In October 2006, Pat Ferrin, who was the club president, introduced a new award to give recognition to those members who work tirelessly behind the scenes. Often they are quiet members and their contributions are vital to keeping our garden club running smoothly. Below are the winners for succeeding years starting with the most recent recipients.
The TOBY Symbol
The name TOBY stands for "To Our Best Yoewoman" and is rotated to each succeeding member to keep for one month. Pat explained her idea for the award to the members.
Donna De Savio, on the left, presented the September TOBY award to Faith Burns. Faith joined the club in 2015 and has since volunteered for many committee projects, always with a big smile. She picked up plants in Sylmar for our Plant Market, sorted donations for our Fall Tea and Yard Sale, suggested fundraising ideas, and helped with rose pruning at Orcutt Park Ranch. She donated her Maui condo for seven days to upgrade our Tea/Fundraiser's silent auction items and continues to help whenever needed.
Mary Ratner, left, receives the October TOBY award from Faith Burns, on the right. Mary has been a member since 2008 and has helped in so many ways. She served two terms as Recording Secretary, was a District delegate for our club, and helped plan and prepare food for District lunches. She drives for our car tours to interesting gardens and botanic gardens in the area, always helps with the January rose pruning at Orcutt Park, helped at our yard sale and served as Raffle Ticket Sales chairman. She also drove her neighbor and member Martha Elliott to meetings when Marhta was no longer able to drive. She brings caring and friendship to our club.
Kris Gaulrapp on, on the right, has served as our Inspiration Chairman for several years and charms us with her insightful messages at each meeting. She also has served on the Friendship Committee to send get well cards to members who are ill. She has hosted a table at our October Tea/fundraiser every year since she joined in 2014.
Bernadette de Young, on the left, has been a very involved member for five years. She has served as Librarian, worked on the Tour committee, the Civic Beauty committee to locate potential winners, and helps sell raffle tickets at our October teas.
Karol Freudenberg joined in 2009 and has shared her great knowledge of herbs by giving three programs over the years. She attends the floral design classes and always brings a design to share with club members using flowers from her own garden. She has served as a co-Hostess for our October tea/fundraisers.
Marcia Mackay was a former recipient of one of our scholarships. She joined the club after her graduation and has served as Birds and Butterflies chairman, helps prune roses at Orcutt Park, picked up plants from Sylmar Hight School for our plant market, made an educational poster on raptor birds at the Ojai Raptor Center (our club now supports one rescued raptor bird at the center) and serves as raffle ticket chairman for club meetings.
Shari Singh, on right, has been a member since 1988 and has shared her curry dishes at our pot luck lunches, donated plants from her garden for our annual tea/fundraiser and also shared plants with club members through our monthly plant market sales.
Mary Rankin, on left, joined in June 2015 and has been an active participant in our club projects. She has donated many lovely home sewn items for the raffle at our annual tea/fundraiser.
Norma Daughenbaugh, on right, joined in 2013 and has revitalized our recycling project to raise funds for the Penny Pines state project to reforest areas that have been destroyed by fire and/or pests in California's National Forests. She also helped with the club's latest garage sale to raise additional monies for this statewide project.
Donna De Savio has been a member since 1979 and has always supported our club's projects and functions. She helps when and where needed. Donna has served on the telephone and plant sale committees and enjoys several of the tours that are scheduled each year.
Nancy Zippler, on the right, joined with her friend, Renee, in late 2013 and has helped with the January rose pruning at Orcutt park every year. She has served on the Civic Beauty committee, co-chaired as Reservations Chairman for the October Tea, co-hosted a table at the Tea and helps serve food at Sylmar High School during their yearly FFA competitions.
Renee Rockower-Wade joined the same year as Nancy and has also pruned roses at Orcutt Park. She has served as co-chair for the Reservations Committee and co-hosted a table for the Tea and served on our Friendship Committee. Renee still works part time and finds time to support our club's many projects and activities.
Lucy Kerecman, on right, has been a member since 1990 and has served as co-Hostess Chairman since 2007. She also was on the District Lunch committee and has been chairman of the sales tables at our annual tea/fundraisers for many years. We love seeing how she decorates her hat each year for the Hat Parade at our June luncheons.
