Austin Bolinger, 22, is the new horticulture specialist at Tri-Valley Developmental Services, replacing Barb McCord, who retired May 14.
Bolinger is a 2017 Fort Scott High School graduate.
“I started working in the floral industry five years ago, and while working in that industry I began collecting plants and learning as much as I could about them,” Bolinger said. “I also worked alongside Barbara McCord for six months. During this time she taught me so much valuable information about what it means to be a horticulturist.”
McCord was the person who developed the horticulture therapy program at Tri-Valley and mentored Bolinger prior to her departure.
“I chose to pursue this career because it was something that interested me, seemed like a good cause,” he said. “I was trying to figure out which direction my life was headed when I saw that Barbara was retiring. I knew that I wanted a career that also gave back to the community, and would be something that I enjoyed. I feel like I found that here at Tri-Valley.”
“The best part of my job is definitely those who I work with,” Bolinger said. “Being able to work with the clients in the horticulture program gives me such joy to share my passion for plants with others who enjoy it as much as I do.”
” With the Bourbon County Fair coming up, the clients will be entering an array of items that they have been working on,” Bolinger said. “We are also experimenting with adding some new houseplants into the greenhouse, which is very exciting. We feel like everyone should have some nature in their home!”
“I was born and raised in Fort Scott,” Bolinger said. “I live with my partner, Estevan, and our two dogs, Amira and Reese.”
He is a member of the Fort Scott Garden Club.
Tri-Valley Developmental Services helps people with conditions that include autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and other physical and mental impairments, according to its’ website http://www.tvds.org/getting-started.
These conditions can result in severe chronic limitations such as:
Learning and adapting
Understanding and using language
Self-direction in setting and accomplishing goals