As the yellow flowers of well-established forsythias around the city glowed against a gray fog on a recent Friday morning, 12 student community-service volunteers from The Game Loft teamed with members of The Belfast Garden Club to add vibrant color to Belfast’s Wales Park. For the second year in a row, students from The Game Loft have joined The Belfast Garden Club for what is turning into an annual Earth Day event. This year’s project day involved cleaning up scrub brush and winter debris and planting 10 young forsythia bushes along the Main Street border of the park. City arborist, Didier Bonner-Ganter aided in the clean-up by removing dead limbs and pruning some of the bigger trees in the park.

Wales Park is situated at the corner of Main Street and Lincolnville Avenue in Belfast. The land was donated to the city in 1942 by Helen Skinner, wife of the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Robert Skinner (1933-36), according to Friends of Belfast Parks. Today it is a popular park for football and picnics, and has swings and a few small jungle gyms for kids. “I grew up across the street,” Trish Duperry, volunteer coordinator for The Game Loft gestures towards a house overlooking the new plantings, “In the 1990s it was much more grown in and not as inviting as it is now.” Students worked the difficult rocky and rooty terrain of the steep hill along the roadside digging, lugging compost, watering, clearing rocks and brush alongside Garden Club members. A cleaner and soon to be more colorful park emerged.

After a morning of hard work the volunteers were treated to lunch and a hearty thank you from Belfast Garden Club president, Dana Carey. Student board members of The Game Loft, Patrick Martell and Rio Greeley, and Game Loft volunteer Donna Loomans accepted a donation in support and thanks for the Loft’s efforts.

“The Belfast Garden Club would like to show appreciation for your hard work,” Carey said. “We feel that not only is our community stronger because of the work The Game Loft has done, our future is stronger because of you as well!”