Carol Spearman, a friend of Lucy Kerecman became a member in 2011 and stepped in as co-Hostess Chairman when Pril Sullivan became ill. She has continued to serve in that capacity and also helps collect money at the October Tea sales table since she joined.
Annie Larsen, on the right, joined our club last May. She has been a very active member since joining helping with our Fall Fundraiser, enjoying our tours, preparing a display of her new drought tolerant lawn at a meeting, serving food at the Sylmar High School FFA Competitions, helping with our plant sales and picking up plants from Steve List for our Plant Market.
Joi Chase a member since 1988 was honored for her continued support and guidance as a Past President and Past District Director to help our club thrive with her help on the Friendship, Telephone and Amenities and Protocol committees and serving as a hostess at our October tea/fundraisers.
Our October 2013 winner has served as Treasurer, Horticulture Chairman and as Reservations Chairman for our fall fundraiser/tea. This September she was one of the panel discussion members for the program on horticulture. Hanna Olson, on the left, shared her knowledge and experiences raising vegetables in her own garden. She is always willing to help the club.
Evelyn Warrington, on the left, has been a member of our club for 42 years. She has chaired the Floral Design Workshop for interested members for many years. She demonstrates a floral design lesson before each meeting. Each club member who attends the workshop is encouraged to bring a design which reflects the principles Evelyn has taught. Her quiet manner, tactful appraisal of the student's designs and helpful tips for prepping plant materials, mechanics to use and enthusiasm for floral design has helped members create their table tops for our annual fundraiser/tea.
Our February 2014 winner has hosted our December Holiday Party at her home for two years. She serves as our Plant Sale Chairman and sets up an inviting mini store to showcase plants members have propagated from plants in their own gardens and brings plants from a local high school to sell. She has shared her Monarch butterfly display so members can see a butterfly hatching. Ilona Buratti also serves as our District Treasurer.
Mary Fischbach joined in 2011 and served as our Blue Star Memorial Chairman. She and her husband, Ed, maintained the rose garden at the Chatsworth Train Depot Blue Star Memorial Marker. She was Friendship Chairman, helped on the Publicity Committee and worked on the January rose pruning at Orcutt Park in January. Her husband, Ed, also helped with the rose pruning of the 400 rose bushes. She accepted a nomination for our Vice President of Membership this spring.
Sandy Konow, on the left, joined in 2011 and has helped with our annual October Tea/Fundraiser in many capacities. She has participated in many club activities and projects and this spring accepted the position of co-Vice President of Ways and Means to guide the club members in helping at the annual Tea.
Our November 2012 TOBY winner filled in for the 2nd VP of Membership 1-1/2 years ago, has hosted a table at our annual fundraiser, helped prune roses at Orcutt Park and steps in to help as needed. Salley Bagely, on the left, said as she accepted the prize, "I was always envious of the people who have received this -- now I can take Toby Turtle home with me."
Our January 2013 TOBY Award winner has been a member since 2010 and co-chaired our June Luncheon and December Holiday Luncheon. Kristina Sunness was recovering from surgery and accepted her award sitting down. Always willing to help, she collected and made up baskets for our Silent Auction and chaired the auction in addition to modeling for the fashion show.
Pat Ferrin, on the left, has been a member for 20 years and very active in many projects of the club. She was chairman of the Gardening Angels school program, president for six years, chairman of the Penny Pines and Recycling committees and served on the Board as Past President. Pat has organized and presented the TOBY Awards since 2006 to recognize members who give special effort to our club's projects and activities. We were very happy to surprise her with the coveted TOBY award.
Our March 2013 TOBY winner joined the club last year. Janet Gies, on the right, was a hostess at our October tea/fundraiser, modeled for the fashion show, co-chaired the December holiday party, brings a floral design to our Floral Design class, helps set up and take down the tables and chairs for our meetings and has interesting questions for our speakers.
Pril Sullivan has been a member for 18 years and very supportive of our garden club goals. She was a board member for 10 years, Corresponding Secretary, Treasurer, Co-3rd Vice President for 7 years, co-Hostess Chairman for 10 years and shared her home for June luncheons, a Holiday Party and Board Meetings.
