By Justine Ramsey, Awards Committee
Congratulations to our own Barbara Skomorowski, our recipient of this year’s Service Award! Barb won for all of her hard work with the Auction Committee. A lot of people may also know Barb as the Communications Director for CT Hort, a position she took on in January of 2016 and just left after moving to Cuyahoga Falls, OH, to downsize and be near family.
Working on the Auction Committee began when she volunteered at the Spring Auction in 2016. “I recall being so impressed at how much was accomplished in those few hours by all the volunteers from Master Gardeners, CT Hort, and
our business supporters,” she said. “It reminded me of a barn raising! I’ve been involved in the auction ever since.”
She’s taken on a lot of projects on her own time since then. “I volunteered for the 2018 and 2020 Symposiums,” she said. “I’ve volunteered to read and review gardening books for our annual Winter Book Review Newsletter. Most recently, I took on the task to find homes for CT Hort’s library books so that the Rocky Hill office could be closed but the books would remain available for public viewing. The books were taken by Connecticut College Arboretum, Bartlett Arboretum, Connecticut Botanical Society, and Naugatuck Valley Community College. My volunteering didn’t end there… a group of us proceeded to empty the office, finding homes for furniture and equipment, and ultimately cleaning the space.”
There is so much to learn through CT Hort, she added. “The meetings and events tend to attract like-minded people who remain curious regardless of age, so I’ve made friendships with interesting people who have taught me a lot. Gardeners tend to be sharers—they’ll give you plants and their thoughts on various subject. Our speakers are at the top of their fields of expertise. Some have encouraged me to think about things I never thought of before! The Newsletter and website are solids resources of useful information.”
“I would really encourage people to get more involved in our organization. There are lots of moving parts to what is accomplished each year. Member volunteers have kept CT Hort going and growing since 1887 and we need hands and minds to continue keeping the parts moving. Find a friend who will try something new with you. Try something new yourself and make a new friend.”
Barb’s work with CT Hort isn’t over yet. “I’ve been asked to join the Board of Directors and can conference in for meetings and will certainly tackle some projects to move our organization along, even from a distance.”
Downsizing now offers her a chance to enjoy different and fun hobbies. “I love to grow things I can eat—vegetables, berries, herbs,” she said. “I am a devoted canner who looks to capture the harvest in mason jars to enjoy throughout the year.”
“This year, my gardening challenge is to create a ‘kitchen garden’ in pots and grow bags on a cement, eight by 12-foot patio. So far, I’ve managed to cram two varieties of cherry tomatoes, two jalapenos, pole beans, lettuce, spinach, arugula, and seven varieties of herbs in. Not a bad start! Wish me luck for next season.”
Thank you, Barb Skomorowski, for volunteering your time every year for our wonderful organization.