Saturday morning, the officers of the University of Maine Class of 2012 held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to present a blueberry garden, their class gift to UMaine.
The garden is located outside near the New Balance Student Fitness and Recreation Center and features stone walkways, small trees and wild blueberry bushes.
Before pulling out golden scissors and cutting a strand of yellow caution tape, class president Nate Wildes spoke about the fruition of his class’ gift.
“Two and a half to three years ago,” Wildes said, “we had this dream of doing a class gift that was actually meaningful for the university and was of substance, and we started out with a $75,000 dream, which was quickly narrowed down to a $30,000 dream, and the realization we came to was that the University of Maine had no significant presence of blueberries, which is egregious.”
Saying that the Class of 2012 thought UMaine needed “a good presence of the official Maine state fruit,” the class officers looked to the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture for help.
“[We] just happened to run into [this] fine gentlemen, Zach Campbell and his girlfriend Katey [Coulling],” Wildes said. “Katey and Zach, from that moment on, did everything you see here.”
Wildes credited Campbell and Coulling, whom he called honorary members of the Class of 2012, for the design of the garden, talking with Maine businesses to get discounts on materials and doing much of the manual labor.
“They even swept the stones yesterday to make it look good for this morning,” Wildes said.
“They are the two people that we really have to thank. We’re proud to say that everything you see here in this garden came from Maine and was sourced as locally and from within our class as possible.”
After cutting the ribbon, Wildes said that a plaque would be added to one of the large stones in the garden “in the next two weeks.”
“It was held off because we have some changes to our class logo that we’re going to make,” Wildes said.
Wildes also said a flagstone in the garden would be engraved with Campbell’s and Coulling’s names to recognize their work on the garden.
Also present were members of the Class of 1952, celebrating their 60-year reunion.