Barbara Farnsworth is the Citizen of the Season for Winter 2011. Barbara, who was nominated by Mayor Cluff, has lived in Springdale since 2005 and has a beautiful home in Canyon Springs. She came to Springdale to be near her family and grandchildren. She has had a direct impact on Springdale and Zion National Park because of her passion for native plants.
She brought that passion to the Town’s Community Center Advisory Board when they were planning the Canyon Community Center’s landscaping. As a result, the CCC has one of the most native plant gardens/grounds in the county. Barbara also found a source for the interpretive signage that identifies plants throughout the grounds and made sure the right signs went near the right plants.
Barbara is a VIPER in Zion Park – a Volunteer in the Parks, Revegetation Group. She volunteers many hours every year doing the ‘P’ things with the VIPERS – reaP seeds, Propagate and Plant – all with plants native to the canyon. “There’s a fourth ‘P’ – we also Party a lot!” Barbara laughs. When it was time, she convinced the Vipers to plant the grounds at the CCC, and for many months, they also weeded and maintained the gardens until they became fully established. Barbara says she is now the ‘main thistle’ in the Weeder’s Guild, a volunteer group that weeds the grounds periodically.
Barbara explains her philosophy and passion about native plants: “It’s not just about yards. It’s deeper than that. If we come to the desert and plant exotics all around us, we don’t see the beauty of the dryness; the desert. We alienate ourselves from it. If we can appreciate what is already here – honor it – we’ll get a better understanding of how we can live in the landscape ourselves. If we embrace the natural beauty, we will become more content in our homes.”
She says living in Springdale has helped her get to know ‘the pioneer spirit’. “There is a direct correlation between how people and plants survive and thrive in a place. You have to understand where you’re planted and how you relate to everything else.” Plants prove their understanding of place through adaptation. People must also adapt. “The more you get to know about your surroundings, the more you can enjoy your life.”
Springdale Town Council and staff are grateful that she was unrelenting about native landscaping at the CCC; that she continues to support and maintain it, and that her influence has led to the town’s adoption of a native plant list for all new developments in town.
Barbara is also a talented pianist and volunteers her time accompanying the Community Choir and the elementary school students. She is always willing to share her gifts and talents with others.