A six-month internship at a nature center brought Britt Patterson-Weber to Florida. She loved the job so much that she cancelled plans to return to the Northwest and has spent 15 years in Florida and the Caribbean working in environmental education.

By listening to the interests of youth and adults, she has created educational programs such as Collier Greens, a school and community garden network that reaches more than 50 schools and organizations. This program serves as a model within the U.S. and abroad to help groups understand the variety of lessons learned from using gardens as an educational tool.

“In the long run, you save so much time and resources by just listening,” she says.

Patterson-Weber enjoys participating as a volunteer coach and running buddy for Girls on the Run, a local non-profit working with elementary and middle school girls. Her expertise in butterflies, especially Florida’s native butterflies, proved invaluable when the Pfeffer Butterfly House was created inside the Smith Children’s Garden.