MREC Scholarship Winners Support Local Garden Fair

Last Updated on March 8, 2018 by Angela Colonna

This past weekend marked the thirteenth annual Garden Fair hosted by the Sweetwater Oaks Garden Club (SWOGC). Over 100 vendors with plants, shrubs, nature photography and yard art attended the two-day event in Longwood, just northwest of Orlando. The Mid-Florida Research and Education Center (MREC) was in attendance to show our support for this garden club, much like they’ve supported horticulture undergraduate and graduate students at MREC over the years.

Joyce Anderson, SWOGC member; Dr. Brian Pearson, MREC faculty member; Crystal Conner, Shawn Schutte, Travis Marois and Kevin Dewansingh; SWOGC scholarship recipients. (From left to right)

At the event, we were able to explain how anyone attending the Garden Fair 2018, was supporting scholarships for UF students who study at the Apopka-based research and education center. The club is helping grow the future generation of leaders in the horticulture industry through their generous and on-going contributions.

Four MREC students won SWOGC scholarships for the 2017-2018 academic year to support their studies in plant pathology and the plant sciences, with focuses like greenhouse and landscape production and biotechnology.

Thank you to the Florida Nursery, Growers & Landscape Association​ for donating plants for our display this year. They were a gorgeous addition to the MREC table and prompted great conversations about horticulture.

An average MREC student, is generally a non-traditional college student, meaning right after high school they continued their education to the university level. Many are working full time, transferred to the UF with their associate of arts degree (AA) and are place bound to Central Florida for personal or financial reasons.

These students are committed to balancing their personal lives with their academic goals to graduate with a four-year degree. Scholarships like the ones offered by SWOGC are key to lessening financial concerns.

Since 2005, SWOGC has sponsored more than $105,000 worth of scholarships to University of Florida students and Wekiva Youth Camp summer students.

For more information about the Sweetwater Oaks Garden Club and their mission, check out their website.


Posted: March 8, 2018

Category: Events, Horticulture, UF/IFAS Teaching

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