Master Gardener Helps His Community Recover

Photo of Terry Wawrzyniak in front of saw palmettos and bamboo plants

By Terra L Freeman, Extension Agent and Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator, UF/IFAS St. Johns County

Terry Wawrzyniak became a St. Johns County Master Gardener in 2016 to hone his horticulture skills for north Florida, while serving his community through volunteer service. Little did he know how valuable his skills would soon become. Soon after graduation, Terry undertook a massive landscape design and renovation project to help his coastal community recover from Hurricane Matthew.

Terry created several landscape design options and submitted them to the HOA for approval. Once approved, he continued to see the project through its myriad of trials and tribulations until the gardens were successfully planted and irrigation was in place.

Terry spent at least 50 hours volunteering his time, talents, and energy on this project. While the contributions Terry has made to his community go beyond monetary value, the calculable value of his services rendered are impressive. At $22.70 per hour, the value of his service for this project is $1,135. This same year, he also donated 24 hours of design and consultation services to a local church, which is valued at $545.

Terry utilized his landscape design, horticulture, communication, and management skills throughout the design and implementation of the project. The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles he learned in the Master Gardener training program were incorporated throughout the project, making it a testament to the value of both the Florida Master Gardener and Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ programs.

A freshly laid flower bed including a small tree alongisde a pond with a fountain.

Terry's handiwork

April is National Volunteer Month, when we celebrate the work that volunteers do year-round. Volunteer Month recognizes and promotes the spirit of service, and raises awareness about how volunteering changes lives and strengthens communities.