The new Mancos school orchard received a proper summer pruning last week thanks to National Civilian Community Corps volunteers.
The crew of nine volunteers, all between 18 and 24, was scheduled to work at all three School to Farm gardens over a two-week period.
They also planned to put up a new high tunnel greenhouse at the Cortez Middle School, a work on a new traditional oven to Dolores schools, said Sarah Syverson, the Montezuma School to Farm Project director.
While the volunteers were in Mancos, they spent a day and a half pruning more than 20 fruit trees on property east of the football field, said Mancos school garden coordinator Erin Bohm.
"They did a tremendous amount of pruning and cleaning, really sort of paved the way for us," she said.
An expert from Cycle Farms Dolores, Chris Robers trained the crew briefly and also identified all the trees. In the fall, Mancos students will now be caring for the cherry plum, pear, apple apricot, peach and gooseberry trees in the orchard.
The heritage trees, which are about 50 years old, have been through the years productive, but now the School to Farm students will be working to shape the trees so they are easier to harvest and delivery the fruit in the cafeteria.
The volunteers also worked to improve all the area in the school garden area with sheet mulching. By laying down cardboard and then mulch on top Bohm hopes to keep down the weeds but also create soil in place.
The Montezuma School to Farm Program's Americorps volunteer and the NCCC volunteers are managed through the same office of Americorps and that's how they connected.
This team of volunteers started their service in October and during that time they worked in Colorado, Arizona and Missouri on variety of projects including flood disaster recovery, said Team Leader Aliona Mikhed.
More volunteers for the School to Farm project are expected to visit in July.