Local volunteers complete year-long beautification project at animal shelter

Members of the Port St. Joe Garden Club and volunteers from the community met early on Monday morning at the St. Joseph Bay Humane Society – armed with shovels and gardening gloves and ready to tackle the last step of beautifying the shelter’s lawns.

For Melissa Juberg, the Garden Club’s secretary, and Sarah Darden, the club’s president, the project has been more than a year in the making.

“This has been a labor of love this last year,” Juberg said.



“I was able to get not only the garden club members, but the community involved,” Juberg said. “Many hands make the work go faster and that is what happened (Monday) morning.  They all did such a wonderful job.”

On Monday, the 13 volunteers who responded to the Garden Club’s call to action were tasked with landscaping the Humane Society’s new “catio” – an entirely fenced-in outdoor play area connected to a window in the shelter’s cat room.

The addition will allow the cats to spend some time outdoors when the weather is permitting, without the need for constant supervision from shelter staff.

Juberg said the catio landscaping was the third and final phase of the Humane Society landscaping project, with previous phases including landscaping Faith’s Thrift Hut, the thrift store serving the shelter, the meet and greet area and sprucing up the shelter’s other garden beds.

“Almost a year ago, the PSJ Garden Club and I started a project that would be in 3 phases to create beautiful flower beds and clean up the yard areas at the PSJ Animal Shelter.  Many wonderful volunteers showed up to help out.”

As the gardeners wrapped up their work at the shelter, Juberg took to Facebook to share photos and thank the crew for their hard work.

“Thanks so much to the 13 volunteers who came ready to work at the animal shelter this morning!” she wrote. “I appreciate you all. We had garden club and community members present,”

“The catio area looks amazing and we spruced up the rest of the grounds too. This completes three phases of projects over the last year.”



Meet the Editor

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper NonDoc.com during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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