Calusa Garden Club of Marco Island awarded a college scholarship to Madeline (Maddie) Grucci, a graduating senior of St. John Neumann Catholic High School who resides on Marco Island. In addition, the Garden Club awarded a campership to Florida Federation of Garden Clubs’ Camp Wekiva to Jereslyn (Jeri) Lerma, a fifth-grade student at Tommie Barfield Elementary.

Marianne Foley, the Garden Club’s scholarship chairperson, presented the $750 check for college expenses to Maddie on April 12, while her father Kyle Grucci looked on.  While Maddie Grucci has not yet decided which college she will attend, she will major in biological science at one of the several universities to which she has been accepted.

Grucci said she enjoys the sciences and is exploring careers in both medicine and laboratory sciences, acknowledging that she has a few more years in which to determine her future and that she most likely be pursuing a graduate degree for whichever career choice she makes. Grucci thanked Calusa Garden Club for her scholarship and was happy to receive the help for her college expenses. 

Another award was given by Foley this year to Jereslyn Lerma, a fifth-grade student at Tommie Barfield Elementary. Foley presented the campership to Camp Wekiva to Jeri Lerma at the April 4 after-school meeting of Junior Gardeners, a Calusa Garden Club-sponsored activity.

Lerma will be attending a week-long session of Wekiva Youth Camp, a co-educational summer overnight nature camp sponsored by the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs.  Jeri said on her application for the campership that she loves plants and animals and looks forward to spending all day learning about them at camp, and emphasized her enthusiasm for learning about the environment by stating “nature rocks!”  Sessions of the one-week camp are held throughout June and July at Wekiwa Springs State Park, about 20 miles north of Orlando. Wekiva Youth Camp’s purpose is to instill in Florida youth a love and respect for Florida nature through nature study, conservation and protection of our environment. Wekiva Youth Camp is accredited by the American Camp Association. 

Calusa Garden Club of Marco Island is a member of the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs.  Membership is open to persons interested in horticulture, floral design and environmental matters residing 5 months or more in Collier County. 

Calusa Garden Club of Marco Island meets the second Monday of each month, October through March, at Wesley United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 350 S. Barfield Drive, Marco Island.  Business meetings begin at 12:30 p.m. and programs begin at 1:15 p.m.  Calusa Garden Club welcomes visitors interested in our educational programs and visitors interested in membership.  Contact the Garden Club at, or on the Garden Club’s website,, or visit the Club’s Facebook page Calusa Garden Club.

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