Friday, January 9, 2015

Happy New Year and Thanks for a Great 2014!

Thanks to you, 2014 was a wonderful year for me, filled with a cornucopia of activities: teaching hundreds of adults about sustainable gardening throughout the Puget Sound region, teaching hundreds of children and adults about gardening and nature at Magnuson Park and other nearby locations, peppered with a healthy "dash" of in-person garden consultation and design work! 
I am so grateful this year to have had new teaching opportunities come my way, most notably the Sand Point Elementary school garden program and the Seattle Public Library.  I am also very grateful for continued work from the municipalities and other entities that have been the mainstay of my public education for adults and children for the last several years!
Roses are red, violets are blue,

I love my work, thanks to you!
When I began this journey back in 1995 after many years in the world of remodeling and rental property consulting (and a lifetime of home gardening), little did I know that it would lead to where I am today... or how much fun the journey would be!

In light of that, I want to personally acknowledge and thank all the people who have been a big part of my journey so far:
  • Teacher Terese Metz, for inviting me to volunteer as a garden teacher in her classroom at Dunlap Elementary School back in 1995 (which turned into a 9-year collaboration), for mentoring and encouraging me, and continuing to be a great role model and dear friend ever since;
  • Former WSU/King Co. Extension Master Gardener Program staff Mary Robson, Joan Helbacka, and Anza Muenchow for inviting me to begin writing about my experiences in gardening with children and to teach adult gardening education classes in the late 1990's, and current MG Coordinator Elaine Anderson for her support in encouraging each year's incoming interns to volunteer with Magnuson Nature Programs;
  • Landscape designer Cindy Hazard and horticulturist Christina Pfeiffer, for their tremendous design ideas and leadership of Magnuson Children's Garden, which inspired me to jump in with both feet to help sustain this beautiful garden (aka my home-away-from-home) for the past 10+ years;
  • Retired Edmonds Community College instructors Walt Bubelis and Polly Hankin, for teaching and mentoring me on so many aspects of horticulture and garden design;
  • Seattle Public Utilities resource conservation staff Carl Woestwin (retired) and Liz Fikejs, former Seattle Tilth staff Colleen Quinn and Andrea Cummins, Cascadia Consulting's Gwen Vernon, and Seattle Dept. of Neighborhoods' Kenya Fredie, for giving me opportunities and referrals that began and/or nurtured my teaching and writing work for Puget Sound municipalities and other entities that has continued to grow each year;
  • 70th and Sand Point Child Care Center director Mary Jo Dostal, for the opportunity and privilege of working with their wonderful preschool teachers and students for the past 8 years at Magnuson Park;
  • Magnuson Community Center coordinator Karla Withrow, for the opportunity and creative freedom to grow Magnuson Nature Programs from a 2-week summer day camp for preschoolers into a mainstay of year-round public education and stewardship programs with dozens of camps, classes, nature walks and more, plus two demonstration gardens. Her 10+ years of steadfast mentoring, support, and patience has made a tremendous impact of all the success.
  • And last but certainly not least, to all the wonderful clients who've welcomed me into their gardens and their lives since 2002, and to the thousands of children, adults, and families who have given me so many delightful and meaningful teaching experiences for the past 20 years. I have learned so much because of you all, and none of the experiences listed above would have been possible without you too!

And I really can't end this note without expressing my gratitude to my late parents, who taught me how to grow food and flowers, plant little saplings and watch them grow into trees, and gave me the freedom to play as much as I wanted in the backyard, creeks, and farm fields, and in the sun, rain, and mud... Without them, this journey truly would not have begun!