By Nancy Mills, Bexar County Master Gardener
Maria Salvatierra was interested in agriculture in her early years; however, it was a presentation by a Bexar County Master Gardener that led her to follow her passion for gardening. She applied for the 25th intern class, was accepted, and has been an avid BCMG volunteer ever since.
Maria’s volunteer involvement has been diverse over the past years. This has included serving on the BCMG Board; as the coordinator for BCMG apparel orders and sales; as the team lead of MGs who planted and maintained the flower beds at the Hemisfair entrance; and as a helper at the Rose beds at the Convention Center. You could find her assisting with the various fruit/and vegetable trials at Verstuyft Farms in Van Ormy, as well as at the Food Bank. She was on the first Greenies Urban Farm team. In addition, she has served as a speaker on the Speakers Bureau and currently works with students at the Phil Hardberger Children’s Garden.
This past year Maria volunteered to take over the team lead for the Cashiers’ Team, training and coordinating the cashiers to help at such events as the Rodeo. According to Liana Benavides, the BCMG Board president, “Maria was more than willing to take over lead of the team. Her expertise was utilized during Rodeo this year. She is a model team leader.”
Maria acknowledges that her husband of 56 years, Henry, has been her support throughout, helping in any way possible. This included driving the Rodeo van for many years. Henry and Maria also enjoy traveling, especially to see their two sons and families, and will proudly boast about their six grandchildren. Maria and Henry can also be found at the monthly Milongas (formal tango dances) in San Antonio. They volunteer for church community projects, and as she states, “We believe serving the community is a wonderful way to keep us energized and to give back what we have received over the years.”
The Master Gardeners is another way that Maria has found to give back to the community. Although there have been many changes over the years, the camaraderie, and the gardening knowledge she has received have been a steadfast part of her life. “Even after many years of volunteering, I am still learning,” Maria says.
During her time as an intern, she was disillusioned to lose plants. Another wise and knowledgeable Master Gardener told her, “You are not a REAL Master Gardener until you have killed at least 200 plants.” Maria says she is still working on it!
We think she is truly a Real Master Gardener and deserves to be our MG of the Spring 2023.