Colorado Master Gardener℠ (CMG) volunteers are a dedicated group of individuals who are knowledgeable and passionate about sharing gardening, landscape and horticulture education. This month we are highlighting Sally Swartz.
When did you join the Colorado Master Gardener program and why did you join?
I joined the program in 2003 after retiring from teaching. I taught Biology and Geology for 30 years, the last 25 years at Cherry Creek High School. After retirement, I wanted to stay involved in education at some level, and this program seemed like a good fit. I had a grandmother in Illinois who always had a large vegetable garden, and she was my inspiration to focus on gardening.
What is your favorite CMG activity and why?
My favorite activity has been working at Silo Park. Early on in my CMG career, I spent my volunteer hours with school groups at Hudson gardens. When this local garden became available to the program, I jumped at the opportunity. Not only is it close to home, but I also spent eight years on the Parks Trails and Recreation Commission for Greenwood Village and helped plan this park around a farming/garden theme back in the 90s. I am thrilled that the city has maintained that focus and has been committed to supporting this project with money and resources. I appreciate the fact that the produce we grow is donated to the Covenant Cupboard Food Pantry. It has been especially rewarding this pandemic year when the food bank needs have increased. This year we donated over 1,600 lbs. of produce. Our banner year it was close to 2,500 lbs., and the grand total for nine years is 12,189 lbs.
What is your favorite part of the CMG program and why?
Nothing is greater than seeing learning take place, and I learn so much from the other Master gardeners working side by side. Not only do we work hard, but we have lots of fun. We all enjoy passing information on to visitors to the garden as well. I love the classes, especially when the CSU professors would come down and present in person. What a great community of life-long learners the Master Gardener program has created!
In what way has being a CMG helped you personally?
I think this program has given me a purpose in retirement. I feel like I have been so fortunate in my life that being able to give back makes the effort and time worthwhile.