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School Garden Volunteer of the Year

Linda Urban receiving award from Mark Rendell, IRC School Superintendent

Indian River County Master Gardener Linda Urban received the Senior Volunteer of the Year award for her work with Vero Beach Elementary’s (VBE) school garden. A graduate of Master Gardener training in 2012, Linda chose to volunteer with the school garden as the primary coordinator ever since to give back to the community. A former teacher, she has combined her skills with children and love of gardening to expand the horizons of 3rd and 4th grade students at VBE.

Up until Fall of 2017, Linda was the coordinator and solo Master Gardener on hand for the school garden doing a great job providing an enjoyable experience in the square foot gardens. Besides the actual gardening with the little ones, she puts in long hours planning, gathering ideas, pricing supplies and processing purchase orders among other tasks. She is now assisted by IRC Master Gardeners Fran Robinson and Susan Gordon and will welcome any other MG’s interested in participating. Fran says: “I am proud and happy to work with Linda weekly at the school. She does an amazing job… We have fun working in the garden and especially with our group of 3-4th graders…We believe we are making a difference in the lives of these children!”

School gardens involve teachers, community partners and students to  create hands-on interdisciplinary classrooms using all shapes and sizes of gardens. Ranging from a few containers on a classroom windowsill to acres of fruits. flowers and vegetables, even small gardens help children gain familiarity and ownership with their food sources. Butterfly gardens are also popular and all are wonderful ways to incorporate curriculum with healthy, outdoor fun.

Volunteers like Linda are key to successful programs like school gardens. Congratulations !

For more information on the Indian River County Master Gardener program, contact IRC Environmental Horticulture Agent Nickie Munroe at lnmunroe@ufl.edu