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First-time volunteers eager to learn

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Byron, left, and Janet Ediger, retail volunteers at the Symphony in the Flint Hills, speak about their experiences volunteering at Rosalia Ranch on June 14. (Photo by Kevin Brown)

Byron and Janet Ediger are familiar with the plains.

They each grew up on a farm in Kansas, and they both lived in Africa — where the hills are at least a little similar, they said — for three years.

“We see plains like this, but never with a symphony attached to it,” Byron said.

The retired couple spent the afternoon volunteering by selling retail merchandise, their first year at the Symphony in the Flint Hills concert. And so far, Byron said, he and Janet have learned a great deal.

Byron pointed at a plant in the grass. He remembered a recent conversation with a local farmer about the green, broad-leafed shrub.

“I called it a weed,” Byron said, “and he gave us a 10-minute explanation that it’s actually a lead plant. And he says that’s what cattle like to eat. And if you bring a new herd of calves in, they won’t eat it. They will watch the resident cattle eat it.

“I think that’s another highlight of coming to an event like this, coming and talking to people and learning things … I never would have had a conversation with a man about that plant before. But this symphony allowed that to happen.”

Shelby Reynolds