Medfield resident Betty Sanders was honored in Washington, D.C. on May 27 as ‘Volunteer of the Year’ by National Garden Clubs at its annual convention. The organization is the parent body of 6,200 garden clubs around the country.
The award is given each year for volunteer work both inside and outside the garden club world. Sanders, who is a past president of the Medfield Garden Club, was cited as ‘the consummate volunteer’ whose work encompasses both horticulture and broader social needs.
In Medfield, she is well known for having run a program to get residents to compost kitchen and yard waste, and more than 600 Medfield residents have made the trek to her driveway on Wild Holly Lane to pick up the black bins.
For the Medfield Conservation Commission, Sanders co-chairs the Community Gardens Committee and has worked to make the garden more accessible to town residents. She has given talks to Medfield Green on composting and on principles of gardening for the Conservation Commission and Medfield Garden Club. She is also on the board of the Medfield Food Cupboard and, for eight year, has headed the group that shelves food donations.
Beyond Medfield, Sanders is a Lifetime Master Gardener, helped found the Massachusetts Master Gardener Association, and served as the organization’s first vice president. She has designed and built the Master Gardener exhibit at the New England spring Flower Show and Boston Flower & Garden Show since 2006.
At the Massachusetts Horticultural Society where she is a volunteer, Sanders’ most recent contribution was to be one of three designers of the Society’s new 6,000-square-foot vegetable garden, which is now growing crops for both a ‘chef’s garden’ and for three area food pantries. She also contributes a monthly ‘Horticultural Hints’ column to the Society’s monthly newsletter and designed and overseen the building of the Society’s show gardens at the last two Boston Flower & Garden Shows.
Sanders is also active in the state garden club federation. She has been a ‘district director’ overseeing 24 suburban Boston clubs. In 2007, she redesigned and ran the Federation’s statewide garden tour, successfully pairing it with small-group ‘learning tours.’ On June 2, she was sworn in as the Second Vice President of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts.