Ginger Greatens wins Second Quarter 2021 Volunteer Award

by Jim Folger, NTMN Class of 2007

Among the people who know her, many words have been used to describe Ginger Greatens: “genuine, compassionate, selfless, persistent, enthusiastic, organized, hard working.” 

Since graduating from the Class of 2017, she was active in orchestrating a Big Chapter Project (BCP) at Lakewood Outdoor Learning Area that involved 40 dedicated, enthusiastic Master Naturalists who joined together to plant 25 native trees and 120 native plants. This effort created a wonderful outdoor learning space for 900 students at Lakewood Elementary School, and she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for her work there.

She took on the role of BCP leader, and helped John Wilt plan and execute a BCP at Harry Moss Park where over 1000 plants were put in the ground and hundreds of pounds of seed were sown. Ginger also volunteered at Texas Discovery Gardens, and served as a volunteer in her community wherever help was needed. She has accomplished all of this while juggling the demands of raising a family.

Ginger is now serving on the board as Community Education Director, and is also leading the Diversity & Inclusion Committee.  

Ginger grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin as the youngest of four girls. Her father was a master plumber, and built the home she lived in on the corner of her grandparent’s farm, with a 100 year old farmhouse and a working dairy barn. She spent her entire childhood playing outdoors, and found a love of nature at an early age.

She went to the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee where she received her Occupational Therapy degree specializing in Neurodevelopmental Therapy with adult stroke patients. She got married and moved with her husband and two kids to Dallas several years ago. She loves chips and salsa, cycling, dancing, and her tag-along Penny (Australian Labradoodle) and is a friend to all.  

She has been an active part of several volunteer organizations, and we are lucky to have had her energy and organizational skills since 2017.

Here is what some others have said about Ginger:

“Regarding the BCP at LOLA, she impressed me as being very organized and efficient and a good manager of events. She made the rounds of the stations and answered questions, obtained anything the volunteers needed, and generally paid attention to all the workers. This in addition to being an enthusiastic and welcoming greeter to all the families who attended.” – Mary Mamantov NTMN 2011

“She is a “behind the scenes” hard worker.  She helped me plan and execute the BCP at Harry Moss Park a few years ago. Ginger also planned and supervised the BCP at LOLA which redefined the entire area with new gardens and tree plantings. Ginger can get her hands dirty too. She spent many hours volunteering at TDG as well as working at LOLA.”– John Wilt (NTMN 2014 and first Quarterly Award winner in 2016) 

“Ginger is patience and persistence combined. She is easy to become friends with and is very supportive of community events and public outreach, including the Latinx group. Her ideas and interests bring together the members of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee.” – Blanca Reyna NTMN 2019

“She is one of those selfless people who respond whenever a neighbor needs help. She understands nature and the necessity to get involved. Her kids have gotten a real appreciation for nature in learning from her. She is persistent and does a good job of pressing ahead to get things done. Aside from all of this, she is a wonderful cook (especially Asian cuisine) and baker.” – Imelda Haley (friend and classmate in 2017)

I think our TPWD advisor Sam Kieschnick said it best, in his usual understated fashion: “She freaking rules! She is a dedicated master naturalist who genuinely cares about the master naturalist mission, outreach, and making the program more accessible and relatable to the greater DFW community. I so appreciate everything that Ginger does for our program and for nature!” 

Please join in congratulating Ginger as our 2nd Quarterly Award Winner.

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