It is with a joyful heart that we celebrate with Education Specialist Vaughn Owens as he retires from Powell Gardens at the end of this year. Vaughn has been with Powell Gardens since its early years, starting as a garden intern in 1990 when our visitor center was simply a refurbished farm manager’s building. He worked in the International Vegetable Garden, which foreshadowed the Heartland Harvest Garden and saw the opening of the Perennial Garden in 1991.
In 1994, Vaughn joined the education department as an Education Specialist, and through his years of service he has helped connect more than 100,000 children to nature during their field trips at Powell Gardens. Vaughn has served children from the Kansas City area and as far away as St. Joseph, Clinton and Olathe. From programs on subjects ranging from worms to pond studies, vegetable gardening to butterfly life cycles, Vaughn’s skills as an educator are unmatched. Always willing to go the extra mile to make a connection with young learners, he has been known to dress up as Peter Rabbit, Mr. McGregor and Johnny Appleseed.
Beyond educating youth, Vaughn has been an integral part of special events at the Gardens, from the Festival of Butterflies to the Harvest Celebration and Antique Tractor Show. He also has led workshops on building trellises and portable planters for our adult education program. His talents are far reaching, and his effect on the Gardens is obvious. Over the past few years, he has taken on increased responsibilities in the design and maintenance of Fun Foods Farm, the youth garden where children can dig for worms, plant a seed and hide in bean teepees.
We celebrate with Vaughn as he embraces a new chapter in life. He will surely spend quality time with his wife and family, take up biking once more—they say you never forget how to ride one—and enjoy a well-deserved retirement. We wish him the best. You can email Vaughn best wishes, too.
Teachers: Interested in a spring field trip?
Youth Education Coordinator Stephanie Kemp is ready now to book your spring field trip program. Dates fill quickly, so contact her soon. You can reach her by email or phone at 816-697-2600 x306.
Upcoming classes and events for families:
Looking for more learning opportunities and family fun this month? We’re offering “Create a Gourd Birdhouse” on Saturday, November 23. (Members: Be sure to login to our website to receive discounted prices on classes.) Learn more.
And next month we have lots of holiday events lined up. See the full schedule here!