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The evergreen shrubs are just the beginning.

A rhododendron and a boxwood were planted outside the 4-H Training Center on Friday to begin a garden dedicated to two former Niagara County residents and their work for the agricultural youth movement.

The garden is for Gertrude Warren, known as "the mother of 4-H programs," who died in 1979 at the age of 90, and Steve Hahn, former president of county Cornell Cooperative Extension's board of directors, who died in 2000 at 54.

"This is the beginning of a memorial garden to honor two outstanding American citizens," said the extension's executive director, Paul W. Westfall.

Westfall, Hahn's brother, Joseph, and Norman Sinclair, a local 4-H committee chairman, grabbed three shovels and planted the shrubs.

"Steve Hahn was a dynamic leader who believed in the 4-H youth program," said Christopher Czelusta, president of the extension's board of directors. "His leadership and vision helped shape Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County for a new century."

Hahn, an Alfred State College graduate with a degree in horticulture, served in many leadership capacities with the Cornell Extension, including two terms as president of the board. He owned a flower shop in Lockport.

Warren was born in 1884 on a farm near Lockport, and was a graduate of Geneseo State Teachers College and Columbia University.

"She was a national leader of 4-H programs for 35 years and a pioneer in the 4-H movement both in this country and aboard," said Diane Orr, an extension program leader and educator.

Warren moved to Washington, D.C., in 1917 and joined the Department of Agriculture as a senior scientist. She helped establish the National 4-H Center in Chevy Chase, Md., and launched the international 4-H exchange program.

An official dedication will be held in the spring, as the garden continues to grow.


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