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Nonprofit Club Unites and and Improves the Landscape of Mount Washington Valley

By Kelly Church

The Mountain Garden Club is a Conway, NH 501(c)(3) organization that hosts monthly meetings with members to organize community improvement efforts. The nonprofit organization welcomes residents of the community to meetings to grow beautification, education and conservation projects.

Vice President Deborah Holmes says activities often include speaking engagements, hands-on workshops, luncheons and fundraisers that are as much for the benefit of the community as they are for the personal development of members.

"The Mountain Garden Club offers members a wide variety of opportunities to learn and grow, make friends, and support the community at large," Holmes says. "When you see the amazing Conway traffic islands, public gardens throughout the area, the park-like grounds of the new North Conway Community Center, the outdoor reading room at the North Conway Public Library, the rain garden at Children Unlimited know that the Mountain Garden Club has spent countless hours here."

Holmes says a favorite time of year for members is early June where, over a two-day span, the 6,000-8,000 annuals are planted at the local amusement park, a donation is made to the Mountain Garden Club's scholarship fund, and an after-hours tour of the amusement park is enjoyed to revel in the group's beautification effort in the park. The club's projects are funded by money that is raised within the community. In fact, Holmes says all of the money raised gets put right back into the community.

Mountain Garden Club donates thousands of dollars a year to local students in the form of scholarships. They were also one of the first nonprofit organizations to reinvest in their local young professionals by offering student loan repayment assistance. Additionally, the group typically takes on one special garden project each year. For 2016, they completed a redesign of the North Conway Community Center's landscaping.

This project, which Holmes calls an ambitious one, included new walkways, landscape paintings, an automated underground sprinkler system, new sod, a bridge over a river rock stream bed and benches in front of the facility. Donations to complete the project were made by local businesses and Mountain Garden Club members.

Everyone who is a resident in Mount Washington Valley is welcome to become a member with Mountain Garden Club. Membership fees are only $20 a year for active members of the club in any town of the region, spanning even into Maine. Holmes says members don't have to be expert gardeners. There's always an activity for those who aren't interested in gardening.

"We have something for everyone. No experience needed," Holmes says. "At 190 members, we are one of the largest and most active garden clubs in New Hampshire."

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