USALSA adopt-a-plot initiative promotes friendly competition, beautifies post
October 31, 2013
What started as one person's dislike of weeding has turned into an inter-division gardening competition at the U.S. Army Legal Services Agency on Fort Belvoir.
The eight plots of ground interspersed in the concrete patio behind USALSA now all have a combination of pumpkins, flowers, mulch or scarecrows, as part of the agency's "Adopt-a-Plot" initiative.
Allison Polchek, deputy chief of the Environmental Law Division at USALSA, started the program this month to encourage all of the divisions to help care for the plots and improve USALSA's outer appearance.
"We had a change of command ceremony and there were a lot of weeds out there," she said. "So, a couple of us in the office decided that we would weed it. Well, a couple of weeks later the weeds were starting to come back and I decided I didn't want to do it again. So, we just decided to adopt a plot."
"After we had two, people would walk by, and they would adopt one. Pretty soon, we had the whole place adopted within two days," she said.
Now, almost every division has its own square of ground, complete with division signage, which has resulted in some friendly competition, Polcheck said.
"Every day, something new comes up," she said. "It's fun. It just keeps morale up."
The Adopt-a-Plot program also benefits Fort Belvoir and USALSA because it beautifies the installation, she added.
"We have a lot of dignitaries who come and a lot of people who come to the court, and you want to put on a good appearance," she said. "I think it's very important."
Julia Morrone, the USALSA commander's executive assistant, often tends her division's plot before the sun rises when she comes to work, or on weekends.
"I am from England and have a natural love of gardening, so when the idea to adopt a plot transpired, I did not hesitate to volunteer," she said.
The program has brought the divisions closer together with the shared goal of creating a more pleasant outdoor area year round, she said.
"While it took some time to work on the previously neglected plots, the benefits to the community as a whole make it worthwhile. The employees of USALSA can now enjoy an attractive and welcoming area as they arrive at work each day and when they socialize outside," she said.
"We have shared our ideas on seasonal plantings, from placing out pumpkins in the fall to planting tulips in the spring," she added. "I already have ideas for the next season."
USALSA supports the Judge Advocate General and supervises more than 20 different activities.
For more information, visit https://www.jagcnet.army.mil/USALSAFRG.