News & Events

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Mad Dogs And Englishmen? Nope—Just NAAG Staffers

Judy McKee, End of Life Health Care Project Coordinator and Counsel

Scene: An Elementary School in Washington, D.C.
Date: Monday, July 21.
Weather: Temperatures up to 96 with humidity hovering around 75 percent in the Capital City.

Led by Master Gardener Chris Toth, chair of the Charities Committee (and new bride) Ellen Taverna, and Project Coordinator, Erjona Fatusha, an intrepid group of NAAG staffers inaugurated the first NAAG Volunteer Day. Some walking, some driving, some on mass transportation – they all converged at Bancroft Elementary School in the Mount Pleasant district of Washington. Their goal was to tackle the extensive gardens at the Bancroft Elementary School.

The gardens at Bancroft were originally planned and financed by the U.S. Botanical Gardens. During the spring and fall, volunteers plant seeds for the vegetable and flower gardens, water, and take care of upkeep. During the summer, not as many people are able to help and, with the rainy summer we have had in Washington, the weeds were thriving, threatening to overtake the deliberately planted perennials and vegetables.

First, NAAG volunteers were carefully instructed on what was, in fact, a weed. They weeded, picked up glass and other trash, carefully pruned trees and bushes, bagged, swept, dug, watered, and mulched. Five hours later, what had been a mini-jungle had become a lovely series of gardens. Dripping with sweat and quite a bit of mulch, the NAAG staffers declared victory.

In the spring, NAAG staffers participated in Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell’s “Legal Food Frenzy.” The Frenzy is a philanthropic competition among Virginia’s legal community to donate food to the Commonwealth’s food banks. This year, the Frenzy raised 1,366,401 pounds of food, an amount that provided food for 1,067,501 meals.

NAAG’s next project? We are looking forward to presenting some Law Day programs for neighborhood schools, using some of the wonderful material that the American Bar Association provides. And will there be another gardening project? The enthusiasm of the NAAG volunteers, their new-found expertise at identifying weeds and spreading mulch, and the leadership of our own Master Gardener indicate that more gardening is, indeed, in NAAG’s future.

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