Linda Langelo, CSU Extension Horticulture Agent in the Golden Plains Area, recently received the Lois Woodward Paul Memorial Award for outstanding horticulture achievements. The Award is given by the Professional Gardener Program, an organization started by Pierre DuPont, the founder and creator of Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania. Program alumni vote to determine the award winner.
“I am stunned,” said Langelo. “It is a great honor being chosen by your peers. I could not have gotten to where I am now without the help and assistance of so many people in the horticulture field helping make the projects and programs I am involved in a success.”
The award was announced last month, but Linda’s career has spanned decades, beginning at the Longwood Gardens over 30 years ago. After college, Linda completed the Longwood Gardens’ two-year horticulture certificate program. Linda credits the program with launching her career in horticulture. Linda worked at Longwood Gardens for 6 years.
Horticulture education for adults with cognitive and physical disabilities
Patti Tingle, the former Executive Director of the Bay Area Center for Independent Living (formerly the Holly Center), nominated Linda for the award. The Center promotes access to community resources and support for people with disabilities and their families by offering choices, preserving dignity, and increasing independence for an improved quality of life. Linda volunteered with the organization early in her career.
“Known to me for over 30 years, Linda Langelo is an exceptional example of someone who has devoted their life interest and career to making the field of horticulture accessible to others,” said Tingle. “I first became acquainted with Linda when she volunteered her time to educate youth and adults with physical disabilities and cognitive delays in gaining hands-on experience and understanding of the world of plants and their care.”
Linda has continued working to make horticulture and gardening accessible to all. In her current role as an Extension horticulture agent in Burlington, CO, Linda has partnered with Dynamic Dimensions, an organization that provides job placement, training and general support for individuals with disabilities, and the Burlington Community Gardens to establish a Special Needs Garden.
“The purpose is to improve food security for those with special needs,” said Langelo.
In addition to offsetting food insecurity among a vulnerable population in a rural community, the garden provides educational opportunities and occupational therapy for residents with disabilities.
Linda’s horticulture work is not limited to those with special needs, however. She also supports the CSU Extension Grow & Give program, manages the “Garden the Plains” website and Facebook page with assistance from Colorado Master Gardeners, and actively contributes through personal guidance and support for those facing horticultural challenges via email. She also authors a garden column, The Relentless Gardener, in local newspaper the Holyoke Enterprise, and is nearing the completion of her first book on the many mysteries of plants.