Long Beach Island — The Garden Club of Long Beach Island recently received national and state awards for its work in renovating and maintaining local gardens, wildflower preservation, and environmental and youth projects. The awards were presented at the club’s annual luncheon, recently held at Sea Oaks Country Club, along with the installation of the new president for 2019-20, Diane Barbieri of Surf City.
On the national level, the club won the May Duff Walters Achievement Award, first place, for preservation of the beauty at the Edith Duff Gwinn Gardens in Barnegat Light. Its work with the Edith Duff Gwinn Gardens also earned two more, from the Wyckoff Garden Club Trophy and the Garden Club of Mountain Lakes.
The club won the Hanover Garden Club Trophy for a successful innovative project of merit for the club’s intergenerational program.
The Ruth B. Somerville Silver Trophy was presented to the group for its “A Plastic Ocean” documentary screenings, held several times last year.
The club sponsored students in the National Garden Club Poetry and Essay Contests again this year. The students took first place in poetry in grades two through six and first place at the national level for grades 10 and 11 in the essay contest.
“The theme is protecting the environment, and the program gives students a chance to showcase their writing skills,” said Nancy Kunz, the garden club’s poetry/essay contest chairwoman.
Pam Masturzo was the winner of the President’s Cup, the highest honor a member can receive.
“She received it for her nine years of time and talent given to the club,” said outgoing president Teresa Hagan. “Ms. Masturzo has headed the tour of the gardens, the horticultural committee, the greens workshop and, most importantly, her monthly seminars, ‘Let’s Talk Gardening,’ in which she encourages and advises the garden club members to be the best gardeners they can be.”
In giving her last garden club speech at the luncheon, Hagan said, “This has been a wonderful year. We have added a second youth group, launched an initiative to fund major environmental projects, and presented our biggest project – six local showings of ‘A Plastic Ocean,’ the film that details damage to ocean and sea life from plastics, that won us a state award. In fact, the Garden Club of LBI won more awards than any garden club in New Jersey! I’d say it has been a really successful year.”
In accepting the presidency, Barbieri said, “After 61 years, the Garden Club of LBI continues to be a driving force behind environmental work on and around our island. Our programs impact so many people’s lives, including scholarships to students, Island garden restorations and work with seniors and youth. Our major fundraiser, the Holiday Tour of Homes, generates the monies for these initiatives and will be held this year on Thursday, Dec. 12. My goal is to continue this momentum, with our membership now nearly 200.”
— Eric Englund