Gardeners with Heart: Sustainable Landscape Stewards

Apr 21, 2024

Gardeners with Heart: Sustainable Landscape Stewards

Apr 21, 2024

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As we continue our celebrations of National Volunteer Month, we're excited to spotlight a remarkable group of UC Master Gardeners dedicated to nurturing vibrant habitat gardens, promoting biodiversity, and advocating for sustainable landscaping practices. These exceptional UC Master Gardeners have transformed not only gardens but also mindsets, fostering a deeper appreciation for native plants and pollinators within their community. Join us as we celebrate and express our gratitude to these outstanding "Sustainable Landscape Stewards" for their unwavering commitment to enhancing urban biodiversity and promoting environmental stewardship.

Sam Foushee, Sally Hughes, and Jennifer Cardoza, tackled the challenge of revitalizing a plot near the vegetable trials garden at the Lake Merrit Trial Garden in Alameda County into a sanctuary for native bees. Their dedication and vision have created an oasis of biodiversity focused on plants that attract, shelter and feed native bees. The garden has expanded multiple times including preserving and protecting species of native plants to promote biodiversity. This project has inspired others and helped UC Master Gardeners build a deeper understanding of planting for pollinators and overall biodiversity that they have been able to share within their communities.

Birgitt Evans, helped the Lake Merrit Trial Garden grow and expanded its efforts by focusing on creating habitat areas tailored to the needs of butterflies. Her contributions have been instrumental in supporting monarch butterflies and fostering habitats for a diverse range of butterfly species, aiding in the conservation of these vital pollinators.

Jane Margold has taken the Lake Merrit Trial Garden Project to the next stage leading a citizen science project that monitors which plants attract which types of native bees and other pollinators.  When completed, this information will be available to inform local native plant gardeners in making plant selection decisions to promote pollinators in Alameda County's microclimate.

Lindy Kauffman, an exceptional leader, spearheaded the establishment of educational sustainable gardens across Mariposa County. Lindy has overseen the design and installation of gardens showcasing swales to control water, sustainable mulching methods, and the use of climate-adapted plants. These gardens serve as educational resources for volunteers and the community alike. Lindy organized a cohort of UC Master Gardeners and AmeriCorps volunteers and collaborated with county, Chamber of Commerce, and other volunteer organizations to design and install a sustainable landscaping garden with more than 100 locally adapted plants.

Ann Northrup, leverages her background in plant pathology and has been integral to the success of Santa Clara County's online Plant Clinic. Her expertise and dedication to serving home gardeners has provided invaluable support, especially during the transition to virtual clinics amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through her commitment, the online Plant Clinic continues to thrive, reaching and benefiting an ever-expanding number of participants.

As we celebrate National Volunteer Month, let us extend our heartfelt appreciation to Sam Foushee, Sally Hughes, Jennifer Cardoza, Birgitt Evans, Lindy Kauffman, and Ann Northrup. Their tireless efforts and passion for sustainability have enriched our landscapes and inspired others to join in the collective endeavor to preserve and protect California's natural resources.

About National Volunteer Month and Sustainable Landscape Stewards

During National Volunteer Month (April 1 - 30), the UC Master Gardener Program celebrates the extraordinary contributions of its volunteers to promoting sustainable landscaping practices and biodiversity conservation. Sustainable Landscape Stewards volunteers were nominated for their outstanding work in creating and maintaining habitat gardens, fostering urban biodiversity, and promoting environmental stewardship. Join us in honoring their dedication and passion for making a positive impact on the environment and the community at large. If you would like to get involved and learn more about sustainable landscaping practices in your community, you can find your local program here

By Barbra Pushies
Author - Statewide Communications Specialist

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