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Volunteer Spotlight – Toni Oakes

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 Toni Oakes.

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

I joined the Colorado Master Gardener program in 2006. I learned about the program through being involved in 4-H with my daughters in the 1990s. I have gardened since I was nine years old and just loved watching things grow. I joined the CMG program because, at the time, I lived on 2 ½ acres in Greenwood Village and I wanted to cut my professional landscaping contract by learning to do many of the services myself. Through the comprehensive education from CSU horticulture professors, I learned countless ways to manage my landscape through resourceful water practices, turf care, entomology, botany, noxious weeds, trees and shrubs, vegetable gardening, soils and so much more.

What is your favorite activity and why?

My favorite activity in the CMG program is anything involving my fellow Master Gardeners. I like the camaraderie and sharing our love of gardening together. It is especially fun to volunteer with them at the county office as we answer gardening questions from the community. I learn so much from my friends and always look forward to seeing them after the long winter is over.

What would you want someone to know about the CMG Program that may not be commonly known?

I think it is quite outstanding that all the organic produce that is harvested from Silo Park’s Demonstration Garden is donated to the Covenant Cupboard in Greenwood Village. Having been on the start-up committee at the Silo Park Garden and volunteering there each season, I have witnessed thousands of pounds of produce donated to the food bank. As a Home Economist from CSU, I love that vegetables and herbs of all varieties are available to members of our community as healthy meal options. Every year the lead team selects unique vegetables to introduce to the patrons of the food bank. As a volunteer, it is fun to work in the gardens and heartwarming to know the produce is going to worthy tables in our community.

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