HOLLISTON, Mass. — Gallipolis in Bloom for the second year in a row was declared the winner of America in Bloom’s Circle of Champions for small communities over the weekend at the America in Bloom Symposium and Awards Celebration.
“We were nominated for best pollinator garden,” said GIB Volunteer Coordinator Kim Canaday. “We didn’t win that but we were among the top three competitors. We got a special commendation for floral display and we won the small city division champion award again this year for the second year in a row. So, that was pretty cool. “
Holliston, the location of the symposium, is roughly 25 miles from Boston in Massachusetts. The symposium travels to new locations every year across the country as America in Bloom serves as a national beautification, horticultural and heritage competition. This was GIB’s eleventh year participating.
“To win the small town division twice really surprised me,” said GIB President Bev Dunkle.
GIB walked away with a four out of five bloom rating. The score is determined by the overall judging of a community’s collective efforts to meet AIB standards over six categories. Those categories include floral displays, environmental efforts, urban forestry, landscaped areas, heritage preservation and overall impression.
“I was so hoping we could go to five,” said Canaday whose personal goal over the last few years has been to reach a five bloom score. “We’ll go through the evaluations and see what we can do to pump up the points for next year. When I started doing the math, I realized we were one half of one point shy of being five blooms this year…We were so close. But that’s what the evaluations are for, to see where we can (do better).”
Canaday said Gallipolis is traditionally strongest in its floral displays throughout town as well as its historical heritage preservation. She said GIB needed to step up its efforts in urban forestry, however. Canaday said she would like to see GIB increase its environmental efforts presence as well.
“We don’t have our trees marked,” said Canaday. “Every other city has arboretums which means that they actually identify their trees with markers with the common name and scientific name. We haven’t done that and it could potentially give us several points…We would have to start with the City Park.”
Canaday said the Gallia Soil and Water Conservation District had an annual tree evaluation. The volunteer coordinator said GIB would potentially like to get involved with the district’s tree identifying efforts. The kind of signage needed for GIB’s efforts though is somewhat expensive, according to Canaday.
As part of GIB’s evaluation, AIB judges Teresa Woodard and Karin Rindal left the organization with a few final thoughts written as follows,” Congratulations on winning in your population category in the Circle of Champions: Small Communities and for your 11th year of participation. We are truly grateful for your continued commitment to not only your town’s improvement but the America in Bloom program itself. You clearly recognize the program’s value as a motivating force for positive change. You have come a long way since your start with just 20 hanging baskets. Gallipolis remains centered around a historic town square with an iconic bandstand that is photogenic in all seasons and surrounded by flowers and trees, as well as lights during the holidays.”
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.