Laura Hlusko
Meadville Area Recreation Complex

Meadville, PA – June, 2019

Meadville Area Recreation Complex announces the hire of Laura Hlusko as the first MARC Community Garden Part-Time Coordinator. In this position we will see continued implementation of programs and growth at the MARC Community Garden and Eldred-Glen Nature Trails.

Laura will report to Executive Director Aaron Rekich, the volunteer MARC Community Garden Committee, and the Meadville Area Recreation Authority (MARA); she will oversee all projects and initiatives carried out at the MARC Community Garden. 

Laura grew up on a small farm in Fredonia, Pennsylvania, where she spent her childhood raising animals, cultivating plants and roaming the wilds of Pennsylvania. This experience and interest in plants led Laura to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where she graduated with two Bachelors: one in Plant Science and the second in Agricultural Sciences with a concentration in Crop Production and Management.  Laura studied plants from seed to harvest, everything from the soil to the air, and the economical, moral and social implications of plants whether cultivated or wild, land or sea, native or global.

Aside from her education, Laura has done a variety of volunteer work that closely aligns with this position. She’s been a Penn State Master Gardener of Mercer County since 2010. Currently, she is one of the co-managers for the Facebook page, a volunteer speaker, and in charge of the annual Grow Off competition. Each month, Laura gives free talks on plants, nature or garden related topics at the Mercer Area Public Library whether it’s Frugal Hydroponics for Beginners or Edible Flowers.

Laura said after accepting the position, “For me, the MARC community garden’s appeal is the ability to utilize plants and gardening as a tool  to provide an educational, creative and physical outlet for all of Meadville’s community. It’s taking the simple act of cultivation a step further to address community needs whether it’s access to growing space, learning about nature or spending time together outdoors.”

The MARC Community Garden was started in 2014 when Allegheny College, in collaboration with the MARC, Meadville Medical Center, and several other organizations received a grant to improve community wellness by  creating a model neighborhood garden to address food access, and by improving hiking and educational trails that offered increased opportunities for physical and outdoor activity. This grant ended in August 2018 and the MARC Community Garden is now fully integrated into the Meadville Area Recreation Complex. Many thanks to the Italian Civic Club of Meadville and the many volunteers across the community for getting this position started. 

Meadville Area Recreation Complex
MARC Press Release , June 5 2018