Previous Volunteer Spotlights
Ron Trexler attended the Master Gardener training in 2015. From the start, Ron intended to use his training to help others: “I have a passion for gardening. People who know I garden are always asking me questions. I want to learn more about this field so I can impart my knowledge on others”, wrote Ron in his application for the Master Gardener Program.
And Ron did not lie about his interest in spreading his new knowledge! Ever since finishing his classes, he has been tremendously helpful at the Education Center. He has been answering phone calls at the Info Line, providing research-based answers tailored to each caller. But his involvement at the Education Center hasn’t stopped there: he has also taken a leadership role with the Speaker’s Bureau.
Ron’s professional experiences prior to becoming a Master Gardener has been a valuable addition to our team of volunteers and staff. His knowledge of effective presentation and training techniques have allowed us to refine our approach to managing our Speakers’ Bureau project, including presentation formatting, streamlining processes, incorporating hands-on components, and recruiting new volunteers to join the bureau. Additionally, he has participated in an advisory group focused on adult education best practices geared towards maximizing our teaching effectiveness. “Ron is a prime example of a volunteer who comes to us after a successful career, bringing with him a suite of skills that we can capitalize on for the benefit of all”, said Jeremy DeLisle, our Education Center Info Line Program Coordinator.
Our staff at the Education Center have been impressed with Ron’s dedication to our programs. As an example, in the last 3 months, he has volunteered over 85 hours! We are grateful to have such an amazing Master Gardener to work with.
Roz Mason has been gardening her whole life. “Growing up, we always had both flower and vegetable gardens, as did both sets of grandparents. My aunt and uncle had a farm. I have wonderful memories of learning to plant seeds, weeding the gardens, thinning out plantings, and, of course, picking flowers and vegetables”, wrote Roz in her Master Gardener Volunteer Program Application. Even during college, Roz found a way to keep gardening as she tended the greenhouse as a student aid while majoring in biology. Since then, she had a vegetable garden in raised beds, indoor houseplants, and blueberry bushes.
Roz has been using her life-long experience as a gardener and master gardener training to answer our clientele’s questions at the Education Center and to give talks about container gardening. “Through working on the phone lines at the Education Center, I have learned that we impact our community one small issue at a time” says Roz. “Each question may seem like a small thing, but to the person receiving the information, it is often very important. I have also seen a ripple effect where information we have shared has been passed along by the recipient to others in the community. We will never fully know how far our influence has extended or how great an impact we have made.”
What does Jeremy DeLisle, our Education Center Info Line Program Coordinator, has to say about Roz? “Roz has quickly become a trusted and dependable volunteer. I can always count on her to give superior customer service and provide accurate information, always seeking to find the best solution for our clients. Roz has also worked extremely hard to develop and deliver presentations for various community groups through our speakers’ bureau. Her attitude, intellect, and devotion epitomize the ideal volunteer. We are so fortunate that she chooses to contribute her skills to our volunteer programs”.
Jeremy’s appreciation of Roz’s volunteer work is echoed by all staff members at the Education Center. We are lucky to have “snatched up” such an amazing volunteer. Thank you, Roz, for all your help since 2015!
Ruth Droescher attended the Fall 2015 master gardener training. When asked why she wanted to become a Master Gardener volunteer, she responded: “I would like to help spread the word on the importance of native plants to all pollinators. I am very interested in gardening for wildlife and would like to help establish more gardens in schools, medical facilities, and nursing homes. We need more therapy gardens!” Ruth’s interests and experience are quite impressive. Not only does she have over 30 years of gardening experience, she’s also a beginner beekeeper, and has a background in healthcare and financial analysis.
Ruth volunteers her time at the Education Center by answering our information line and emails. She also gives captivating talks about pollinators and other related topics, which she spent a lot of time doing research for and putting together. Ruth combines her first-hand experience with a practical approach to craft individualized solutions for each of our clients. She has a wonderful way with people.
What do our Education Center Coordinator (Jeremy DeLisle) and Rockingham County Master Gardener Coordinator (Amanda Gourgue) have to say about Ruth?
“She is a pleasure to have as a representative of UNH Cooperative Extension and the NH Master Gardener Program. Ruth regularly receives follow-up messages from clients thanking her for her thoughtful recommendations to solve their home and garden challenges.” - Jeremy
“Ruth is passionate and dedicated to the Master Gardener program. She loves sharing her knowledge and is generous with her volunteer time.” - Amanda
Her extensive knowledge, enthusiasm, and laidback personality makes her a wonderful volunteer to work with!
John Williams - Among John's many interests is writing a Blog. “Liza and John’s Garden” is its name. John Williams belongs to the Garden Writers Association and a good friend of his who is a Master Gardener told hime about her experiences as a Master Gardener and how rewarding they are. That got John interested and he soon became a Master Gardener.
"Been around since before dirt and have gardened most of that time", John explains. Currently, John is partly retired, gardening on 10 acres “Mostly Woods”. You can find John at the Education Center almost every Tuesday except when he's in Florida or for a couple of family emergencies. John started gardening at age 14 working for a local nursery. Raking leaves and doing general clean up at customer locations working his way up to creating, planting, and preparing gardens at local estates. From there he was on my own learning by trial and error, reading a few gardening books along the way. The Master Gardener training class tied a lot of that practical knowledge together. John explains, "During the course I found myself thinking, that’s why that did not work or that’s why that did work many times".
"I have always enjoyed helping others solve problems and learn new things. Volunteering at the Education Center does just that. No matter what the inquiry is about or who it is from finding and providing the solution is rewarding for the inquirer as well as the Master Gardener handling it. As a Master Gardener I have meet some wonderful and interesting people, not only the other volunteers and Cooperative Extension staff but the inquirers".
