Back in the early days of CAMN existence, we “fell heir” to a greenhouse on the PMSP grounds because one of our members/donors had provided funds to make some necessary improvements. However, for many years CAMN struggled to make a go of this fabulous tool. It seemed almost a curse instead of a benefit. Everyone who signed on to manage the greenhouse got frustrated and left the job (and sometimes CAMN)! Then along come Karen Seale, Nita Sheth and Bill Toland and the team they assembled. Finally the greenhouse is a thriving source of native plants and a favorite volunteer job for many of CAMNation.
In 2016, Karen Seale got the ball rolling with a team that cleaned, repaired and “de-forested” the greenhouse, and then met to sort, plant, label, and water donated seeds. The team met periodically to repot and nurture the newly germinating seedlings. A thriving Native Plant source was taking root.
In November of that year, Bill Toland led a group that met to sow some native perennial seeds to prepare for spring planting. These plants were earmarked for various Butterfly gardens through the area. A misting system had been added to the greenhouse to take care of the watering needs throughout the winter. By March of 2017, the team was able to repot thriving young plants and also plant new native seeds – all of which were part of a bigger plan to improve native habitat in several areas CAMN supports.
Thanks to the leaders who re-energized our membership around making use of the greenhouse, major renovations were completed in 2018. Two hundred fifty man hours saw the greenhouse cleared of old PVC pipes, rotted wood, plastic sheathing, and other accumulated debris. CAMN repaired the metal hoops, constructed an aluminum channel and stainless wiggle wire infrastructure, and installed new plastic sheathing, new metal doors, and quality roll up sides. Bill credits previous experience at St Joseph Center of Arkansas watching the hoop house construction and YouTube videos with their ultimate success.
By the end of 2018, the greenhouse team was preparing around 1400 pots with 10 different kinds of native plants in preparation for a spring Partners for Pinnacle plant sale. Throughout the winter, the team monitored and attended the plants.
In addition, the Arkansas Forestry Commission donated about 500 Dogwood seedlings that will winter in the greenhouse as they gain the size and strength needed for planting throughout PMSP.