By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The Native Plant Nursery Facility, which opened in July 2014, was officially named the Jessie Owle Dugan Native Plant and Greenhouse Facility during a dedication ceremony held on the afternoon of Thursday, Oct. 26 at the 2,200 square foot facility, which includes a 2.2 acre grow yard, in the Birdtown Community.
“Today is a very proud day for the family of Jessie Owle Dugan,” said family member Kim Deas as she read a statement from the entire family. “Last Sunday marked the 13th anniversary of the passing of Jessie – our mother, our granny, our hero, and our friend.”
A life-long resident of the Birdtown Community and an EBCI tribal elder, Owle was known for her love of gardening and agriculture. “She lived her life just half a mile up the creek from here and spent her life dedicated to our family, her service to her community and to her Tribe,” Deas stated. “She was a very strong-willed, independent woman with a great will to help people and work hard.”
Deas went on to state, “She had many passions throughout her 82 years, but what remained constant was her faith, family, and flowers…she lived for her family. She never missed a sporting event or a family function.”
Deas said Dugan’s house was always full of family and love. “At one time, up to 10 kids got off the bus at her house every day. With a house so full, full of kids and full of love, how did she find time for her love of flowers and plants? If you ever stepped into her yard, you knew that she did find the time. Her ability to cultivate anything she touched was also something that she passed down to her family. While teaching her children all the various species of flowers and trees, these green thumbs here together know more species than most encyclopedias.”
Former Vice Chief Larry Blythe, a life-long friend of Dugan, spoke highly of her during Thursday’s dedication. “My family lived just beside the Dugan family about a half mile up the road. These are my sisters and my brothers. For her to be honored this way, it is just suitable.”
He said she always raised a garden and was a great person. “When you grow up, you look at the folks who grow up beside you, and they’re good neighbors and that’s what I still consider this family – my good neighbors and my friends and my family.”
Joey Owle, EBCI Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, gave credit for the facility to Patrick Breedlove, facility manager. “This has really been his brain-child. We would not have the facility and all of the wonderful implements, our grow yard, and everything that you see behind me, if it were not for his tireless dedication to pursuing funding opportunities for this facility.”
Owle added, “This facility is setting this Tribe up to make a real impact in agriculture for our Tribe moving forward.”
Breedlove gave a brief history of the facility. “In 2013, we were outsourcing all of our plants for our environmental projects. We felt we could do better. We felt we could grow them in-house. We felt that we could have a better product for the Tribe and tribal communities.”
He said the Tribe received funding in 2014 from EPA Region 4. “This is one of the most state-of-the-art greenhouses. It is fully-automated.”
Breedlove went on to state, “I’ve been very blessed to work down here. I didn’t do it by myself. There have been hundreds of people that helped us and thousands of hours…to the family of Jessie Owle Dugan, I hope that this facility makes you proud. I hope that you feel that we really have dedicated this to her, and I hope it represents what you think of her as far as horticulture practices.”
To view or purchase photos from this event, visit: https://onefeather.smugmug.com/COMMUNITY-and-NEWS-EVENTS/2017-Community-and-News-Events/Jessie-Owle-Dugan-Native-Plant-and-Greenhouse-Facility/