Understanding the satisfaction found in watching something you plant and nurture grow to maturity comes naturally to Garth Seely—landscaper, father, and LAND founder. Garth and his wife Amy created LAND as a way to connect local school students to nature and the environment through interactive outdoor experiences.
Garth Seely is the program director and true spirit of LAND. His inspiration for LAND was ignited by his passion for sharing his love of the outdoors with his sons. Their natural curiosity propelled him to reach out to other children. He created the vision for LAND by working with his sons preschool providing outdoor interactive field trips about 17 years ago. Next up was the creation of the Landscape and Nature Club at Monocacy Elementary School in 2004. Through such activities, LAND programs have expanded to several schools, both public and private, from preschool to high school. Garth enlists work forces of children and adults to participate in community service projects such as road clean ups, river clean ups, and school beautification projects. Currently, Garth conducts the LAND programs at local schools, outdoor educational field trips, organizes and participates in LAND youth volunteer projects throughout Montgomery County as well as the fundraising efforts, and public relations. Simultaneously, Garth is also the president and owner of Gardens by Garth, Inc. and has held these roles since 1980. At Gardens by Garth, Garth is hands on in all aspects of the landscaping business including estimating, design, installation and maintenance.
Garth was awarded Montgomery County’s Outdoor Educator of the Year for 2007 by the Outdoor Education Association of MCPS.
Garth: “The excitement and inquisitiveness I saw in my sons regarding nature were the seeds from which LAND grew. I have learned that children inherently want to engage and connect with nature. The students provide endless inspiration for me to continue sharing my passion for the great outdoors with them.”
Amy Seely is the executive director of LAND. Amy earned her Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from the University of Maryland in 1986 and has been the vice president and office manager for Gardens by Garth, Inc., since 1990. Additionally, she works directly on landscaping jobs performing design, installation, and maintenance activities. Amy had an active role in completing the necessary steps for LAND to obtain its non-profit status. She oversees many facets of the LAND organization, including managing the LAND office, supervising employees, facilitating all LAND projects, coordinating field trips and community volunteer activities, supporting fundraising initiatives, and furthering the mission and growth of LAND. Before working with Gardens by Garth, Amy worked for several years for Crop Genetics, an agricultural biotech company, both in its lab as well as in the field.
Amy: “I see it as a privilege to be working in nature alongside the students. It is just as rewarding engaging with the enthusiastic student who is completely at ease in nature as it is to encourage the hesitant child to push themselves out of their comfort zone, through their fears, to experience something new.”