Local gardeners in Afton, Lakeland and Bayport (Minn.) are weeding and feeding plants and flowers in preparation for the inaugural Gardens of Light Walking Tour on Saturday, July 29. The garden tour is a fundraiser for mental health programming at Oak-Land Middle School in Lake Elmo. Local community members are organizing the event, which will highlight different types of neighborhood gardens, along with a stop at the Squire House Gardens in Afton.

The suggested donation of $10 will be used to increase mental health programming and awareness for sixth through eighth grade students at Oak-Land.

"Statistics estimate mental health issues impact one in five students," Oak-Land Middle School Principal Andy Fields said. "As a part of the greater community, we want to help young people and their families learn the facts, find solutions and feel secure about their place, not only at school, but also as they reach out into the world. Efforts like the Gardens of Light Walking Tour reinforce our goals in education and we are grateful to experience the outpouring of compassion as we work in collaboration with our community to nurture, develop and educate our incredible youth."

The tour runs 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, July 29, with a starting location in Afton and Lakeland.

The Afton-Bayport-Lakeland Lions Club is supporting the tour as they continue their work in the community. "I've seen some of the amazing gardens in our area," said Kim McRunnel, garden tour co-chair and Afton-Lakeland-Bayport Lions Club past-president. "We know that a lot of effort and time go into these gardens and they should be shared. As a local organization, the Lions Club is invested in the health of our community and we are happy to be part of this effort."

Tickets will be available for purchase at the two starting locations, 16540 10th St. Court S., Lakeland and at The Squire House Gardens, 3390 St. Croix Trail S., Afton.