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New horticulturalist joins NMSU’s Bernalillo County office

Sara Moran-Duran understands the importance of teaching youth that they can grow fresh vegetables to eat. She knows that their enthusiasm will be shared with their parents, and the entire family will discover they can raise a garden in their backyard to supplement their diet.


Woman standing in front of map
Horticulturalist Sara Moran-Duran has joined New Mexico State University’s Bernalillo County Cooperative Extension Service office. (NMSU photo by Jane Moorman)

Moran-Duran is New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences’ newest horticulturalist at the Bernalillo County Cooperative Extension Service office in Albuquerque.

“Sara’s experience fits right in,” said Cindy Schlenker Davies, Bernalillo County Extension’s county director. “We are hoping to be able to reach a new audience in agriculture and horticulture to help them supplement their diets with homegrown vegetables.”

Moran-Duran, an El Salvador native, who earned her bachelor’s degree at Pan American Agriculture University of Zamorano in Honduras, joined the Bernalillo County Extension faculty in December after earning a master’s degree in horticulture at NMSU.

“While in Honduras I worked with school garden programs,” Moran-Duran said. “Once you teach the kids, they get excited and they talk at home to their parents about gardening. Then the parents become interested.”

This experience will complement the Albuquerque project that has more than 80 school gardens.

“The school garden initiative is huge for us right now,” Davies said. “Sara’s experience and her enthusiasm in wanting to help people in the area of horticulture will help us expand our programs to communities we have not reached.”

Besides promoting current Extension programs and creating new ones, Moran-Duran wants to write gardening guides that will be easier to read, especially for school children.

“Teachers have very busy schedules, so they need material that is easier to explain to the students so they will understand what they are doing in the school gardens,” she said.

With barely a month on the job, Moran-Duran is busy with the county’s Master Gardener volunteer program’s horticulture training.

“This is a very well-organized group that really helps our community through different horticulture programs,” Moran-Duran said. “I look forward to working with the Albuquerque community.”