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Volunteer Spotlight: Ritza Francois

How did you come to volunteer at ICG?

I originally met Erin, the Executive Director, through the Tompkins Chamber where I was given a tour upon our introduction. It was actually the first time I had ever been to the Garden but had always been curious since I heard great things. Through my background in marketing and Communications, I was asked to sit on the Communications Committee and volunteer at the Garden since I was looking for a volunteer opportunity that was outdoors.

Why do you volunteer at ICG?

I volunteer at ICG because it brings out my inner play. Growing up in Brooklyn, there wasn’t a lot of greenery to play around or most places cost money before you could do anything. I also volunteer because it’s an opportunity to learn and teach the younger generation it is OK and it is their right to enjoy nature.

What do you do as a volunteer?

I sit on the Marketing and Communications Committee where I helped develop the new IGC logo, communications strategies, market outreach campaigns, monitor and strengthen social media with ICG Staff Members, and review general communications for newsletters, announcements, and Garden marketing materials. I also help weed, rake leaves in the fall, and grow vegetables during the summer.

What is your favorite aspect or area of the Garden? 

I really love the Anarchy Zone because there are a lot of loose items like tires, and it feels like an obstacle course!

What is your favorite Garden memory?

My favorite garden memory was the fall leaf clean-up. We were rewarded with donuts after a long day of raking leaves!

If you could tell someone one thing about the Garden, what would it be? 

ICG is for everyone. It may feel like you need a reason or goal or purpose to be there before you visit, but you’ll be surprised that it is just a beautiful place to reconnect to nature and relax!