Nancy, tell me a little about yourself, your background and how you came to work with Alta Vista Botanical Gardens.
I was born in San Diego and raised in Lemon Grove, attended UCSB (with a year in Germany) and earned my teaching credential at SDSU. I finished my MA in Special Education in 1979. Don and I have been married since 1974; our two sons grew up in North County and have graduated from UCSD and UCLA respectively. After 28 years in the classroom, I retired from teaching elementary school in Vista Unified in 2006. I was asked to come to AVBG to help start their Children’s Garden in 2008, I joined the AVBG Board, and “Farmer Jones” ended up as Chairman of the Committee. We ran a contest to name the Children’s Garden and chose “Bugs, Birds, and Butterflies.” In addition to the existing small Earth Day Festival, we added the Fall Fun Festival in 2009 and are celebrating our TENTH FFF on October 20 this year. It’s a great experience – creating scarecrows, bobbing for apples, decorating punkins, making crafts, and enjoying the ambience of the Gardens. Vendors, food, and a plant sale are all part of the Fall Fun Festival experience. Many student and adult volunteers – and our dedicated Board members – make it a super day!
About how many kids do you filter through your program each year and what brings you the biggest joy working with kids and in the gardens?
After our first FFF in 2009, we started monthly Kids in the Garden classes and still offer them on the second Saturday of the month from 10 am to noon for a low $5 fee; these classes are free for family members. The schedule is listed on the AVBG website altavistabotanicalgardens.org . We also offer field trips for students in local elementary and middle schools, as well as homeschool groups. We have served 4000 kids in ten years of Kids in the Garden and field trips. My greatest joy is seeing kids relax, open up, hike to the bottom of the hill and back up, and make discoveries out in nature.
What are your hopes for the future with your program?
I hope that kids and their parents will become more familiar and comfortable in the outdoors, and appreciate the beauty and tranquility of nature. There’s a BIG beautiful world out there and experiencing it first-hand is a million times better than on an electronic device! We will continue to offer outdoor experiences and hope to expand programs as more teachers and families discover the Hidden Gem that is Alta Vista Botanical Gardens!
I see you also work with The Woman's Club of Vista. What does that program do in the community and how can someone become involved if they wish?
Membership in The Woman’s Club of Vista GFWC is open to all – women and men! I served as President from 2013-2017 and currently serve as Treasurer. Our Club is 102 years old and we’re growing with active members who are ready to volunteer! We work on projects with organizations in the community (such as AVBG, Operation HOPE-Vista, Women’s Resource Center, Gently Hugged, Rancho Buena Vista Adobe, Alabaster Jar, and many others), and we donate supplies and food. We celebrate our Donation Day every May when we donate to organizations suggested and supported by our members. In June we award scholarships to students graduating from six Vista schools. Our busy Club has won awards for our projects from our international Federation. The Club’s website is womansclubofvista.org . Contact information is in the newsletter which is posted on the website. All are welcome to visit and join!
What city do you reside in, and what do you love about it?
We have lived in rural Vista since 1987, and we love the open spaces and parks for hiking and nature experiences. I love the people I am privileged to work with – curious kids, caring parents, and devoted volunteers. It’s small-town Vista every day, with many opportunities to grow and serve – which is how I fill my days.
The City of Vista’s Wave Waterpark will open for the season in May. It is open daily through the end of September. Hours vary and are available on the Wave’s website or by phone. Admission is $20.95 for visitors 42” and taller, $16.95 for under 42”, seniors age 60 and over are $13.95, Happy Hour for all heights and ages is available the last two hours the park is open for $9.95, ages two and under are free, military with I.D. is $13.95. Season passes are available for $74 per person, or $69 per person for a family of four.For more information, visit thewavewaterpark.com, or call (760) 940-9283.
More on THE WAVE WATERPARK
The Wave Waterpark is the City of Vista’s popular summertime attraction featuring a slide tower, flow rider, rip tide slide, floating river, competition pool, and spray park. Open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Wave also offers camps, swim lessons, junior lifeguard program, scout programs, CPR and water polo classes, and group and birthday programs. During non-season, the Wave is open for lap swimming and rentals. The Wave is recognized for its extensive safety training programs and safety records. The Wave is a Five Star recognized facility by Star Guard Elite, an industry organization providing comprehensive lifeguard training programs for the waterpark industry.
Boy did I have a fun afternoon on my first ever walking food tour! I recently went on the maiden voyage of Carla and Linda's Walking Food Tours NEW Vista tour with a group of wonderful food-loving people. We started our tour at Starbucks in the village where we all assembled and introduced ourselves. Our first stop was Belching Beaver Brewery Tavern & Grill, where after a brief walk we enjoyed crispy plantains topped with pit-roasted mojo pork and dressed with cilantro, citrus sauce and me so honey cream. Next visit was Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen for house-made pasta with veggies, sausage, micro greens and a carrot reduction sauce. Next we looped around to When Pigs Fly BBQ for a smoked rib with slaw. We finished our tour by walking back to Little Cakes Cupcake Kitchen to indulge in our choice of cupcake. I selected chocolate peanut butter and it was divine.
All along the tour we were blessed to be able to chat with the chefs and owners/operators and find out more about them, their food and restaurants. While on the walking portion of the tour Linda told us great little facts about different pieces of art and businesses along the way. One of the fun things about these tours is that ahead of time we have no idea what we will be served. We just show up and enjoy!
***Update: Since I originally wrote this, I have also been on two additional Oceanside tours and they were both fantastic as well as was the Vista tour. I highly recommend this experience. The concept, restaurants and tour guides are all tops. I definitely plan to do this again and again in the future. Find out more at www.shoesandchews.com. Use code Barb to save $10 on each ticket you purchase.