The Genesis of the Downtown Lewistown Adopt-a-Planter Program
Lewistown Borough Manager Scott Welham and Penn State Master Gardener Sara Buffington dreamed up the Adopt-a-Planter Program in the fall of 2016. Drought had wreaked havoc on the planters that summer, and much of the struggling plant material was beyond help. Mr. Welham arranged for the removal of all of the shrubs and perennials, and every single planter was relocated and leveled. Sara created an application, and went door to door on Market Street, hunting for gardeners who might be willing to adopt planters. The end result was better than anyone expected, thanks to dozens of dedicated, talented sponsors.
Sara Buffington continues to organize the Downtown Lewistown Adopt-a-Planter Program, and is the primary contact for sponsors. There is no fee to sponsor a planter, other than the cost of selected plants, compost, mulch, fertilizer, etc. Sponsors are responsible for all feeding, watering, and general upkeep, and must maintain their planters from mid May to the first killing frost. Sponsors are permitted to plant in the early spring with cold tolerant plants and change out their plant material for autumn and winter if they choose, but it is not a requirement. At the end of every summer, at least one sponsor is presented with a Jim Tunall Award. Jim was the Executive Director and President of the Juniata River Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, an excellent gardener, and an advocate for the local community garden.