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Pruning project makes everyone a winner

The Triple Win Pruning Project is not only off to a great start, but it is involving students from Crook County High School in a unique learning program which benefits the local Boys & Girls Club and teaches recently graduated master gardeners at the same time
Taking advantage of the springtime sunny weather, high school students have been out in the community over the last several weeks to experience first hand, from the experts new pruning techniques.
   Master Gardener's from all across central Oregon joined up with students from Crook County High School's Natural Resources and Natural History of Oregon class to teach the important details of proper pruning. This represents a new twist in the Triple Win Pruning Project program and involves students lead by CCHS teacher Al Beekman and directed by local Master Gardener, John `Norm' Say.
   Say was invited by Beekman to give a series of classroom lectures on botany, followed by about 20 hours of hands-on experience in the field, or in this case _ in Prineville home owners' yards.
   With the lecture portion behind them, Say along with volunteer Master Gardeners coordinated two demonstration sites a day where a bus load of students are transported twice a week.
   This year's response to the Triple Win Pruning Project has met with overwhelming requests from area home owners eager to have their trees pruned. Having the extra hands helping out is a real boon to the program and gives kids an introduction into the art of pruning at the same time. Say indicated that about 32 different homes are on the schedule for the 8-week long program.
   "This is a service learning project which the students clearly enjoy," Beekman explained. "It's a good learning experience for them. It's the kind of thing that down the line, when they own their own homes, it will really pay dividends for them. Of course it pays dividends right now for the community, because these folks get a service that could be quite costly under different circumstances. And, they benefit from the expertise of the Master Gardeners as well as the labor of the kids _ which is just great. The home owners in turn are going to make donations to the Boys and Girls Club, so it's a great project for everyone involved."
   Coordinating such a project certainly takes dedication, determination and a real desire to make a difference. "Dr. Say deserves the credit for putting this together," Beekman added. "He spent a lot of time making this happen. For someone that's supposed to be retired he's a very busy guy."