Forty Years of Master Gardener Volunteers
This year marks the 40th year of the Master Gardener Volunteer Program in Florida. Additionally, April is Volunteer Appreciation Month and we are highlighting the memories of a few of our long-serving volunteers. Thank you to all the Master Gardener Volunteers who serve throughout Florida, whether you've been serving a few days or a few decades!
Dale Galiano – St. Lucie County
Dale Galiano became a Master Gardener Volunteer in 1997 (22 years ago) and was in the first class to be trained in St. Lucie County for the Florida-Friendly Neighborhood program. Dale has been involved with numerous projects as a Master Gardener Volunteer including plant sales, plant "fashion shows" and festivals, working the Master Gardener Volunteer booth at the local farmer's market, teaching school programs, participating in Earth Day events, and teaching at adult learning centers. Dale has judged 4H fair projects and the annual USDA Indian River Lagoon Envirothon project for high school students.
She has twice been honored by her peers as Master Gardener Volunteer of the Year. She has participated in a number of state conferences, is certified in the Sea Grant Water Ambassador program, and has attended the Master Gardener Volunteer Leadership School.
Not only is Dale an admired gardener, she is also an artist who does "murals to canvas and pots to rain barrels." Her mural artwork can be seen at the Oxbow Environmental Learning Center and in the salt tolerant garden at the St. Lucie County Extension office, where you can also see her rain barrels. Dale won a Silver Award from the state for one of her rain barrels that was featured in a county Extension agent's project.
Additionally, she loves to repurpose items to personalize gardens. She describes these items as "fun things that make people smile as they wander through their back yard, patio, or porch."
When asked about her favorite memory Dale was unable to pinpoint just one. She said, "Every season, garden, group, project, or program has its own special moment. I am forever grateful to all the agents, speakers and fellow [Master Gardener Volunteers] that have shared and made my time extra special through all these years."
She added, "The main thing is, I've been blessed with great friends, including previous mentees and [Master Gardener Volunteers] to spend time with traveling, wandering museums, local events, gardens, or nurseries, and just having fun."
- Next: Pat Collier, Baker County
- Bert Orcutt, Brevard County
- Liz Angelini, Pasco County
- Shirley "Daisy" Thompson, St. Johns County
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.