University of Florida

The Neighborhood Gardener –
Outstanding Master Gardener Nominee

Each year Master Gardeners from around Florida are nominated to receive the Outstanding Master Gardener Award at the annual state conference. This award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding efforts in several Master Gardener projects and activities. The 2013 Outstanding Master Gardener Award went to Linda Krausnick of Marion County. There were a number of wonderful nominees this year, and this month we would like to focus on Charles Reynolds of Highlands County.

Charles has worked tirelessly to introduce children and adults to gardening and to educate them about Florida-Friendly gardening. In the past year, Charles has put in over 400 hours of volunteer service and driven more than 1,350 miles in his own car to reach people across the county. Currently, Charles has 10 gardens under his purview with two more on the drawing board.

Charles has worked with approximately 1,200 students at six schools on the installation and rehabilitation of teaching gardens. In addition to his work in schools, Charles helped rehabilitate a vegetable garden for the Boys and Girls Club of Sebring and helped the Sebring 4-H club care for a University of Florida pomegranate test orchard of 60 trees of different varieties. For the Highlands County 4H teaching garden, he installed an irrigation system and helped plant a Florida native butterfly garden.

Beyond his commitment to educate children, Charles has reached out to adults in the community by advising on the installation of the Avon Park Transitional Housing Authority community gardens and instituting a Master Gardener Scholarship program to allow low-income, motivated residents to attend the Highlands County Master Gardener Class.

On the second Friday of every month, Charles makes an hourly appearance on a local radio program, The Barry Foster Show, to talk about Highlands County plant culture and answer caller questions. Charles also mans the help desk in his local Extension office twice a week.


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