Frann Rosenblum joined our club in 2010 and has been active in several projects for the club. She chairs the Civic Beauty Awards, serves on the Birds and Butterflies committee and has given ideas to Judy Boylan for program speakers.
Martha Duly, on the left, has been a member since 2007. She welcomes new members, helps with set up and clean up for meetings, drives for car tours, organized and supervised the kitchen crew and volunteer 8th grade servers for our annual fundraiser/tea, and volunteers for extra help when needed.
Beverly Jeppson, on the left, has been a member for four years, is a member of the Gardening Angels, Yearbook Editor, club photographer, helps with our website, chaired the December holiday luncheon, drives for our car tours, has served on the board and is always ready to help with club projects.
Joi Chase, on the left, has been a member since 1988. She is a State Life Member, National Life Member, former District Director, Past President of West Valley Garden Club, served as Recording Secretary, Yearbook Editor, was instrumental in the Blue Star Memorial installation at Chatsworth Train Station, chaired the Civic Beauty Awards committee, and recently volunteered to serve as Friendship Chairman. Our congratulations and thanks to Joi for her many years of service.
Albert Chang joined us in 2011. He chaired the rose pruning at Orcutt Park and took the rose blossoms to the L.A. Zoo for the gorillas. He also brings a dish to our pot luck lunches and helps set up and put away the chairs and tables.
Carol Spearman, on the left, and a new member since fall of 2011, stepped in to assist Lucy Kerecman as Hostess Co-Chairman when Pril Sullivan became too ill to attend meetings. She stays until everything is cleaned and put away.
Carolyn Russom, on the left, joined December 2011 after being so helpful with our last fall's annual fundraiser/tea. She continued to help with many "behind the scenes" projects and volunteered to be our club's Inspiration Chairman. She recently accepted the nomination to be our new club president.
Carole Kyle has been a member since 2005. She has a beautiful garden (plants are labeled), has conducted our floral design classes when Evelyn cannot make the meeting, co-hosted a table for the tea/fundraiser and has given two programs for the club on floral design.
Chuck Crossman is a special person who has supported our programs for a long time. His wife, Ida, became a member in 1991 and among other things served as president of the club. Chuck has long worked with our Gardening Angels group, doing heavy lifting of materials used in the rose garden, helping children learn about caring for roses, (the boys love him), audits the West Valley Garden Club treasurer's yearly report, and even tutors Calvert Street School children in math. Congratulations to Chuck Crossman and thank you for your support through the years.
Kristina Sunness, on the right and a fairly new member, and has been a great help by chairing the fall District meeting luncheon, hosting a table at our fundraiser and was a vendor at the state convention.
Jean Crail, on the right, has been editor of the Garden Gate since 2003, produces the club's brochure, was Yearbook editor, is Birds and Butterflies Chairman writes the "Bird Bath" column in the newsletter, is Plant Sale Table chairman and helps with the yearly fall fundraiser by hosting a table and baking for the bake sales.
Lucy Kerecman, on the left, is a wonderful, quiet, behind the scenes supporting member who joined WVGC in 1990. She has served as Vice President Membership, Recording Secretary, Vision of Beauty Calendar Chairman, Stamps to Save the Eagles Chairman, Collectibles Table Chairman, has proofread our Yearbook and is currently serving as a co-Hostesses Chairman.
Evelyn Warrington, on the left, has been a member since 1971. She is elegant, quiet, currently serves as Corresponding Secretary for San Fernando Valley District and is a National Accredited Flower Show Judge. She teaches our popular pre-meeing floral design classes.
Joan Campbell, on the right, has been a member since 1998. She has been a June Luncheon Chairman, Publicity Chairman, served on the board as our Treasurer. Joan always hosts a table (or two) at our fundraiser tea and volunteered to serve out a Treasurer's term of office.
Eleanor De Carteret joined in 2006. She has served on the Public Relations Committee, hosts a table at the annual tea, always says "Yes" when help is needed. She is serving as Horticulture Chairman and we enjoy her informative newsletter articles on Horticulture.
Bernice O'Connell, on the right, has been a member since 1997. She has supported our club in many ways including selling opportunity tickets, co-chaired as hostess, club librarian, and as hostess for a table at our annual teas.
