Meet Your Neighbor: Ginny Douglass, 67
Gardening has been a constant in Ginny Douglass’s life since she was 2, so becoming a master gardener about seven years ago seemed like a natural progression because she wanted to volunteer after retiring.
Since then, Douglass, 67, has devoted at least six hours each week tending to local gardens and helping teach others about the area’s ecosystem. Her many hours of dedication is one of the reasons she was recently recognized with the Martin County Master Gardeners’ spotlight award.
“I love being outdoors, and there’s always something to learn (as a master gardener),” she said.
Florida’s Master Gardeners are volunteer teachers, trained by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Each year, individuals who are part of the program must continue training and volunteering.
As part of the program, there’s also always something to teach. Douglass said she works two to three hours a week in the demonstration garden, which is at the Martin County fairgrounds and teaches people about gardening techniques. She spends another two to three hours at gardens on Hutchinson Island at the Florida Oceanographic Center.
As if weekly gardening wasn’t enough, Douglass regularly helps out during special events.
Her volunteer efforts over the years have amounted to at least 1,200 hours. With that many hours, it isn’t shocking she was recognized, but Douglass was not expecting any attention for these efforts, she said.
“I am one of the quiet ones,” she said. “I think I even started shaking (when she found out about the award).”
Despite this humility, Douglass said she is proud of the accomplishment. The award prominently sits on her desk.
“I am grateful for it,” she said.
Douglass, who is nearly a Martin County native after moving here as a 1-year-old, said her fond memories of the area have created a love for the outdoors and possibly her reason for being a master gardener.
“The waters were beautiful in those days,” she said about growing up in the area. “I loved being out on the water, fishing or water skiing.”
Her love of the water motivated Douglass to get involved with water testing of local waterways, and she has even helped with oyster beds.
It’s nothing new for Douglass to volunteer. In the past, she has coached softball, helped with tennis programs, and served in Parent Teacher Associations, while she and her husband of 43 years, Barry, were raising their son.
“Volunteering gets you involved with the community,” she said. “If you can’t donate money, then you can sure help. It also gives you a lot more community awareness.”
Q & A
What is your favorite book?
“Watership Down” by Richard Adams
What is your favorite movie?
“The Sting” with Robert Redford
Who has been your biggest mentor as a master gardener?
Pam Hopkins. She is a fountain of information … You learn so much from her, and I have helped her with oyster restoration. She teaches in a very nice way.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things could you not live without?
A glass of wine, a nice library and good cooking utensils. I love to cook.