MFGC seeking donations for Penny Pines program

By Star Staff

In all corners of Montana, garden club members are oiling their tools and getting ready for the 2018 planting season. These members affiliated with Montana Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. (MFGC) are not just planning their own gardens; they are contemplating many spring projects in their communities.

Community plantings and beautification projects happen because these club members raise money through numerous fund- raising or grants, and, they will soon be working the soil for seeding and planting. But flower plantings are just a fraction of what is planned in Montana, according to a news release from MFGC.

In 2017 Montana experienced an extreme fire season. MFGC members are helping in the state’s reforestation efforts through the Penny Pines program.

Penny Pines began in 1941 in California when school children started collecting pennies for a conservation program following wild fires. At that time, seedlings could be produced for one cent each and 680 seedlings could be planted in an acre with ten acres of seedlings costing $68. Through the National Garden Club (NGC) — the parent organization of MFGC — the program has now expanded to all 50 states.

The $68 amount has been retained as a minimum donation. Today, approximately 200 replacement seedlings can be planted with a $68 donation (or multiples of $68). Under a conservation agreement the United Stats Forest Service does the planting using this donation together with federal funds and offers the plantings the same protection from fires, insects and disease provided to other forested areas.

Donors can designate their donation to any national forest. After Montana’s 2017 fire season, garden clubs in some mid-western states with no national forests have designated their Penny Pine donations to national forests in Montana.

The $68 donation does not just have to come from a garden club. They may be made by any individual, club or organization for planting seedlings in a U.S. state or specific national forest. Penny Pines donation forms can be downloaded on the NGC website under On-going Projects and select Penny Pines.