In 1984 I was hired by Walt Disney World in my native Toronto, Ontario as a Cultural Representative for Canada to work at EPCOT Center's Canadian Pavillion and moved to start a new life in Orlando, Florida. Canada is one of the leading eco-friendly countries in the world where most households recycle, reuse and compost their organic kitchen food and yard waste which is the goal of our community composting program.
As a child, I grew up deep woods camping with my family in Algonquin Provincial Park. During our summer vacations I gained a great appreciation for the sights and sounds of nature. We were blessed to be able to jump in our canoe and go fishing on the river by our campsite where my brother and I caught our first minnows. The scenery was spectacular, we loved to explore the park by day and many times we would observe bears, moose, deer, chipmunks and other wildlife foraging for food, it was incrediable to watch them in their natural habitats. At night I'd listen to wolves howling in the woods and hear loons crying on the water in the distance. The experience was hauntingly beautiful and has stuck with me to this day.
Farming is in my ancestry. I'm a 3rd generation farmer, my grandparents owned a 100 acre wheat farm on the prairie in rural Dufresne, Manitoba. My family lived off the land, they grew their own food seasonally in a 1 acre vegetable garden. After the local farming community collectively brought in everyone's fall harvest, they would busily preserve and can their produce for storage in their root cellars. These people were a hardy bunch, they managed to survive the brutually harsh winters with minimal resources using a wood burning stove for heat, crude electric with no running water or indoor plumbing. They kept and cared for livestock and only took what they needed to survive, my ancestors practiced “The Tragedy of the Commons” method of farming. When my mother moved to the big city of Toronto, Ontario, she became a backyard farmer and composter carrying on her family tradition. Lucky for me, both my parents were award winning gardeners and practiced horticulture so pulling weeds or fresh carrots comes naturally.
My mother was an inspriration, she knew how to survive and grow food even in the worst conditions. We grew enough food in our small urban backyard to feed our neighbors each summer!
When our daughter was school-age I volunteered as a Girl Scout Troop leader and Camporee Director in East Orlando. I taught primitive cooking, deep woods camping, basic survival skills, edible food foraging and I co-created a beautiful butterfly garden with the girls in my troop.
I became aware of the plight of our Honey bees after watching the documentary "Vanishing of The Bees" in July 2012. Since then it's been a personal journey to discover why bees were dying and how to help them regenerate, thrive and survive.
Sadly, while on my path I also learned about the plight of our iconic Monarch butterflies whose populations have been decimated by habitat loss, poor nutrition. widely used pesticides, fungicdes, herbicides. insecticides like Roundup and other common garden toxins mixed with a changing climate. Nature can't keep up.
We need these vital pollinators healthy because they directly affect the base of our food chain including moths, wasps, hummingbirds, bats, ladybugs, etc.
Mark is a native born on a pecan farm outside Maxville, Florida. He grew up in Jacksonville and moved to Orlando to work at Walt Disney World's EPCOT Center where he bumped into Care on a bus ride at work. Mark has many skills as a carpenter, painter and lawn guy, but mostly, he's a great friend and neighbor.
(See our photo taken at Light Up Dunhill 2017)
Mark is a semi-retired, captain/fisherman and expert craftsman. His skillset is perfect for small home repairs, kitchen remodels or mowing lawns so if you see him in the neighborhood, stop and say hello. You can call or text him at 407-709-8988 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark is a very knowledgable gardener and landscaper. If you would like to start your own garden project to benefit our beloved bees and butterflies, both Mark and Care are a great resources to have.
Coming Soon! Your support and contributions will enable us to meet our goals and improve conditions for our beloved pollinators and help local beekeepers sustain them. Your generous donation will fund our mission and offset costs associated with our collection activities.
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