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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Master Gardener Coordinator, Heritage Gardens Teach Ohio's History

August 22, 2007

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State University Extension's statewide Master Gardener volunteer coordinator has been appointed president of the Friends of the Ohio Governor's Residence and Heritage Garden.

Pam Bennett, OSU Extension horticulturist for Clark County, will be working with First Lady Frances Strickland to educate visitors about the Ohio Governor's Residence and Heritage Garden and preserve its historical significance. The Ohio Governor's Residence and Heritage Garden, located in Columbus, Ohio, houses artifacts and plants that represent the horticultural, geological, artistic, industrial and political history of Ohio. The Friends of the Ohio Governor's Residence and Heritage Garden is a newly established non-profit organization, formed last year to support the residence and the gardens.

"I am really excited about being in a leadership role for this effort. I have worked for the last two years with Mrs. (Hope) Taft on the gardens -- coordinating Master Gardener volunteers efforts as ambassadors to spread the word about the garden, to help guide the design of the Agriculture Garden (which depicts Ohio's agricultural history), and to organize Master Gardener volunteers to help plant and volunteer at the garden," said Bennett. "Every time I visit the residence and the garden, I learn something new. It's this educational effort and the fact that it is tied to all of Ohio that inspires me to continue working on this project."

During the two-year term, Bennett will oversee strategic planning, the organization's vision, and the preparation and implementation of the budget; strengthen committees; assist with donor identification and fundraising, grant writing, and speaking engagements; cultivate volunteers and meetings; develop and implement policy; and perform media relations duties.

Bennett was elected to the role during the board's annual meeting on July 20. She holds a bachelor of science degree in landscape horticulture and a Master of Science degree in human and community resource development from Ohio State University.

In addition to filling the role of statewide Master Gardener volunteer coordinator, Bennett conducts consumer and commercial horticulture programs and coordinates the Ohio State University Nursery Short Course, held annually in conjunction with the Central Environmental Nursery Trade Show. Bennett specializes in herbaceous ornamental plant trials and evaluates more than 200 varieties of annuals each year. Prior to joining OSU Extension in 1992, she served in management roles in the green industry for 11 years.

The Ohio Governor's Residence and Heritage Garden has been home to the state's governors and their families since 1955. The grounds showcase Ohio's five geographical regions, enhance the Jacobean revival architecture of the home and highlight Ohio botanists and hybridizers. For more information on the Ohio Governor's Residence and Heritage Garden, log on to

Candace Pollock
Pam Bennett