Barb Gasterland is one of our longtime volunteers. She started out as a garden evaluator in 2005, when her interest in a raingarden movement happening at the time led her to Metro Blooms. At this point, Barb had been a resident of Minnesota for almost 25 years. She’d moved from a very small town in Wisconsin called Scandinavia, where she grew up as one of five children in a Polish family. Coming to Minnesota, and eventually living in Minneapolis, gave her the change and new adventure she had been looking for as a small town resident.
Although she has always been interested in them, Barb didn’t have much to do with gardening or water quality at first. She slowly picked up gardening throughout her life, eventually becoming a master gardener. Now, she has a yard that’s teeming with many different gardens, including two raingardens, and several vegetable gardens on raised beds. Similarly, her interest in water quality started when she attended seminars about it at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Since then, her interest has grown enough that she’s played some vital roles in Metro Blooms’ work. Starting in 2009, she’s been using her master gardener skills to help out at raingarden workshops. In 2010, she hosted that year’s Garden Party at her house along with her husband. This year, she’s on the State Advisory Board for Master Gardeners and will be working again to coordinate Master Gardeners for raingarden workshops.
Barb started out in the photofinishing business when she first moved to Minnesota, which she continued with as a career. She now does this as a hobby, among her many others. One of her other main interests is traveling. Barb has toured some interesting places, such as the Bahamas and Costa Rica, where she also did some fun activities like kayaking, canoeing and other water sports. She’s also done garden tours in the U.S. and Europe. She plans to keep traveling to places she hasn’t seen yet, like Eastern Europe, Asia, South America, and, in her words, “everywhere.” She also has plans for when she’s at home, namely redoing her raingardens, berry canning, and taking on more public speaking roles.
Barb also shared some fun facts about herself, such as having won polka dancing contests when she was young. Her favorite plants are the swiss and rainbow chards, although she likes whatever is in bloom at the moment, and has a tough time picking favorites. She also used to keep a rooster and ten hens, but they were stolen!
When asked what she enjoys about volunteering for Metro Blooms, Barb replied that she likes having an impact on the water quality of Minneapolis, and working with Master Gardeners and Landscape Designers. Well, Metro Blooms is very appreciative of this impact Barb is making, and the constant and vital support of volunteers like her. We’ll be ‘spotlighting’ another volunteer soon. In the meantime, please give us your feedback on “Volunteer Spotlight” by posting a comment on our facebook or twitter pages, or e-mailing Aida at firstname.lastname@example.org.