By Bill Sublette
Bev Thierwechter of Crozet has been named Master Gardener of the Year for 2021 by the Piedmont Master Gardeners.
Known locally for her pivotal role in establishing a community garden in Old Trail, the first such garden on Albemarle County parkland, Thierwechter is a past president of the Piedmont Master Gardeners and has spearheaded many of its efforts to advance science-based and environmentally sound horticultural practices in our area.
This past year, for example, she collaborated with the Virginia Cooperative Extension agent in Culpeper County to provide a fully online training class for new Extension Master Gardeners, making it possible for residents of Charlottesville and Albemarle, Culpeper, Greene, Fluvanna, Louisa, Madison and Orange Counties to earn Master Gardener certification during the Covid-19 pandemic. She devoted many volunteer hours to organizing the class and mentoring its participants, earning praise for helping to ensure its success.
Earlier, Thierwechter co-chaired the committee that planned “The Future of Our Landscapes in a Changing Environment,” a public event at the Paramount Theater in September 2019 to celebrate the Piedmont Master Gardeners’ 30th anniversary. The program helped establish the organization as a leading voice for environmental stewardship and sustainable gardening practices in our community.
In addition, Thierwechter has enhanced the Piedmont Master Gardeners’ web and social media presence and launched “Ask a Master Gardener,” an online feature that offers research-based answers to questions that are typical of those that come to Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Horticultural Help Desk. She also has been instrumental in making information on gardening and landscape management more up to date and accessible on PMG’s website, www.piedmontmastergardeners.org.
Thierwechter completed her Master Gardener training in 2005 in Sussex County, Delaware, after retiring from 25 years of service in the federal government on Capitol Hill and in the Office of Management and Budget. She joined the Piedmont Master Gardeners soon after moving to Crozet in 2008.
About Piedmont Master Gardeners: Part of Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener Program, the Piedmont Master Gardeners are volunteer educators who offer outreach and training to promote science-based, environmentally sound horticultural practices and sustainable landscape management in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area. The Piedmont Master Gardeners Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting this work, which brings the resources of Virginia’s land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to the people of our community. Learn more at piedmontmastergardeners.org.
Virginia Cooperative Extension is a partnership of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. Its programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, military status, or any other basis protected by law.