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Volunteer Spotlight – Kathleen DeVries

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 Kathleen DeVries.

When did you join the Colorado Master Gardener program and why did you join?

I retired in December of 2017 and took advantage of that time frame to apply for the 2018 class of MG Apprentices. Gardening has been a lifelong love for me, starting as a young child gardening with my father in the fertile Midwest and then gardening in a wide variety of climates as our young family moved around the country. After many years, we settled in Colorado and gardening was my respite from the busy days of work and childcare. Becoming a Master Gardener, taking classes, and learning more about Colorado’s unique and challenging gardening environment was something I truly wanted to do in retirement. Not only did it allow me to continue my education, but it also allowed me to maintain the connection to my former career in education.

What is your favorite activity and why?

This is a question that is impossible for me to answer; there are so many great projects with the Arapahoe County Master Gardeners, and I have yet to try everything I want. I have relished learning about our pollinators and the bees in my backyard as I observe and count these fascinating insects. Manning the Information Booth at O’Toole’s in the spring as customers madly rush around buying beautiful new plants for their yards is a yearly highlight. And I have treasured my time at the Pea Patch watching the amazing display of flowers and produce, bees, birds, and happy gardeners. Taking pounds of food to the food pantry is always deeply satisfying as well. That said, the major project I have been engaged with is writing curriculum for children from preschool to grade 5. My partner, Barb Bolen, and I have learned so much and truly enjoyed the few presentations we have been able to make during these difficult times.

What is your favorite part of the program and why?

I find that the double focus on education and “giving back” are my favorite parts of the program.

What is the biggest thing you have learned that you didn’t know before becoming a Master Gardener?

I think the most valuable thing I have learned is the information about native plants and pollinators. I am slowly increasing the number of natives in my yard and trying to work up my courage to completely redesign my front yard with natives. The increase in birds and bees has been a delight to watch and inspiration to continue and learn more. Oh, and I do have to give out a shout to Tony Koski for teaching me that the silly bumps in my lawn are simply earthworms. Who would have thought!

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