Kerrie Badertscher, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension horticulture agent, was recognized Sept. 26 with an award honoring her work with diverse audiences through the Adaptive Garden Project in Boulder, which provides an accessible garden to people with disabilities.
The Diversity Award is given each year by Colorado State Cooperative Extension to one of its programs that shows an exceptional commitment to reaching diverse audiences.
The program provides a handicap-accessible garden to Boulder residents through collaboration with the Center for People with Disabilities and Growing Gardens of Boulder County. The garden includes an outdoor food preparation area, vegetable beds, a gazebo and water feature, fruit crops, wildlife-friendly landscaping, an herb garden, a cut flower garden and Braille features. The project documented increased physical activity and cognitive, social and psychological benefits for participants through horticultural therapy.
"The adaptive garden provides participants from all cultural, economic, racial and physical barrier backgrounds with an opportunity to meet others, share ideas and solve problems together," said Milan Rewerts, Colorado State Cooperative Extension director. "The participants gain skills that better enable them to live independently."
In addition, the program increased the understanding of ADA requirements among all of Green Industry companies who partnered with the project.
The gardening project has been recognized with awards from the Colorado Nursery Association, Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado and the Green Industries of Colorado.
Badertscher’s work with the Boulder County Master Gardener’s program is also recognized for diversity. She offers night courses in Spanish to volunteers in the program, translates Cooperative Extension Fact Sheets and works with the Boulder County Jail gardening program, increasing their produce production from 1 ton in 1998 to 7 tons in 2001. Her commitment to diversity is further illustrated in her work with community gardens in low-income housing areas throughout the county as well as the Boulder County AIDS project Demonstration Garden.