Margaret Pickoff has a long way to travel this month.
The Community Garden Leadership Apprentice, one of three joining our community for spring and summer 2015, will be coming from Maine by mid-March as the gardening season gets underway. She’ll spend the growing season here on the Chinook land—living in Mushroom cabin, learning under the guidance of Cary Peterson and Abigail Lazarowski, and helping with garden tending and community engagement work. She’ll learn and serve in several local gardens—ours, as well as those at Good Cheer and South Whidbey School District—with a special focus on Westgarden stewardship.
Margaret’s family lives in New Jersey, but she’s been in Maine for five years. She studied Geology, with a focus on Environmental Science and Geosciences, at Bates College in Lewiston. She graduated in 2013 after an academic career which included some compelling outdoor experiences. “I fell in love with Maine,” she said. “In addition to learning how to be a scientist, I saw some amazing places and incredible natural features.”
While falling in love with Maine’s geology during college, Margaret also developed skills in farming and gardening each summer between 2009 and the present. “My first position was on a farm in New Jersey after my freshman year,” she said. “Every summer since then, I’ve participated in some kind of farming activity, whether as an employee, an intern, or a regular volunteer.” Margaret said she’s always been drawn to working with plants and landscapes and that farming is deeply ingrained in the history of Maine. “There are still many young famers around,” she said, “so it’s been an inspiring place to be situated for the last few years.”
Coming west is somewhat new for Margaret, who’s visited California but never Washington State. “I was looking for something a little different—this seems like a way to start fresh while building on my existing skills and interests.” In addition to anticipating an inspiring learning environment offered by South Whidbey’s farming community, Margaret is excited by the way the arts feature in our local culture. As a violinist amd fiddler, she was happy to learn that South Whidbey has a musical community.
We can’t wait to meet Margaret when she arrives mid-month! If you’d like to meet her, please join us for our March 26 Westgarden Work Party from 9 to 1, with a simple lunch at noon.