Jo Eshelby has been a member since 1991 and has served on the Board as 3rd Vice President of Ways and Means, and was chairman for the District luncheon. She has been chaired of our Fall Fundraiser several times. One year she provided the vintage outfits for our fashion show from her own collection of clothing....many from the entertainment industry. This year she baked all the hundreds of scones for our Fall Fundraiser.
Karol Freudenberg has been a member since 2009 and is an enthusiastic supporter of our club projects. She brings an arrangement to our Floral Design workshops and has given us a wealth of information on herbs through her series of articles in the newsletter. She serves as a docent in the Huntington Library Herb Garden and presented two of our monthly club programs.
Judy Boylan has been a very active member since she joined in 2005. In addition to serving as 1st V.P. Programs, she is a Gardening Angel, has chaired the District Luncheon, served on the Nominating Committee and plans educational and interesting car tours to local gardens.
Beverly Jeppson joined last fall and dove right into club activities. She serves on the Gardening Angels committee, was Yearbook Editor and right after receiving her award was installed as the club's Recording Secretary. She said her turtle, Ichabod, would enjoy Toby's company for a month.
Helen Fitzpatrick has been a member since 1996 and has served on committees and boards of both West Valley Garden Club and San Fernando Valley District (as Membership Chairman). The club offices she has held are 1st Vice President of Programs, 2nd Vice President of Membership, Parliamentarian, she served on the Smokey Bear Poster and Scholarship committees and is our liaison between St. Bernardine's Church and the West Valley Garden Club for the annual fundraiser.
Martha Elliot was chairman of the Visions of Beauty Calendars for five years, co-hosted a table for the fundraiser, modeled clothing for our fashion shows and supports our club's activities.
Marge Heffernan has been a faithful member since 1991 and has served as our Campo de Cahuenga Commemoration Chairman for the wreath presentation every January. She brings a floral design to our floral design class prior to meetings.
Jean Crail was acknowledged for serving as newsletter editor since 2003, Yearbook Editor for two years, making the club brochure, presenting Birds and Butterflies reports, and serving as Assistant District Director.
Adrienne Krause has been a member since 1995 and has served on the Board, provides much behind the scenes help for club projects, is our Reservations Chairman and is Scholarship Chairman who works with counselors from Pierce Jr. College, West Valley Occupational Center and Canoga Park High School to seek deserving scholarship recipients, plans a lovely ceremony for our Awards Program in May to introduce the scholarhip winners to club members and guests.
Dorothea Keating is another quiet, solid, supporter of our club's activities. She has served as telephone chairman, Penny Pines chairman, assists the Hostess chairmen frequently, co-hosted a table at the fundraiser, and recently took reservations for our 2012 bus tour.
Our TOBY winner for October was Adrienne Krause for her many contributions to our club. She has served as Scholarship Chairman seeing that letters are sent out to potential recipients and following up to see that winners come to our yearly Awards Program in Mayu to be introduced. She also takes reservations for various club functions and is currently serving as our Corresponding Secretary.
Jean Crail was awarded the TOBY for publishing the Garden Gate, the club brochure, the Yearbook and starting the column "The Bird Bath" in the newsletter to make members more aware of our local birds as part of her duties as Birds and Butterflies Chairman.
Hanna Olson joined in 2003 and in addition to being helpful in many ways, has written a monthly horticulture article for our newsletter. She also gives us many helpful gardening tips with a short presentation at each meeting.
Evelyn Warrington has been a member for 37 years and we always enjoy her lessons in floral design prior to each regular meeting. She has a great eye for tiny details to improve designs brought by students and points out where a has successfully completed a design following her demonstration at a prior meeting. She helps in other ways such as helping at the baking or collectibles sales tables during the annual tea/fundraiser.
Pat Tojasss joined in 1996 and has been our Smokey Bear/Woodsy Owl Poster Contest Chairman for eight years. She and her committee distribute flyers to local elementary ir posters in January and judge all the entries to submit local winners to the California Garden Clubs Inc. state level contest. With her guidance we have had many winning entries at the state level over the years. She also designed the Girl Scout to award to girls who complete the gardening requirements under CGCI guidelines. Pat has been active in the Girl Scout program for many years, is a member of the local Iris Society and a member of the Woodland Hills Floral Design Club. She always brings a design to our pre-meeting floral design class.
