Best Garden Teacher - 2012
A "gentle giant" whom visiting school groups adored, Marcus Gallegos wasn't like the paid interns that Strybing Arboretum's Youth Education Coordinator Annette Huddle had come to know — the UC Berkeley students who had spent a summer working on an organic farm in Hawaii. Instead, Gallegos grew up among the Mission's gangs and violence, and he was looking for a way out — and a way to make a difference. At the arboretum he says he found peace amid the plants and trees, and he proved himself instrumental in the recreation of its Children's Garden, Huddle says. After working for years at the Strybing, Gallegos now studies horticulture and child development at City College of San Francisco, serves as the garden coordinator for Leonard Flynn Elementary School, and works as the science teacher with Mariposa Kids, sharing with the children from his neighborhood his joy in growing plants and caring for living things.