The below feature is an excerpt from my book, "Gardening Nude".
GN Book Excerpt - - Gardeners Who Make A Difference In Their
Emily Larson, Gardener-Extraordinaire!
Emily Larson was the person who welcomed me at the first America In bloom
meeting I attended and volunteers to improve her community every chance she
gets. She strongly believes in the health benefits of spending time in the
outdoor environment and recommends gardening as a positive resource to begin
your healthful experience. Larson also feels that sharing time and making a
difference through volunteer work in the community is not only important, but
essential to her health.
Larson's garden represents a lifelong story of love and family unity. Through
her love of gardening, she has created a natural paradise in her small backyard.
Larson was surprised when she first moved out to the suburbs forty years ago.
Her children were so excited to see grass and trees that they wanted to play out
in nature everyday. This surprising benefit to the health and welfare of her
family has encouraged her to be a lifelong gardener.
When Larson decided to add fish ponds to her backyard, she needed help from
her children. She was not interested in small token ponds; these were to be
large ponds with room for goldfish and koi to grow. Completed sixteen years ago,
some of the original koi are nor more than a foot long. Water lily's, a bog
garden, a waterfall, and a host of gorgeous perennials surround the ponds.
Larson is the city clerk in Warrenville, Illinois. She is continuously
involved in helping her neighborhood and the city focus on what is important--the
people. She strives tirelessly to make a difference. I know Emily Larson, and I
see that she is satisfied with who she is. She enjoys being a part of community
events and lives a life which is good for her and for others around her. Larson
is a wonderful example of how participating in community can help one's life be
healthier and more satisfying.
Roger Quackenbush, Greening The World One Step At A Time
Roger Quackenbush is a man with a unique environmental vision. He and I met
while attending an America In Bloom meeting. Quackenbush and his wife, Cynthia,
moved into my community about eight years ago. They are now heavily involved and
reaping the rewards of close friendships and
the sense of belonging that
happens when connecting with others in a community. He credits his son,
Christian, with giving him the push to get more involved. He started by coaching
soccer at the local Park District and has been the leader of his son's Cub Scout
Quackenbush soon saw the benefits of building a better world for his son--a
place where his son could grow within the community in a healthier way. He
wanted to set an example for Christian. Focusing on the environment and
community, he began donating thousands of bulbs and plants to the America In
Bloom organization in Warrenville, Illinois from the flower and bulb company he
runs called Tulips N More. He also sponsors Cub Scout clean-up days to help
educate his son on keeping the environment clean and healthy. This small start
led to much more. Before long, Quackenbush began to see that he could make a
difference by creating positive environmental changes on a much larger scale.
As often happens when one starts volunteering to help the world, the question
of how he could make a better future for Christian and the millions of children
on earth became more critical. Quackenbush, as an environmental, health, and
safety director for a chemical company, has worked regularly on projects which
help communities from a chemically-aware standpoint. His vision was to expand on
that and find ways to utilize chemical waste bi-products and alternative energy
Throwing himself into finding a solution, he has begun a partnership to
finance and build experimental wind turbines locally, as well as develop and
institute anaerobic digestive reactors. These devices use raw animal manure (of
which the earth has an abundant supply) for energy production.
His dreams all started at the base level--with the tiniest of communities--his
family and home garden. Roger knows that he has already made a difference in his
neighborhood and set a green example for his son, Christian, to follow.
Beautifying and enhancing the town he lives in by building gardens and donating
bulbs will encourage positive economic growth for the community. By taking his
dreams a step farther and giving the gift of alternative energy sources to the
larger community, Quackenbush will set a positive environmental precedence for
the world to follow.
Everyday Quackenbush throws his heart into making a difference and gives
something priceless back to the community; hope for the future.
Emily Larson and Roger Quackenbush are fantastic examples of people in the
community who care and contribute to the greater good of humanity by starting
small and gradually accomplishing community projects. They are just the
beginning of a large group of wonderful, caring people who have made a personal
difference in my life through a volunteer organization within my community. When
I first began my journey to better health, I did not understand how intricately
family and community are tied to feelings of self-worth and well-being. That is
all changed now as I understand how community work can improve people's outlook
on their own mental health. My message to you, the reader, has become stronger
because of my own experience. It is time for you to build your community and
give your time to the projects in your neighborhood that will make a positive
difference for others.
Enriching my life emotionally was easy once I altered my lifestyle to include
more than the TV as a social focus. This enlightenment can be yours also. All
the people with whom I volunteer and build community say the same thing. They
say that being involved in giving to and assisting others has helped them feel
better about themselves and the way their lives are going. They feel more
satisfied and filled with energy. They feel like they belong and can make a
Imagine what a
whole community can do when working together for a common cause?
Filed under: Green Family