WSU Lewis County Washington State Master Gardeners

Bob Taylor, Washington State Master of the Year 2018

WSU Lewis County Master Gardener Bob Taylor named Washington State Master Gardener of The Year.

If you were to visit the WSU Lewis County Extension Office you would have a good chance of seeing and or meeting Bob Taylor.  Bob is often seen preparing for a class he is going to teach or getting ready to go to Toledo Elementary School to present the Youth Outreach Program.

Bob is not a native to Lewis County or Washington State.  He moved here after retirement from Texas so his wife could be closer to her twin sister.  Bob became a WSU Lewis Co. Master Gardener in 2001 and shortly thereafter a board member of Lewis Co. Master Gardener Foundation. 

On Tuesday’s you can find Bob working at the Providence Place Demonstration Garden where he has been the Co-Garden Manager.

Bob has been involved in the Youth Outreach Program for 15 years. For the past 7 years you will find Bob at Toledo Elementary school presenting the Youth Outreach Program. Bob has led a program that engages the children in sensory exploration and many STEM activities. He not only uses the WSU gardening practices he also incorporates the WSU Master Recyclers and Composters in his lesson plans. Within 7 years with the help of staff and parents Toledo Elementary School has gone from a school of “failing status” to “distinguished status” as noted by the Washington State Superintendent of Schools.

MaryJo Christensen, Washington State Master Gardener of the Year 2019

When I was a trainee in 2016 one of the first Master Gardeners that I meet was MaryJo. She greeted me and said that she was glad that I was attending the Membership Meeting.  Later I was elected to the Foundation Board and that is when I got to know MaryJo as she was the Foundation treasurer and has held that position since 2013.  A year ago at a Board Meeting she was nominated for Washington State Master Gardener of the year and at that time I did not realize how much time MaryJo has committed to making Lewis County a better place for all of us.  MaryJo has been a Lewis County Master Gardener for nineteen (19) years.  During that time she has been President of the Foundation, Lewis County Master Gardener of the Year, VP of Educational Outreach, volunteered to do scheduler the “old way” paper and pencil, Lewis Co. Master Gardener Historian, she was active in the Lewis Co. Master Gardener 33 Year Anniversary Reunion and now she is the committee chair for Lewis Co. Master Gardener 40 Year Celebration.  When MaryJo is not busy volunteering with the Master Gardener Program she is involved with the Southwest Washington Fair since 2011 and is now Superintendent SWW Fair Agriculture Department (since 2017). Mary Jo was the Lewis County Home and Garden Show Coordinator in 2003 and for six years Mary Jo was the Master Gardener Foundation Washington State South West Region VP.  Last year Bob Taylor was the Washington State Master Gardener of the Year and with Mary Jo receiving the honor this year it has been 42 years since a county has had back to back winners!  Congratulations MaryJo!

Don Enstrom Washington State Master Gardener 2022

Don Enstrom certified as WSU Lewis County Master Gardener in 2012. Since that time his passion locally and at the state leel has not waivered. When I think about Don’s involvement in our local program, I think of his as Mr. Plant Sale. He spear headed the idea o fpurchasing the vegetable racks for the Plant Sale. He volunteered his time to take the garden carts we borrowed from the pumpkin patch to and from the dale. Don was our President for four years before taking on the position as state president.

Don was leected President of the Washington State Master Gardner Foundation in 2018 during a time of transition. It is said that, that in difficult times true leaders emerge and you made this statement a fact.

Under Don’s leadership, the first State Foundation sponsored AEC was planned at Fort Worden, Washington. Coved read its ugly head and plans changed quickly. With your team Don the lead the effort for a virtual conference. That conference ws very successful adn the largest ttendanc ever and attracting prticipants from several states.

Don was an exemplary leader. His approach to issues and problems as challenges, challenges that we can meet by working together. You make everyone feel part a part of something; important, that we made a difference. You encourage and recognize people, and are quick with praise and expressing gratitude.

John Strong who is that State Secretary described Don’s leadership as follows, “I credit Don with single-handely saving the organization! His leadership, attention to business, and dogged determination that we wee going to puth the MGFWS on a firm foundation with proper bylaws, procedures, and capable people in all key areas brought us to where we are today. The success of the conference this year is a testament of those effects. And it is made even more impressive given the challanges of Covid-19 that would have likely brought us to knees without his leadership”.