Pat Pape

The Denton County Master Gardener Associations' exclusive Science With Attitude (SWAt) Educational Outreach program has received a special award from Search for Excellence, a program that recognizes Master Gardeners' outstanding volunteer work throughout the United State, Canada and South Korea.

“I’m delighted that the work of Denton County Master Gardeners is being recognized internationally,” said Janet Laminack, Denton County horticulturist. “Ours is a passionate, dedicated, talented group of people. SWAt works to educate children and teachers so that the next generation will understand their natural world and where food comes from. Research shows that knowledge makes individuals better stewards of the environment and helps them make healthier choices in their diets.”

The fledgling program began in 2009 when the Denton Master Gardeners, Elm Fork Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists and the 4-H program partnered with Denton County School districts to offer a summer teacher training program based on the Junior Master Gardener curriculum. Each year, additional course material was added, and in 2013, participating teachers requested an outreach program to ensure year-round student education in horticulture, the impact of humans on the environment and other nature topics.

In 2014, the SWAt program established an educational outreach program for research-based gardening and environmental education through guided observation and demonstrations for schools and other youth groups. The SWAt educational outreach program was formally launched in 2015, offering 17 topics that teachers identified during their SWAt training.

Any educator in Denton County may request a SWAt presentation by registering and selecting a topic from the menu available at Available topics include vegetable gardening, honeybees, worm composting, wildlife observation and habitats, birds, wildflowers, saving water and understanding human impact on the environmental. Depending on the topic, volunteers from DCMGA, Master Naturalists or 4-H will conduct the presentation.


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