[heading]by AMY LEHRER | photos by Soul of Photography[/heading]

In 1992 Nan Sterman was drawn to Olivenhain like a bee to flowers due to the progressive, environmentally conscious residents, the ideal microclimate – overcast free mornings and ample sunshine to ripen tomatoes – and the large lots ideal for gardening. And like a bee that supports its environment via pollination, Nan has positively impacted her community. She founded the Encinitas Garden Festival in 2003, becoming its president in 2006. “The Encinitas Garden Festival,” explained Nan, “celebrates the community and horticulture of 92024 with over 1,500 attendees a day.” Each year the festival sponsors community projects, and residents from different neighborhoods open their gardens for viewing. Passionate about protecting the environment, Nan has served on the City’s invasive plants advisory committee for years. She warned, “All of the natural canyons and coastal regions that make up Encinitas will be lost to invasive plants if we allow it.”

t.f.-4427As host of the KPBS A Growing Passion series, a show featuring ordinary people as extraordinary gardeners, Nan is able to educate San Diegans on sustainability and water wise gardening in addition to celebrating San Diego biodiversity. During a recent episode, a segment featured green houses in 92024. Jan speaks all over the country regarding water wise sustainable plants and gardens and is a regular Garden Guru guest on Midday Edition, a public radio talk show in San Diego. Other notable accomplishments include having been the editor of San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles magazine, publishing California Gardener’s Guide VII in 2007 and Waterwise Plants for the Southwest in 2010 with co-authors Mary Irish, Judith Phillips and Joe Lamp’l.

As a child, Nan grew carrots and radishes, and as a Duke University student, she practiced green agriculture with the fledgling sustainability movement. She received two graduate degrees from UC Santa Barbara, one in biology and the other in training and education development.t.f.-4442

Always busy as a bee, Nan sang in a bluegrass band in college and has been happily married to Curt Wittenberg – a scientist at The Scripps Research Institute – for 29 years. Together, they have raised three children – a daughter and son, who attended the San Diego Jewish Academy and now attend SDSU and Indiana University, and a son who is a contractor in 92024. Nan has most recently traveled to England for a garden tour. Locally, she enjoys her hikes amongst San Diego’s beautiful canyons, frequents the beach and San Elijo Lagoon, cooks with her husband, and can be found dining at Fish 101 and Pandora’s Pizza and gardens.

[box title=”At A Glance” color=”#330033″]

Name:  Nan Sterman
Age:  50-something
Community of Residence:  Encinitas
Year moved to the community:  1986
Family Information:  Three children
Volunteer/Organziation Affiliations:  Encinitas Garden Festival, Invasive Plant Committee, voluntary advisory committee for San Diego Water Authority