Darren Gruner Named the 2022 Environmental Communicator of the Year - Pro Landscaper Magazine USA

Darren Gruner Named the 2022 Environmental Communicator of the Year

by | May 4, 2022 | Associations, Awards, Environment, Featured Slider, Landscape Architecture, People

Project EverGreen Sponsors the national Environmental Communicator Award 
with the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association

Cleveland, Ohio (May 4, 2022) — The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) and Project EverGreen announce that Darren Gruner, founder and CEO of Turf’s Up Radio is the recipient of the 2022 TOCA Environmental Communicator of the Year Award. 

The award, which recognizes individuals for outstanding communications efforts regarding publicly managed green space and environmental issues, was presented during this year’s TOCA Annual Conference in Kansas City. Gruner is the 23rd recipient of the award.

Gruner, who is also the principal at Totalscape Design in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, has been involved in the landscape industry since high school when he launched a lawn mowing service. The experience taught him how the business world works and made him appreciate both the aesthetic and environmental benefits of well-maintained green spaces. 

In 2010, the New Jersey native started doing podcasts and guest hosting on local stations and satellite radio to fill a void he felt existed in the landscape and lawn care industry. The goal was to help elevate and educate the green industry, sharing many years of experience with those who were eager to listen.

In 2019, Gruner combined podcasting with live 24/7 radio and broad internet exposure to launch TurfsUp Radio, a platform that is accessible to green industry professionals and consumers across the country and globally. Turf’s Up Radio offers a variety of live programming and podcasts covering everything from tips on financial management and sales to industry news and plant health. The network currently has 50,000 monthly listeners. 

“We wanted to create a forum where the industry can come together and exchange information, share ideas and connect through their love for the outdoors and all the benefits it provides,” said Gruner. “The green industry is a terrific place to make a living and have a positive impact on the environment and people’s lives, and Project EverGreen has given me the opportunity to give back to communities in need of professional volunteerism.”

Gruner is an active volunteer with Project EverGreen’s GreenCare for Communities initiative. He has put his talents to work on urban green space renovations projects in New York City, New Jersey, Florida, and Michigan that have transformed underused and struggling green spaces into vibrant community hubs that provide numerous social, economic, and environmental benefits to residents.

“Darren is a gifted communicator whose natural curiosity and demeanor brings out the best in his guests and listeners on Turf’s Up radio. With regular radio shows on running a business profitably, to in-the-field tips to industry trends and innovations, the impact of the information presented day in, and day out is priceless,” said Cindy Code, executive director of Project EverGreen. “Through his volunteer community work, he’s been instrumental in sharing with gardeners and consumers the know-how needed to maintain a healthy green space.”

Previous Environmental Communicator Award recipients include:

1999 – Mark Welterlen, former publisher Grounds Maintenance magazine 
2000 – Bill Love, W.R. Love Golf Architecture

2001 – Tim Doppel, Atwood Lawn Care

2002 – Doug Fender, former executive director, Turfgrass Producers International

2003 – Allen James, former CEO, RISE

2004 – Rod Dodson, Audubon International

2005 – Jeff Gullickson, Spokane Country Club

2006 – Kevin Trotta, grounds manager/IPM specialist, Cornwall, NY

2007 – Helen Stone, Southwest Trees & Turf magazine

2008 – Allied Golf Associations of Colorado

2009 – Drs. Larry Stowell/Wendy Gelernter, PACE Turf

2010 – Christopher Gray, formerly Marvel Golf Club

2011 – Anthony Williams, formerly Marriott Golf and golf course consultant

2012 – Dr. Frank Rossi, Cornell University

2013 – Phil Fogarty, Weed Man and Crowley’s Vegetation Management

2014 – Brandon Horvath, University of Tennessee

2015 – Dr. Brian Horgan, University of Minnesota
2016 – Dr. Dave Shetlar, The Ohio State University 

2017 – Dr. Frank Wong, Bayer Environmental Science

2018 – Mayor Mike Duggan, Detroit, Michigan
2019 – Norman Goldenberg, Namron Business Associates
2020 – Karen Reardon, RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment)

Photo Caption: Turf’s Up Radio founder Darren Gruner (center) receives the 2022 TOCA Environmental Communicator of the Year Award from Project EverGreen’s Cindy Code (left) and TOCA’s Kristy Mach (right).


About TOCA

The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) is composed of editors, writers, publishers, photographers, public relations/advertising practitioners, industry association leaders, manufacturers and others involved in green industry communications. From its beginnings in 1990, it has served members of the green industry by fostering an open exchange of information regarding issues that affect how members communicate to various audiences.

About Project EverGreen

Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Project EverGreen is a national non-profit committed to bringing people together to make a difference in how our yards, parks and communities create a greener, healthier, cooler Earth. Project EverGreen supports the health and vitality of green spaces in communities nationwide through our GreenCare for Communities and GreenCare for Troops™ initiatives.

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