Harriett Sarames joined in 1996 and serves as our very capable Bus Tours Chairman. She researches possible sites to visit and follows up with fliers, and announcements to publicize these events. Members learn gardening tips, landscaping ideas and enjoy spending these times with garden club friends. Harriett has also served as our Penny Pines Chairman and as 2nd Vice President of Membership.
Amy Graening was the second recipient of our Toby award for her many hours of support for the Gardening Angels who care for the rose garden at Calvert Street Elementary School. She also supports our annual Fall Fundraiser with more hours of work, hostessing a table and making tea sandwiches.
Tressie Manor has been a faithful member for 15 years serving as Friendship Chairman to send cheer to members with health problems, helped with the Gardening Angels project, helps with the collectibles table at the fall fundraiser and is always willing to lend a hand.
Priscilla Sullivan is a quiet, gracious co-chairman of the hardworking Hostess Committee. She guides the monthly hostesses in setting up the lovely tables with home grown greenery and flowers and preparing the food and beverage tables for lunches. She also served as 3rd Vice President of Ways and Means and made our club shine in our fund raising efforts.
Phyllis Nickerson was a faithful chair for our recycling program. She collected aluminum cans from members to recycle and the funds were used for the Penny Pines program to reforest our state and national forests in California. She advertised her project at the yearly June luncheon with clever hats for the Hat Parade.
Joi Chase has contributed many years to West Valley Garden Club by serving as President, Secretary, produced the Yearbook and Garden Gate newsletter, was District Director, served on the Blue Star Memorial for Veterans Committee to install a Blue Star Marker at Chatsworth Station, and most recently is serving as our Friendship Chairman.
Madelyn Jameson vowed to be a good member when she joined and has served as Historian, Arbor Day Chairman, member of the Gardening Angels, Chairman of Birds and Butterflies and now as club president.
Vera Ives has been a member since 1991 and was the Garden Gate editor for ten years and also served as Historian. She is always willing to help.
Civic Beauty Awards
The first 2016 Residential award was presented to Caitlin and Dan Burcham living in Chatsworth. A year ago they removed the front lawn and installed a drought tolerant/native plant garden. Dan built a fence and a large above ground container. Then they filled the garden with color. Among their choices were lantana, sage, rosemary, tidy tips, poppies, butterfly bush, parrots beak, alyssum, many succulents, several citrus trees, ornamental grasses and a few roses. They have a birdbath and many feeders. A large assortment of birds, bees and butterflies live in their garden. Dan and Caitlin hope people who see their garden will be encouraged to try drought tolerant gardening.
A second Residential award went to Tonyia Verna for her garden in Woodland Hills. Tonyia said her garden is her passion and described how she killed her lawn and then set about replacing it gradually with both native and other drought tolerant plants. There are small trees, shrubs and a large variety of plants providing a spectrum of color including poppies, yarrow, hot poker, kangaroo paws, Pride of Madera, tulips, iris, freesia, cactus, succulents, milkweed and many others.
The Business Award was given to Fallbrook Shopping Center. Our committee had been watching the improvements to the landscaping over a two year period. By spring 2016 it was looking good and the mall owners were contacted. The mall owners sent four people to our awards ceremony: the CEO, the COO, the landscape designer and the head landscaper. They were extremely proud of receiving the award and described the process of improving the mall: large scale planters, tall metal sculptured palm trees, wide edged planters to accommodate seating, colorful banners, and a fairly narrow but repeated palette of plants including pink geraniums, yellow lantana, white iceberg roses, palm trees, red and green succulents, bird of paradise and some small shrubs and grasses. They were very impressed with the WVGC's program to help horticulture students by providing scholarships. Mike Seymour, CEO stunned us by offering us a donation of $5000 to add to our scholarship fund with a pledge of $1000 for each of the next five years!
Scholarship AwardsThree $1000 scholarships were awarded in May 2016 by the West Valley Garden Club to worthy students from Canoga Park High School, Pierce Jr. College and West Valley Occupational Training Center who plan to attend or are already enrolled in a college or occupational training center to pursue a career in horticulture, landscaping, or a related field of study. Adrienne Krause, our Scolarship Chairman invited the three scholarship recipients and their counselors to our May meeting to receive a certificate and share their experiences and future plans.
