For Mother’s Day, consider giving mom an outdoor experience

Are you thinking about a gift for Mother’s Day? Does she like nature or gardening? What about healthy lifestyles? Why not consider a unique experience gift this year?

Through the expansion, the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) offers a wide range of programs, including demonstration gardens, workshops to improve your green thumb, nutrition classes, Florida Master Naturalist Program (FMNP) and much more. Experiences not only provide an opportunity to have fun and learn, but also a way to make memories and make friends.

Master Gardeners teach and learn at the Alachua County Extension Office, teaching demonstration gardens.  Consider sharing an outdoor experience for Mother’s Day.

If she loves the outdoors, Mom may want to learn about Florida’s many trails, fishing opportunities, butterflies, birds and more. Explore area parks and nature trails together.

“This Mother’s Day, consider treating yourself or someone you love to a Florida Master Naturalist Program course,” said Marty Main, professor of wildlife ecology and conservation and director of the program. “FMNP offers 11 courses that provide opportunities to learn about and reconnect with Florida’s natural world with like-minded adults.”

A mother and her two daughters pick blueberries on a pick-your-own farm.  Blueberries ripen on North Florida farms.

So whether your primary interest is enjoying nature or learning and sharing information about our natural world with your grandchildren or children, FMNP has a lot to offer, Main said.

But don’t just take Main’s word for it. See what others have to say.

“It’s the best thing I’ve ever done,” said Ellen Elliotuote, an FMNP volunteer. I learned so much, met so many wonderful people, and found meaningful ways to get involved.

If mom likes gardening, she might want to attend a workshop or two. She might even be interested in training to become a Master Gardener Volunteer (MGV). Such programs teach laypeople to become certified volunteers.

The Master Naturalist program is one of the fastest growing Extension programs in Florida.  Volunteers trained in this and other Extension programs provide thousands of hours of valuable assistance each year.

Mother’s Day and flowers go hand in hand,” said Wendy Wilber, statewide coordinator of the Florida Master Gardener Volunteer Program. “If moms would like to learn more about the care and maintenance of their flowering plants, they can contact volunteer Master Gardeners at their county Extension office. MGVs can share information and troubleshoot problems at any plant under the Florida sun.