By BRENDAN SORRELL, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — If you're a young girl planning your 10th birthday party, you're likely to think of having a princess party or a dance party with your friends. These ideas occurred to Evelyn Smith of Laconia before she eventually decided on a different idea: bring a small group of friends together to plant a community garden at Leavitt Park. Evelyn also decided she didn't need anything more from her friends and asked them to not bring her any presents, although she did confess one person brought her one anyway. As an addition to the party, Evelyn and her friends went down to Bond Beach to help clean up before returning to Leavitt Park to play on the playground and have a meal that produced minimal waste, as it utilized only reusable materials.
There are a number of things one can do to help the planet and the local community. When asked why she decided on planting flowers, she simply replied, "Because they're pretty." The new garden, with Evelyn and her friends' flowers planted alongside perennial daylilies, is a beautiful addition to the grounds at Leavitt Park. The spot she chose for the garden was decided upon because it was in need of repair, and now is not an eyesore but something people visiting the park can look at with pride, especially if they know the backstory.
Evelyn had complete control of deciding what she was going to do for her birthday. Still, her Earth-friendly altruism was likely inspired in part by her parents. Evelyn's mother, Linda, said that, as Unitarian Universalists, one of the central elements of their faith is taking care of the Earth. When going on hikes, they will bring a trash bag with them and help pick up waste on their way up the mountain. Linda Smith has also begun a small business making small crafts from recycled materials.
The party got the ball rolling on the garden, but the family returns to the spot a few times a week to weed and water the flowers, taking a cooler full of water along with several watering cans down the street from their home. It is evident from Evelyn's understated altruism and the family's continued support of the project that the community can look forward to more of the same kind of thoughtfulness and commitment in her future endeavors.
Evelyn Smith, 10, of Laconia plants flowers at Leavitt Park. She and her friends, below, made the effort to “help the planet,” as she put it, rather than have a typical party. (Courtesy photos)
Linda and Evelyn Smith and friends take a moment to admire their hard work at Leavitt Park. (Courtesy photo)
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