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The Belfast Garden Club has awarded its two annual scholarships to Meagan McKeon of Searsport and Alicia Gaiero of Belfast. Each will receive $1,000.

Meagan McKeon
Meagan McKeon

McKeon graduated at the top of her class from Searsport District High School. This fall, she’ll begin her freshman year at University of New Hampshire, studying environmental conservation and sustainability. She hopes to have a dual major in International Affairs to better prepare herself for a more interconnected world.

“All of the Earth’s systems are connected, so in order to solve the major environmental issues facing Maine and surrounding areas, people need to think on a global scale,” she said.

In high school, McKeon participated in soccer, track and field, sailing, theater, hosting an exchange student, being a student ambassador, robotics, student council, Class President, National Honors Society, Maine National Honor Society public relations officer, Dirigo Girls State, the Barbara Bush Foundation Teen Trendsetter’s Program, and her school mentoring program. She also received awards for Student of the Quarter and Student of the Year and graduated summa cum laude.

Alicia Gaiero
Alicia Gaiero

Gaiero graduated from Belfast Area High School and will be attending the University of Maine in the fall majoring in sustainable agriculture.

She was on the honor roll all four years of high school, where she was a member and captain of varsity field hockey and the outdoor track and field team. She was a member of the National Honor Society and the National Art Honor Society.

She was a three-year class officer serving as fundraising chair for her class and the former treasurer of the student-run nonprofit Liberian Education Fund.

Her interest in agriculture was sparked by early gardening with her parents, and being a member of the Ecology Academy at Troy Howard Middle School. In high school, she did research projects on GMOs and interviewed local farmers, including an owner of the largest cow farm in Maine.

“By earning an education in the agricultural field I hope I may learn sustainable farming practices that will protect and provide for the welfare of humans, animals and work towards environmental preservation,” she said.

The Belfast Garden Club provides two scholarships each year to Waldo County students going into earth-friendly fields. It raises money through its annual Green Thumb Plant Sale and its Open Garden Days, which are held Fridays from June to mid-August.

 

A bronze plaque on a stone marker was dedicated to Blanche Foss in the Belfast Free Library's Miller Street garden on Wednesday, July 8.

The plaque marks the date of the Belfast resident's passing, September 29, 2014. It was purchased with donations from Belfast Garden Club members, who wanted to remember Blanche in the garden she cared for as a member of the club's Civic Beautification Committee.

Some 25 people, including her children-Scott Foss of Truckee, CA, and Lisa Foss of Pinellas Park, FL-attended the morning ceremony. The Club provided coffee cakes, cookies and lemonade at a reception held after the stone was placed by Scott Foss.

"Mom always loved to garden," recalled Lisa Foss, who said her mother belonged to the Vernon Garden Club when the family lived in Connecticut, where Blanche worked as an educator. "She met many wonderful people and enjoyed many trips to see gardens around the country."

After Blanche retired, she moved back to Belfast, the town where she grew up and graduated from Crosby High School in 1960 (her maiden name was Ferguson). She continued to garden-at home and as a member of the Belfast Garden Club, Lisa Foss said. She also became a Master Gardener. "Mom loved to share plants with as many friends as possible. Her plants have found homes from Florida to California and many places in between," Lisa Foss said.

Lisa Foss said the plaque captures her mother's love for gardening and for Belfast, and that the ceremony made for "a special day."