Mower clinic helps community and student organization



By Drew Teague

The student branch of one organization is taking those April showers that are coming early and still helping the community prepare for those May lawns.

The Biological and Agricultural Engineers Student Branch is taking lawnmowers and preparing them for the spring mowing season that is weeks away.

This weekend and the weekend of April 7-9, UK students will be volunteering their time to participate in the lawnmower clinic, where they will be cleaning and preparing about 250 mowers for the Lexington community.

Sarah Short, secretary for the BAE Student Branch, was at the clinic on Thursday afternoon helping people deliver their mower to the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Machinery Shop just off College Way.

“We have about 100 mowers this weekend,” Short said as she was tagging a mower with the person’s name and asking if they wanted a new spark plug.

The volunteers are there for various reasons, but all are working together to clean the mowers for the community and help fund things like picnics and their regional conference.

“We get people to volunteer because it’ll help us fund activities for the year,” Short said. “We only have about 12 to 15 volunteers this weekend. For the second session we will have about 30, but everyone won’t be here at once.”

Wyatt Brown, a mechanical engineering freshman who was pressure washing the mowers, came to help out for a similar reason.

“The money that we raise will go to the Biological and Agricultural Student Branch,” Brown said. “$1,500 will go to the Quarter Scale Track Team, which I’m a part of.”

The money raised through the event will be donated to several places, such as the Larry Turner Scholarship fund, which will receive 10 percent of the proceeds from the event.

Turner was the associate dean for extension in the UK College of Agriculture and director of its Cooperative Extension Service. Turner died in the Flight 5191 plane crash at Blue Grass Airport in 2006.

The rest of the money will be going to fund events for the ASAB-Kentucky Student Branch throughout the year.

“We don’t really have a goal, but we will probably make over the two weekends about eight or nine thousand dollars,” Short said.

Each mower takes about five minutes to complete, but with the assembly-line process, the students do everything in steps.

“First is a power wash, then the air filter is cleaned, the blade is sharpened and the oil changed, then if the customer wants a new spark plug, we change that,” Short said.

The power wash is done by two people who make sure they clean the entire mower, top to bottom, getting all the excess grass and debris off of it before moving it to the air filter station.

The volunteers begin each weekend shift around four in the afternoon and will stay until nine each night continuously working on the mowers which have been dropped off.

With the student volunteers performing the repairs and the department donating the facilities, there will be a full capacity of mowers getting repaired. According to a message on the voicemail of the Lawnmower Clinics phone, they are completely full.