BCMG of the Winter – Jorge Noverola

Jorge’s wife Cookie Noverola, granddaughter Ciarra Valadez and Jorge Noverola (left to right)

Jorge Noverola from BCMG Class 63 is our Master Gardener (MG) of the Winter.  Jorge was born in Belize, British Honduras, and his family came to the United States in November, 1962, after Belize was devastated by Hurricane Hattie.  His family settled in New Orleans, Louisiana, where Jorge attended an all-boys Catholic High School.  While there, he met his wife Cookie on a double date arranged by his niece, and they have been sweethearts ever since.

Jorge spent 22 years in the military and started a legacy of public service that lives on today through selfless volunteering in many aspects of his life.  He first enlisted in the Navy where he was a Seabee.  After his time in the Navy was up, Jorge enlisted in the Air Force and was a Bio-Environmental Engineer while he and Cookie served our country all over the world.  They are especially fond of their time at the base in Spangdahlem, Germany, where they immersed themselves in the German culture and still stay in contact with life-long German friends.  One of the concepts Jorge lives by and shares with his family and others is to learn and experience something new every day.  From his humble beginnings in Belize to New Orleans and now settled in San Antonio, Jorge lives his life in this way.  

Family and the love of family is also a guiding light for Jorge and Cookie.  They have two daughters, Georgina and Elena, and three grandchildren, Ciarra, Jesse, and Olivia.  Jorge’s love of gardening and horticulture started 11 years ago when he was looking for something for Ciarra to get involved in.  A teacher from Ciarra’s school told him about the San Antonio Botanical Garden (SABOT Children’s Vegetable Garden (CVG) program, and ever since then Jorge and his family have been teaching and mentoring children about gardening. 

Jorge became a Bexar County Master Gardener in 2018 after some prodding from Mary Fernandez and John Mayer who lead the SABOT CVG volunteers.  For the last eleven years, Jorge has been a mainstay at the garden, providing the example of the importance of family and community while sharing his knowledge, selfless support, and commitment to everyone in the program.   A shining example of his efforts and his influence guiding youths is his oldest granddaughter, Ciarra.  Jorge introduced her to gardening at the age of seven.  She continued to learn and share information through those years and then became a SABOT CVG team lead.  Ciarra is now a freshman at Saint Edwards College in Austin, taking a full course load and serving as the College’s Assistant Director of Hydroponics while applying the knowledge, willingness to share, and abilities she has learned in an opportunity to teach and help others grow as gardeners.

As a Master Gardener, Jorge has been involved in BCMG/AgriLife Children’s Vegetable Garden programs, tomato trials, Greenies Urban Farm, and many other continuing education events.  He is currently involved in aspects of the BCMG’s program and public outreach.  He is a team lead at the SABOT CVG on Saturdays and assists with Phil Hardberger Park CVG on Tuesdays.  He also is on the watering and bed maintenance teams for both of the CVGs, giving much of his time to ensure the success of both programs and helping to grow children into tomorrow’s leaders.  Always looking for new challenges, Jorge recently participated in the inaugural “Seed to Harvest” class and is the co-lead for the Red, White, and Blue Ask a Master Gardener program, providing support, answering questions, and sharing horticulture resources to our Military Gardening Community. 

Lastly, Jorge is very excited and proud of his family, especially his grandchildren, who are becoming more accomplished at growing vegetables.  He said his next goal was to get his grandchildren to eat more of the vegetables they grow.  Jorge exemplifies what public service is and the positive influence Master Gardeners make in the San Antonio Community.