Stevensville wo­man to lead state Fed­er­ated Garden Clubs chap­ter

Record Observer - - COMMUNITY -

STEVENSVILLE — Diana Bon­ner of Stevensville was in­stalled as pres­i­dent of the Fed­er­ated Garden Clubs of Mary­land on Tues­day, March 28, at the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s 88th an­nual meet­ing in El­li­cott City. Fed­er­ated Garden Clubs of Md. is a mem­ber of Na­tional Garden Clubs Inc., the largest vol­un­teer gar­den­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion in the world.

Bon­ner is a 23-year mem­ber of the Kent Is­land Garden Club, hav­ing joined in 1994.

“Mov­ing from San Fran­sico, I did not have a green thumb,” she said. A neigh­bor, Lorraine Hulse, in­vited her to join the club as a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. “I en­joyed it right away. … I loved work­ing on projects in the com­mu­nity.”

Hulse used to joke, “I’ve cre­ated a mon­ster” by in­tro­duc­ing her to gar­den­ing, Bon­ner said.

Her gar­den­ing projects pro­vided a nice re­lease for Bon­ner in her re­tire­ment, af­ter hav­ing worked for Gen­eral Mo­tors for 31 years, she said.

“You can al­ways tell a club mem­ber’s yard,” Bon­ner said with a laugh. “It’s usu­ally the worst in the com­mu­nity” be­cause we’re so busy with other projects.

She doesn’t have a fa­vorite plant or flower; what she likes best changes with the sea­son. Be­sides, “they may be lis­ten­ing to me,” she said.

Bon­ner also is a mem­ber of the Kent Is­land Her­itage So­ci­ety and said she loves do­ing work at the Kir­wan House.

Bon­ner served as first and sec­ond vice pres­i­dent of the statewide or­ga­ni­za­tion be­fore ris­ing to the pres­i­dent’s po­si­tion. She has also served as Di­rec­tor of District I, which is com­prised of all the fed­er­ated garden clubs on the Eastern Shore. As a mem­ber of Kent Is­land Garden Club, she served as pres­i­dent for the 1999-2001 term and held other of­fi­cer po­si­tions dur­ing her time with the club.

She re­ferred to KI Garden Club as “the little club that could.”

There were more than 360 peo­ple in at­ten­dance at the re­cent an­nual meet­ing and of­fi­cer in­stal­la­tion. Kent Is­land club mem­bers did the five, huge ar­range­ments for the head ta­ble, all with a Mary­land color theme, yel­low and red with Black Eyed Su­sans, Bon­ner said. The other 11 fed­er­ated garden clubs on the Eastern Shore pro­vided 45 cen­ter­pieces.

Bon­ner is a mas­ter flower show judge, a mas­ter land­scape de­sign con­sul­tant, en­vi­ron­men­tal con­sul­tant and gar­den­ing study con­sul­tant. Those are the four schools the na­tional club of­fers, and Bon­ner rec­om­mends them all.

The Na­tional Garden Clubs pres­i­dent’s theme for the next year is “Plant Amer­ica,” Bon­ner said, and she has asked all the state clubs to in­cor­po­rate the plant­ing theme.

“My Theme is ‘Plant­ing Mary­land from the Moun­tains to the Ocean,” Bon­ner said.

Fed­er­ated Garden Clubs of Md. in­cludes 94 mem­ber clubs with more than 3,500 mem­bers. Garden Club mem­bers are pro­vided ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties through flower shows, land­scape de­sign work­shops, and garden and en­vi­ron­men­tal stud­ies.

For out­reach ac­tiv­i­ties, mem­bers con­duct youth gar­den­ing and garden ther­apy ac­tiv­i­ties, es­tab­lish or ren­o­vate Blue Star Memo­rial High­way and By-Way Markers to honor those who serve or have served in the U.S. armed ser­vices. Mem­bers also work in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the State High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion to plant trees along high­ways.

Part of the group’s agenda is to pro­vide schol­ar­ships and grants to stu­dents pur­su­ing ca­reers in en­vi­ron­men­tal fields. As her project for her 2017-2019 term, Bon­ner has se­lected NorthBay En­vi­ron­men­tal Camp, an en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion and char­ac­ter devel­op­ment pro­gram for mid­dle school­ers.

NorthBay, in Ce­cil County, pro­vides res­i­den­tial and in-school en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion and char­ac­ter devel­op­ment pro­grams to more than 15,000 pub­lic mid­dle stu­dents each year. The camp’s mis­sion is to chal­lenge mid­dle school stu­dents to re­al­ize that their at­ti­tudes and ac­tions have a last­ing im­pact on their fu­ture, the en­vi­ron­ment and the peo­ple around them.

Bon­ner has first­hand ex­pe­ri­ence with NorthBay, hav­ing at­tended twice as a chap­er­one with her grand­chil­dren’s sixth-grade classes.

Kent Is­land Garden Club has re­cently es­tab­lished a schol­ar­ship fund for Mat­a­peake and Stevensville mid­dle schools stu­dents who may need fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to at­tend NorthBay.

For more information about Kent Is­land Garden Club, con­tact Rona Warner, mem­ber­ship chair­man, 410643-0955.

Diana Bon­ner of Stevensville is the new pres­i­dent for the Fed­er­ated Garden Clubs of Mary­land.

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