Meet the Statewide Program Coordinator
Wendy Wilber has been with the University of Florida since 2000 when she became an environmental horticulture agent and Master Gardener Volunteer program coordinator for UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County.
In 2015, she took over as Florida's State Master Gardener Volunteer Program Coordinator. In this role, she will coordinate 4,000 volunteers and serve as a resource for many on plant and landscape issues.
Wendy grew up on a tropical fruit farm in Miami Dade County, and before coming to the University, worked in the landscape industry. She is a graduate of Stetson University in DeLand, and received her master's degree in horticultural sciences at the University of Florida.
As an environmental horticulture agent for Alachua County, Wendy's main focus was teaching residents how to create and maintain environmentally friendly landscapes. Her biweekly column in the Gainesville Sun and Ocala Star banner highlighted these concepts and provided practical answers about gardening.
In her 14 years as Master Gardener Volunteer program coordinator for the county, Wendy trained over 300 Master Gardener volunteers—as of Spring 2015, there are 140 active Master Gardener volunteers serving in Alachua County. These volunteers participate in an intensive course to learn about gardening, horticulture and landscaping. In turn, these volunteers advise and teach people of Alachua County in areas of plants, landscape, and insects and diseases of plants.
Wendy is recognized as a leader in the Florida Master Gardener Volunteer program and was granted the Florida Master Gardener Professorship in 2012.
Helping people to be more sustainable in their home landscapes is a continuing goal in her education program. Home vegetable gardening and fruit growing is a special passion for Wendy. She has taught many classes on home food production to thousands in Alachua County.
Youth education through 4-H has been another component of her Extension work. Wendy has taught 4-H programs for 3rd and 4th graders, where they learn about plants, wildlife, and watersheds with an emphasis on environmental stewardship. She strives to teach the children to understand our environment so they will later protect it.
She has served on numerous boards in committee over her career to include: the University of Florida/IFAS assembly, UF Wilmot Gardens advisory board, Kanapaha Botanical Garden Spring Garden Festival, FACAA board executive board, Sante Fe Springs working group, Florida Master Gardener advisory committee, and the UF/IFAS Water conservation initiative committee. Wendy has brought Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ concepts to states such as Louisiana, South Carolina, and North Carolina.
She is also a faculty member with the UF Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology.
A resident of Alachua County for over 20 years, she remains active in the community by volunteering with Keep Alachua County Beautiful and working with the North American Butterfly Association. Wendy enjoys fishing, hiking, and travelling to botanical gardens across the country with her partner Eric and daughter Sophie.
"Being able to serve the community as an Environmental Horticulture agent has been such a blessing in my life," Wendy says. "I am very fortunate to have a very meaningful career where I can help to improve people's lives and the environment in the community that I am so proud to be a part of."
"In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we have been taught."
— Baba Dioum