an organized volunteer experience program and performs well alongside all members of staff and other volunteers.”
Lewis volunteered on Sundays for four weeks, starting in September last year, and most recently in July for another four Sundays. He receives credits for his volunteer work from Triple C School. After graduation at the end of this school year, he hopes to enroll in the Cayman Islands Law School.
His father, Capt. Coolidge Connolly, who has a mango farm, “placed his son here to gain valuable work experience in the field of horticulture,” Mr. Lawrus said.
“Lewis has been involved in many different aspects of botanic garden work, including proper pruning techniques, as well as much of the work that goes on at our plant nursery.”
Mr. Lawrus said Lewis “is a polite young man,” who has a keen interest in horticulture.
North Side teenagers Jovon and Julian joined the program in June for the summer, putting in up to four days a week.
“Both of these young men have wonderful social skills and interact with all staff, and visitors at the Botanic Park are very proud of their accomplishments in such a short time,” Mr. Lawrus said.
Brothers Shaun and Keiron Ebanks also joined in July, volunteering two days per week.
“I have worked alongside the Ebanks brothers mainly in the nursery area, organizing and cleaning and introducing them to botanic garden nursery work,” Mr. Lawrus said. “In addition, Michael Ferrero, the deputy general manager, has taught them planting techniques in the color garden and in the front entrance area. Their youthful energy is a great addition to the volunteer program.”