Phil Hardberger Park’s first Junior Master Gardeners

Former San Antonio Mayor and park namesake, Phil Hardberger (second from left) presented the Junior Master Gardener certificates to Joshua Brucks, Arwen Bailey, and Hannah Smith on Tuesday, September 24. They are the first Children’s Vegetable Gardeners in the park to earn this certification.

Former San Antonio Mayor and park namesake, Phil Hardberger (second from left) presented the Junior Master Gardener certificates to Joshua Brucks, Arwen Bailey, and Hannah Smith on Tuesday, September 24. They are the first Children’s Vegetable Gardeners in the park to earn this certification.

Phil Hardberger Park’s Children’s Vegetable Garden (CVG) celebrated a milestone on Tuesday, Sept. 24, as three of its young gardeners were awarded their Junior Master Gardener Certificates — a first for the park’s garden.  

Park namesake and former San Antonio mayor, Phil Hardberger, presented the students with their certificates in front of 35 of their fellow youth gardeners and families. Arwen Bailey, Joshua Brucks, and Hannah Smith completed the Junior Master Gardener Certification over the last three gardening cycles, about a year and a half worth of work.  

Bexar County Master Gardener and CVG lesson leader, Carol White, called the program the “Eagle Scouts” of gardening.  White announced that, “these three students have completed over 100 assignments concerning all areas of gardening: not just planting, but lessons about soil, water, ecology, insects, landscape horticulture, fruits and nuts, vegetables and herbs, nutrition, plants as food and medicine, even some cooking, all life skills that they will use the rest of their lives.”  

The three gardeners have participated in the CVG at Phil Hardberger Park since its beginning in Spring 2016. White added that the students have done far more than the 100 assignments required for the Junior Master Gardener Certification.  

Hardberger shared that he grew up on a farm and values what these children have done to achieve the certification. “It’s great to see these kids involved in gardening and learning about nature,” Hardberger told Paul Schattenberg, of Texas A&M AgriLife Communications. “There’s nothing like kids getting this kind of hands-on learning experience in the outdoors.”