West Valley Garden Club is in the process of funding a fourth scholarship for a student at California State University.
Rachel O'Donnell, on the right, graduated from Canoga Park High School and plans to attend Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo to study landscape design. She has worked with designers on a LAUSD project and volunteered to help with the design and layout of a renovated area in front of a local school district office.
Nolan Swaika, on the right, has been taking classes at West Valley Occupational Center. He is enrolled in an ornamental maintenance certification class and would like to learn more about plant biology, irrigation, and water/drought management at WVOC and/or Pierce College. In 2015, Nolan worked as a nurseryman at Sperling Nursery in Calabasas. He now has a landscape tech job at nearby Viewpoint School.
Alicia Peterson, on the right, attends Pierce College in Woodland Hills. Both of her parents had careers in plant science, so Alicia has a long-held interest in gardening. Alicia grows vegetables, flowers, and native shrubs in her own backyard. She volunteers at Theodore Payne Nursery in Sun Valley and at the Mildred Mathias Botanical Garden at UCLA.
SMOKEY BEAR POSTERSThe California Garden Clubs organization promotes fire prevention through the Smokey Bear/Woodsy Owl Poster Contest. The National Garden Clubs, Inc. and the Department of Agriculture Forestry Department sponsor this national contest. Pat Tjosaas, our club's Smokey Bear/Woodsey Owl chairman, and her committee members distributed flyers to local community schools, libraries and youth groups. The contest is open to grade one through five and the theme for the Smokey Bear posters is "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires!" The Woodsey Owl poster environmental theme is "Lend A Hand -- Care for the Land!" The students create by hand a 11" x 17" poster using crayons, markers, poster paints, watercolors, etc. Entries received by our club are judged by Pat and her committee. Then one winner from each grade is forwarded to the state chairman to be entered in the California Garden Clubs, Inc. poster contest. We had four winners at the state level. One entry won in the fourth grade category at the Pacific Region and National Garden Club contests. There were more than 30,000 entries nationwide. To date, we have had five National Smokey Bear/Woodsey Owl Poster winners including two national grand prize overall winners.
Louis Verganio won Third Place in the State of California in the 1st grade level.
Khandari Altangadas won Second Place in the 1st grade leve at the state contest.
Jarett Walker won Fourth Place in the State of California in the 4th grade level.
Spencer Morga won First Place in the Nation Wide Eight Regional competition areas in the 4th grade level and his entry also won Second Place at the National 4th grade level. Woodland Hills Woman's Club Conservation Chairman, Karen Brown joined our garden club in honoring the winners with a $20.00 donation for each state, regional and national winner from her club.
CLUB AWARDSWest Valley Garden Club competes with other garden clubs in California each year for awards. Our members are encouraged to submit award applications with the help of our Awards Chairman. This year we won the California Garden Clubs Inc. (CGCI) Sweepstakes Award for the most winning entries for a club of our size. Below is a display of the awards set up by Sally Bagley, Awards Chairman, at our June meeting.
Our 2015-2016 year awards are:
CGCI Sweepstakes Winner
CGCI Blue Ribbon Certificate of Achievement
Penny Pines CGCI 1st Place Winner
Penny Pines Pacific Region 3rd Place Winner
Backyard Habitat, CGCI 1st Place Winner, Annie Larsen
Bird Conservation, CGCI 3rd Place Winner, Marcia Mackay
Membership Promotion, CGCI 2nd Place, Mary Fischbach
Newsletter, CGCI 2nd Place, Jean Crail, editor
Smokey Bear/Woodsy Owl Posters
CGCI State Winners
1st Grade 2nd Place, Khandari Altangadas
1st Grade 3rd Place, Louis Verganio
4th Grade 4th Place, Jarett Walker
4th Grade 1st Place, Spencer Morgan
Pacific Region Winner
4th Grade 1st Place, Spencer Morgan
National Garden Club Winner
(There are approximately 30,000 entries nationwide from children grades one through five for this award.)
4th grade 2nd Place Winner, Spencer Morgan was honored at a San Fernando Valley District meeting by Rita Desilets, District Director and Sue Bennett, California State Garden Club President.