SCIENCE & INNOVATION - Deb Terrell
Description of Individual or Organization
Deb Terrell is a farmer, entrepreneur and civic leader who is passionate about making a difference in the world and for those who live in it.
The name of the organization is Nature’s Circle, which is all about wellness for people and pets with a focus on education.
Ms. Terrell’s farm in Aurora, Texas is a Monarch Butterfly Waystation and Certified Bee Friendly Farm. Luffa, moringa, goats’ milk (used in dog treats) and honey are some of what is produced on the farm.
Luffa is a very important but under-utilized pollinator plant. The beautiful luffa flower provides nectar and pollen for the bees during the dearth when other flowers have ceased blooming. Luffa profusely blooms until first frost which typically ranges from mid-October or November in this area. And it makes delicious honey!
Moringa is another excellent pollinator plant which can withstand the high temperatures here in North Texas. Moringa is a superfood for humans, pets and livestock. Moringa is fed to the dairy goats to increase their milk production and wellness. Moringa also produces beautiful flowers which attract bees.
Leadership (Nominee demonstrates leadership through example, knowledge, attitude)
Deb Terrell has been growing luffa for 18 years and is very knowledgeable. Her love of luffas has earned her the nickname - Luffa Lady. She eagerly shares this knowledge to assist others in growing luffa. She also offers luffa seeds with those who asks for them.
Ms. Terrell encourages feedback from others regarding the products made from what she has produced on her farm.
Environmental Impact (Nominee demonstrates a positive impact on the local environment via policy change, product offering, significant volunteer contribution or other achievement)
Deb Terrell has created a wide variety of products from the luffa that she has grown on her farm. Luffa has historically been used as a scrubbie or exfoliant for the skin, but Ms. Terrell has cleverly created many new uses for the luffa such as cat toys and home decorator items such as pumpkins, Christmas trees, etc.
The new innovative product from Nature’s Circle is ChiDamaLuffa. This is a new horticultural practice and a form of bonsai in which luffa and string are used to wrap plants making a delightful way to grow them. While many plants can be grown in this manner, ChiDamaLuffa seems particularly well suited for orchids and succulents. An instruction sheet is provided with each ChiDamaLuffa plant so that the new owner can properly care for the plant. Ms. Terrell also teaches others how to make their own ChiDamaLuffa plants.
Ms. Terrell creates healthy dog treats from goats’ milk produced by the dairy goats raised on her farm and luffa soap.
Community Impact (Nominee demonstrates commitment to DFW green community through involvement with causes, business ventures or organizations)
Ms. Terrell educates any comers to her booth at farmer’s markets and festivals about the environmental benefits of luffa and moringa. She also distributes luffa seed to others so that they can grow luffa in their own home gardens to benefit the local pollinators.
Ms. Terrell volunteers with a local girl scout troop, educates them about beekeeping and our relationship with bees. She also assists them with their projects.
Ms. Terrell uses Zoom meetings to educate students and the community.
Ms. Terrell has served on the Aurora City Council since 2019. Her main motivation for running for City Council was due to environmental issues.
Ms. Terrell is promoting the concept of horizontal hives to the community. Typically, beekeepers use the Langstroth model, a vertical type of hive. Vertical hives are convenient to the commercial beekeeper but the horizontal hive model is better for the bees.
Other reasons for your nomination
Deb Terrell strives for excellence and integrity in all that she does. She continually seeks new and innovative ways to use the fruits of her farm. She passionately and tirelessly encourages others to grow luffa because of its benefit to the honeybees and other pollinators. And as Ms. Terrell will tell you, “Education is what we do.”