Extension Educator, Horticulture
Cook County Unit
One Prairie Office Center, Suite 208
4749 Lincoln Mall Drive
Matteson, IL 60443
Nancy Pollard provides programing related to environmentally friendly horticulture, the urban environment and natural resources. Responding to community needs in Cook County, her audiences include municipalities, organizations, schools, nature centers, volunteer Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists, youth leaders, youth and families.
Pollard earned a master's degree in horticulture from Michigan State University where her focus was school gardening programs and adult horticulture education. Pollard holds a bachelor's degree with honors from Cornell University in floriculture and ornamental horticulture. She interned at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square Pennsylvania in conjunction with the University of Delaware. In addition to Illinois, she has worked in the horticulture field in New York, Michigan, Colorado, California, and Georgia giving her a broader perspective. She is an active member of the American Society for Horticultural Science. From her early life on a dairy farm, and roaming the woods, ravines and creeks in the Finger Lakes Region of New York, Pollard always loved nature. Her practical experience working on a vegetable farm, formal gardens, Cornell's Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory, and florist shops in several states is combined with her formal training.
Since 2000, Nancy Pollard has overseen the Cook South Suburban Master Gardener Program, "helping people learn to grow." She has led its expansion from 25 to over 155 volunteers. Master Gardeners on her team have won state teamwork awards nearly every year since she began overseeing the program. "Ask a Master Gardener," a popular attraction at Farmers Markets and events in many suburbs extend her reach.
She instructs adult Master Gardeners in Botany, Insects, Diseases and Integrated Pest Management, and numerous ornamental and edible gardening topics. Ms. Pollard has worked with both youth and adults on community and school gardens. She enjoys helping residents and volunteers find creative ways to assist in the greening of their communities.
Pollard also provides leadership to the Illinois Master Naturalist Program in Cook County which provides participants with hands-on, view changing training. Piloted in 2009, the program continues to grow. Pollard is a Certified Interpretive Guide and member of the National Association for Interpretation.
In a world of limited time and space, container gardens seem to make more and more sense. The website Successful Container Gardens was developed by a team of U of I Extension educators that included Nancy. Its purpose is to help people enjoy the simple pleasure of gardening and contact with nature. It includes traditional writing and photography plus innovative teamwork award winning podcastis that can be viewed on YouTube. She has presented Growing Beautiful Container Gardens, and Farming on Your Patio at local, state and regional events.
A sustainable vegetable and herb garden at the Museum of Science and Industry SMART home has been on display since 2008. Nancy was on the team that planned and implemented this special garden which won 1st place for Chicago public institutions-city wide in the Mayor's Landscape Awards program 2009. Pollard serves on the Marketing and Commodities Committee of the Cook County Farm Bureau and the Cook County Food Systems Steering Committee, other civic committees.
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