• Linda Thomas and Margaret Walker Headshots

When dedicated people are asked to do a task, usually the popular response is, ‘On it!’ These two Master Gardeners (MG), Linda Thomas and Margaret Walker, are “On it” more than most people. Both are retiring from the New Hampshire Master Gardener Alumni Association board (NHMGAA) after a combined volunteer service of over 30 years.

Margaret has been a MG for 15 years, and for 14 of those years she has helped with NHMGAA’s Funded Projects. She has reviewed grant applications and supported association members who receive financial assistance for educational gardens, programming, or food production.  

Linda has been a MG for 19 years and has served many roles on the NHMGAA board, for a LONG time. These include Rockingham County representative, president 2019-21, past president, member of the Nominating Committee and chair of the Spring Symposium Committee. She has been a real champion, helping guide the group’s growing membership base.  Ruth Smith, MG Program Manager since 2018, says Linda has worn many hats. “I could always count on her for historical perspective and knowledge about past processes, and ways to build on those as we keep moving forward with new ideas.”

Gary Sheehan, recent president of the NHMGAA, adds “Linda and Margaret have been on the board longer than me. Both have been invaluable … Linda has been a go-to person for our major fund-raiser, the spring symposium. Her organization skills from her working life [as a social worker] were an inspiration to all of us.” Continuing, Gary says of Margaret, “She has an infectious, positive attitude and is always upbeat with whatever she is doing. She has been such a role model overseeing the grant program.”  Ruth agrees and adds, Margaret is always so positive, encouraging the volunteers and promoting the good work that they do. She has been an excellent cheerleader and ambassador for the Master Gardener program and NHMGAA.” 

Among Margaret’s future volunteer schedules, she will support Robyn Sweeny-Blaise, her successor for Funded Projects, spend more time in Northwood at her town’s four community gardens and volunteer for the UNH Extension Infoline. She will also help MG Terry Cook, with planting at Celia Thaxters garden on Appledore Island and she will volunteer with the Free Seeds for Education Project. 

Linda thinks the NHMGAA “has come a long way in the past 10 years. There were many challenges continuing as a viable organization.” Citing that change “is always hard, but with the hard work of a dedicated team, of which I was privileged to be part of, the board has managed to turn things in a more positive and productive direction.”  Linda will also continue volunteering with the Free Seeds for Education Project and the on-going gardens at Souhegan Valley Boys and Girls Club. Linda also hopes she will have more time to devote to her knitting.  “I have so many projects started, just finishing them up will keep me busy.”  

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