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The Becker Green Classroom would not be possible without our volunteers. They teach the garden classes, water the gardens, plan events, maintain the house and sheds, sit on the steering committee and board, market our program, plan garden lessons, fundraise, write grants …

To help spotlight all the things volunteers help with we are starting a regular blog post focusing on the volunteer experience. Our first entry is written by Mary Folse, a parent volunteer that had no previous garden experience when she signed up last year.

704E509B-FFA1-4F51-83B1-F28ACA334695Photo courtesy of Mrs. Ross, Becker Pre-K teacher.

I have an undefeated body count on house plants; who are you people who can keep a Peace Lily alive? I hate bugs, spiders, snakes, and mosquitos eat me whole. I hate camping. I wear heels in Austin (rebel life) and I like to keep my nails painted.

So, when I offered to help at Becker, I was not expecting to be asked to lead a green garden class for sixteen 4-5 year olds. I panicked as all the thoughts ran through my mind: what do I do with them, my succulents even die, I have a 1 year old baby that I work from home with, what have I gotten myself into.

On my first day, I set the alarm off in the classroom. Surely an omen that the garden was alerting the plants of their impending end. It was a rough day. I wasn’t sure what to do with the kids. So, they were running around picking flowers, trying to touch the pond, playing with the shovels, basically everything you aren’t supposed to do. Plus, I had a twenty-five pound baby strapped to my stomach. I felt overwhelmed, but, I am not a quitter! That first day ignited my determination to conquer my green thumb. I resolved to learn with the students as opposed to teaching them.

With a different outlook, I volunteered for another class with a seasoned green garden teacher. She taught me a lot! Additionally, I would run down other green garden volunteers in the school halls, or by car, whichever was easiest, asking questions, for lesson plans, or ideas. In this journey everyone was extremely gracious and helpful. I was able to gain great relationships with the volunteers in green garden, and the children and parents at Becker.

I am the most proud of my green garden class, pre-K Gonzalez , who braved through with me as we learned so much this year. We successfully grew strawberries, kale, lettuce, carrots (sure we accidentally pulled some thinking they were weeds), brussels sprouts, tomatoes, and beautiful flowers. We learned about the life cycle of butterflies, rain, and trees. We made bird feeders, pictures, flower mosaics, and peanut games. The kids loved the baby and I often allowed them to touch her little feet as a reward for good behavior. It was a welcomed responsibility and I grew to love our time in nature, even though, I still can’t keep a Peace Lily alive.

Mary Folse

If you would like to volunteer at the Becker Green Classroom you can attend an Open House, this Saturday, July 27, 2019 from 10:00 – 12:00, or contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Kathy McWhorter, at

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