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Chicago Master Gardener

A blog for Chicago Master Gardeners providing information on volunteer opportunities, training, workshops and resources.

Jackie Paine: Master Gardener Success Story

Posted by Ron Wolford -

When I applied for the 2003 U of I Extension Master Gardener program, I was interviewed by Laurie Lewis. During the interview, one of Laurie's comments really made an impression on me. He said that becoming a Master Gardener would dramatically change some MG's lives. At the time I had no idea that I would be one of those people.

I thoroughly enjoyed the MG classes and the opportunities to volunteer for many interesting projects all over the Chicago area... I was also fascinated by the diverse backgrounds of the Master Gardeners I started meeting.

In 2004, Sydney Barton, the volunteer coordinator for the MG Plant Clinic at Garfield Park Conservatory was ready to move on, I volunteered to take over from her, and have been doing the Plant Clinic scheduling for almost 3 years now. I have really enjoyed getting to know the many MG's who volunteer at Garfield Park. I was also very surprised to learn about all the variety of full- and part time positions that were available to Master Gardeners. Early this year I decided it was time to make a career change, and shortly after that, I received the email from Elizabeth Bruhns about a position as Executive Director of the Friends of the Oak Park Conservatory. I applied immediately, and, much to my delight, the position was offered to me. I started my new job at FOPCON mid-July and still am dazed at how quickly my life has changed.

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