Barb Rider is one of our many dedicated Master Composter Recycler volunteers, winning the 2016 MCR of the Year award! Last year she volunteered over 120 hours of her time to managing the compost demonstration site and spreading her wide breadth of knowledge of composting and recycling. She has been an MCR volunteer since 2010 and leads many composting work parties and workshops, always bringing along her signature lemonade and brownies.In addition to her amazing work with the MCR program, she is involved with other local programs as well!Learn more about Barb below:
Q: How long have you been the lead at the Composting Demonstration Site at CASEE?
Barb: Well, when I first graduated (2010) I saw the compost demo site at the Wildlife Botanical Gardens and I said to myself, THIS IS IT!The other MCR activities were fun - tabling, the fairs, teaching classes - but this demo site was my favorite - hands on, actually making compost and teaching people by DOING - plus I would be working with GARDENERS in 9 other gardens, too! Joy!
Q: You were the MCR of the Year (most volunteer hours), what motivates you to be an MCR Volunteer?
Barb: Well, I look around and see so many people younger than me who have never gardened or even planted a seed, and often, their parents didn't garden either and it makes me so sad because it is so simple and gives so much back. I was so lucky to grow up next to my grandparents, who were both born in the 1880's who taught me how to plant, tend and harvest my first plants when I was a child. My parents were children of the 1930's depression and they were big on growing, harvesting and keeping food from your own garden and taught me so many helpful skills - gardening, harvesting various crops, preserving and canning, and all the other tools you learn when you a hundred miles from the nearest sizable town and depended upon your own knowledge and cleverness at devising solutions.MCR is just an extension of all those things my parents and grandparents taught me, backed with the science to explain why it makes sense to re-use, repurpose and recycle. It is a natural connection and I want to help others with that same knowledge and power - you can do a lot on the cheap and it works, too!
Q: You volunteer for Naturescapers, Camas/Washougal Garden Club and MCR. How do you stay engaged and so active?
Barb: I love gardening, biology and nature. Even as a child, I would spend hours watching insects and animals, studying and drawing them every chance I had. I was the kid that didn't groan when a nature program came on and was so sorry my high school didn't offer Biology 3 and 4! My parents were amused that I traded chores with my brother - he did the dishes and I mowed the lawn and managed the family garden - we were both happier that way. Throughout my life and many moves I've left so many gardens and plants behind everywhere I've lived. (The house we lived in Austin, Texas has 3 HUGE trees in its yards today that my husband and I planted 37 years ago - besides providing lovely shade for that home, is now valued $40,000 more than every other house on that street! Nature affects economics, but even then, we consulted with our Native Texan neighbors on "what is a good tree for Austin?" before we planted anything!) So, when I retired, I could finally dedicate myself to gardening, biology and nature. It is easy to do the things you love!