Sand-casting workshop makes impression for Achievers Club

David Broyles Staff Reporter

August 16, 2013

DOBSON — The Pilot Mountain Achievers Extension Community Association (ECA) group learned yet another way to make an impression locally with a sand-cast birdbath workshop Thursday at the Cooperative Extension Service’s offices in Dobson.

According to workshop leaders Lisa Royal and Sharon Poindexter, the sand casting project was not limited to large leaves. It involves using a cardboard box to contain sand which supports a leaf. The next steps involve covering the sand with plastic wrap followed by the leaf and then a quick-setting concrete mix is sculpted on the top of the leaf to eventually form the bird bath. The mixture next sets in 48 hours.

Presenters estimated that the entire project, which also can include concrete being used to make a pedestal, at less than $25. After being dried and cleaned the casting may be painted.

Club President Marilyn Geiger said the workshop represents one of a group of ongoing activities for the group, which will celebrate its second anniversary this December. The group has 16 members.

“I think we are one of eight ECA clubs in the area. We often plan our activities six months in advance. Leader lesson training sessions are used to train volunteers in many of these projects, but we are open for specialists and experts on a variety of crafts or topics. We are always looking for new members. This year will mark the 100th anniversary of ECA Clubs in North Carolina.”

She said the sand casting workshop grew out of an Eat Smart Move More Weight Less class locally. Geiger said the members choose activities so there is always a variety of ongoing projects. For example, the Achievers recently collected recyclable materials for the Legacy Center’s Terracycle project. It plans workshops on dyed scarves on Sept. 19, a field trip to Mitchell’s Nursery to see poinsettias on Nov. 21 and a gingerbread house workshop on Dec. 5.

It has even held a class on duct tape, WD-40 and bailing wire. The group is involved with the Alzheimer Walk which will be held on Oct. 5. Additionally, the club delivered 103 canned, non-perishable items to the Pilot Mountain Outreach.

Geiger said the group’s regular meetings are held on the third Thursday of each month at the Armfield Center from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

“We have a lot of volunteerism in our group,” said Geiger. “Member Caroline Martin has been recognized as volunteer of the year among large ECA clubs. ECA is divided into three sizes of clubs (small, medium, large).” She said the club has no treasury so it is driven totally by its volunteers.

Lisa Royal, who is a new member to the Achievers, said she first became interested when she heard about a scarf making workshop.

“I went to the scarf workshop and enjoyed it. After that I just joined in,” said Royal, who is also a member of the Surry County Beekeepers Association. “I’ve gotten involved with extension activities, too. Before this I didn’t know extension existed. This is a great way to learn new things and socialize.”

Reach David Broyles at or 719-1952.