Volunteer Profile: Cathy Chiba

About Cathy

“What I like so much about the Garden,” says Cathy Chiba, a School Programs volunteer since 2014, “is that, even though it is a designed environment, it is still a garden! We’re outdoors, dealing with living things. And,” she adds, “it’s a great reminder for kids that nature is everywhere.”

With that, she flourishes the patch of moss that she bought to our café rendezvous as a kind of show-and-tell. This bright energy is only part of her approach to her role. Scientific librarian, contract researcher, one-time World of Science demonstrator and certified Master Gardener — Cathy has the background and attitude to share knowledge and encourage curiosity.

“The kids are awesome,” she says, “and so are the people who design and run the Program.” People like Jonette, whose quiet voice creates magic for the youngsters; like Chantal Martin in Education, who works on special-needs programming; like Devon Deckant, Field Trip Coordinator.

“Devon’s view — mine too — is that it doesn’t matter whether the kids can spell photosynthesis or remember what it means. What matters is that they’re building a library of observations and experiences, and developing the habit of looking a little closer at the natural world around them.”

Written by Penny Williams, Volunteer Writer