Terry Glazier had been wanting to participate in the Master Gardener Program for many years. She has been volunteering at the Animal Rescue League of NH since 2009. In addition to writing bios, taking pictures and making videos of cats for the shelter’s web site, Terry took over the care of the long neglected yard and garden. A volunteer with UNH’s Lay Lakes Monitoring Program for eight years, she finally had the time to attend the Master Gardener Program in 2011. She only wishes she had taken the classes prior to revitalizing the shelter gardens as she could have applied her new knowledge in those efforts.
A special interest of Terry’s is insect identification and behavior. She frequently brings in insects to share with other volunteers. “I like to try and identify insects I see crawling around the shrubs and plants in my own yard. After trying to identify them, frequently unsuccessfully, I bring them in for Rachel Maccini to either confirm what she thinks it is or tell me where I have gone wrong. I love learning about beneficial insects and admit that my attitude has completely changed about wasps. "Now that I know they are beneficial, I leave them alone as long as their nest isn’t directly over my deck. I used to kill them in the past. Now I just take down their nest so they will built someplace else; such as a tree in the middle of the yard away from the front door. “
Terry enthusiastically recommends taking the Master Gardener Program and has persuaded two other volunteers and one staff member from the Animal Rescue League to attend. “Every day I work at the education center, I learn something new; usually something I can apply in the care of my own yard or the shelter’s yard. And the calls we receive are often so humorous, I laugh out loud or am left chuckling after we hang up.” Her favorite calls are about wildlife and likes it best when it is very busy with lots of interesting emails and phone calls.
Sam Jamke (given name Ruth – how she got from Ruth to Sam is a silly story best told after consumption of several adult beverages) retired from her career as a chemist in 2007 and began to get more active than ever in her volunteer “career.” While volunteering at the Animal Rescue League of NH, she was spreading donated mulch in their gardens with Master Gardener Terry Glazier and talk naturally turned to gardening. Terry told Sam about being a Master Gardener and Sam, being a hike leader and wanna-be naturalist for the Appalachian Mountain Club, thought this was a program worth looking into. It proved to be a perfect fit! After her interview with Rachel Maccini and going through the 13- week training in 2011, she found answering calls at the Education Center rewarding, fun and educational. “I learn something new every time I pick up the phone,” she can often be heard saying when she talks about the program.
Sam claims to not have much time for gardening herself, but she does have a great interest in increasing her knowledge of the subject. Identifying plants and insects is a favorite challenge and she tries to grab every e-mail she can that comes in with a mystery photo attached. As a serious cook, she also finds food-related questions of special interest.
When Sam is asked about the time commitment, she’ll say “I have a ridiculously busy schedule and I travel a lot, so the flexible scheduling really works for me.” What else does she like about being a Master Gardener? “Helping people get the info they need, learning while doing so and meeting other fascinating volunteers and staff.”
Tabby Burak - In some way feels as tho she has always been connected to cooperative extension, starting in 6th grade whe she was a member of a 4H sewing club that lasted all through high school and as a member of a rifle club. The agent dragged several of them around the county to practice their demonstrations before they went to the state exhibition. No blue ribbons were given, but red ones were awarded.
Later she served as an assistant club leader for a couple of years. Then there was no activity until she and her husband began the Master Gardener training in New Hanover county NC. That was her introduction to "city mold". They volunteered there for 6 years, moving back to New England when her husband was diagnosed with metastatic kidney cancer.
After he passed away, Tabby transferred to UNH Coperative Extension Master Gardener Program in 2001, where she still covers most of the Mondays of the year, still looking forward to the phone ringing or the email for the question of the day. Tabby expects to continue learning, being curious about the natural world around us and accumulating fascinating factoids. "Being a master gardener has been a wonderful occupation, far more than a pastime and I continue to be grateful that I have this opportunity to learn and give back at the same time."
Roxann Hunt fell in love with the idea of becoming a Master Gardener about 15 years ago after purchasing her first house with a big empty yard. Discovering that learning and gardening was a never-ending journey lead Roxann down the path to her passion: horticulture. Working part-time, she applied for the Master Gardener Program in 2011. Her infectious enthusiasm convinced her boss to let her take one day a week off for the training – and she actually gave him a big hug.
The first day of class felt a little overwhelming and not quite what she expected. Realizing that she would have to develop some computer skills and actually speak in front of the class was intimidating. Sticking with it and taking on these new challenges gave her confidence and self-esteem. She graduated from the training and started her internship by volunteering at the Education Center.
Roxann credits Rachel Maccini’s support and encouragement for her growing self-assurance on the phone lines as she answered questions from the public on everything from gardening to food safety and more. At the end of 2011, she lost her job. When she wasn’t out applying for jobs, she was at the Education Center or volunteering for other Master Gardener opportunities. While volunteering one day last March, she learned of a position to manage a local garden center. She applied and was hired on the basis of her confidence and extensive horticultural skills acquired as a volunteer. But, she didn’t stop there. She hired and mentored two other Master Gardener interns who were looking for employment opportunities. She boosted their belief in themselves while teaching them skills and knowledge about the horticultural industry. She continues to accept new challenges and had stepped up to become a team leader at the Education Center. Roxann told us, “I have discovered if you are doing something you love and are passionate about, what may look like bumps in the road are really just new opportunities. Marcy Stanton told me this program will change your life in ways you can’t imagine and in my experience with the Master Gardener Program, she was right. I am very proud to wear my UNH Cooperative Extension Master Gardener badge! And, I continue to take in more and more knowledge because learning new things is an endless journey.”