The Star Democrat

Habitat joins Talbot Free Library to present tool teaching initiative

- BY TOM MCCALL tmccall@chespub .com

EASTON — Habitat for Humanity and the Talbot County Free Library teamed up to present a tool library series covering two crafts. There was an audience of five on Saturday who leaned in to learn about dry wall patching and laying laminate flooring. Spackling, sheet rock mud, drywall repair patching and click lock flooring were all topics of discussion.

Rhodana Fields, neighborho­od revitaliza­tion manager for Habitat for Humanity Choptank, gave the demo and answered questions. No question was too small for her. She fielded all the nervous DIYer’s queries with humor and the experience­d voice of someone who has spent a lot of time on job sites. She made it all sound doable.

“I got my start as a kid,” Fields said. “My parents worked in constructi­on so I grew up learning how to build a lot of things.

“I have worked for Habitat for 12 years doing a lot of handson at the constructi­on site like working with volunteers to learn new skills. It has been about three years since we started doing home maintenanc­e classes and some of the DIY classes on the community. We have a great women on Wednesday group that started almost 12 years ago. They built a women-built house here in Easton,” she said.

One of the issues that interests her is building houses that are very efficient and have clean air going through them. A new house with an $800 monthly energy bill

isn’t ideal. So Fields learned green practices when she lived in Colorado that make the houses very efficient.

“We want the houses to be affordable and affordable to operate over the long term. It became night and day between the new constructi­on houses and the older houses in the same neighborho­od. The new ones are built to a good standard of air quality and energy efficiency,” she said.

The tool library that lives in a mobile trailer is more than just tools.

“With support of the Nathan Foundation, the tool library is Habitat’s newest neighborho­od revitaliza­tion resource,” said their literature.

“We are trying to support the homeowners in the areas where we build and improving the quality of life focusing on one neighborho­od at a time. We have expanded to doing owner occupied repairs and getting involved with events like Rock the Block or a neighborho­od cleanup. We may find five or six houses in a row that need new porches or want to do some exterior improvemen­ts,” said Fields.

She said they are always looking for volunteers.

“We are looking for a point person in a community to reach out to us and say, ‘Look we have this great project.’ Maybe it is to install flooring.We will bring out the tool library and a couple of experts and some volunteers to help them.We will bring the expertise and we’ll bring the tools. They’ll supply the materials and we will spend a couple of days installing the flooring,” she said.

The tool library is focused on Easton and Cambridge mainly. The goal is neighborho­od revitaliza­tion. One of the big components is volunteeri­sm. Anyone interested in getting involved can email Habitat for Humanity Choptank and talk to Nora Skiver, our Volunteer Coordinato­r, at volunteers@habitatcho­ptank.org.You could bring a neighborho­od back to life and learn some useful skills in the process.

 ?? PHOTO BY TOM MCCALL ?? Rhodana Fields, neighborho­od revitaliza­tion manager for Habitat for Humanity Choptank, gives a lecture at the Talbot County Free Library about drywall repair and do-ityourself flooring.
PHOTO BY TOM MCCALL Rhodana Fields, neighborho­od revitaliza­tion manager for Habitat for Humanity Choptank, gives a lecture at the Talbot County Free Library about drywall repair and do-ityourself flooring.
 ?? PHOTO BY TOM MCCALL ?? Here is a demo of patching dry well. Rhodana Fields of Habitat showed how to fix big holes and little dimples.
PHOTO BY TOM MCCALL Here is a demo of patching dry well. Rhodana Fields of Habitat showed how to fix big holes and little dimples.
 ?? PHOTO BY TOM MCCALL ?? Habitat Choptank gave a free lecture on dry wall patching and flooring. Rhodana Fields, in blue, encouraged her students to come up and have a closer look.
PHOTO BY TOM MCCALL Habitat Choptank gave a free lecture on dry wall patching and flooring. Rhodana Fields, in blue, encouraged her students to come up and have a closer look.
 ?? PHOTO BY TOM MCCALL ?? The tool library is more than just these handy flooring tools. It is also a community of knowledgea­ble people who come with the library to help.
PHOTO BY TOM MCCALL The tool library is more than just these handy flooring tools. It is also a community of knowledgea­ble people who come with the library to help.

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