Maria received the Honorary State FFA Degree, the organization’s highest honorary award. The degree recognizes individuals who have greatly contributed to the advancement of agricultural education and provided outstanding service to the FFA program.
Mainscape is privileged to have Maria on our team. We are incredibly proud of her influence and volunteerism, both within our organization and in our community at-large. After learning of this honor, Maria said, “I was totally shocked. I had no clue that this would ever happen. When you volunteer, you do it because you want to — and because you love to do it.” She says she didn’t volunteer for recognition but admits this part is “pretty amazing.” “It is great to see FFA’s youth members have fun learning about horticulture,” she says.
Maria’s passion for training stems from her love of horticulture, education and 35 years of industry experience. Originally from England, she was always outdoors, with activities centered around horses. Upon arriving in Naples, Florida, Maria was unable to fulfill her equestrian passion, so she found a job in a nursery and soon fell in love with Florida’s landscape. Her passion stems from working in nearly every aspect of landscape maintenance, experience which helps her connect with students and team members. “What I teach, I’ve done,” she says. “If I can help somebody overcome some of the same issues I had, then this makes my day.”
Maria has undoubtedly influenced thousands of green industry employees, students and community members. She has an incredible resume, multiple certifications and now an honorary degree. But these are not what defines her. “I just want to help people love it as much as I do, and feel confident about what they do,” she says. “Having confidence just puts us over the edge.”
Mainscape is proud to have such a warm, genuine teammate who works so diligently to cultivate excellence in our industry. Congratulations, Maria!