Posts Tagged ‘international master gardener conference’

Apply for 2013 International Master Gardener – Search for Excellence Awards by November 1

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012


It’s that time again — the 2013 International Master Gardener Search for Excellence Award Applications are Due, November 1, 2012.

IMG Search for Excellence

International Master Gardener Search for Excellence Awards


What Are the Search for Excellence Awards All About?

The Search for Excellence (SFE)  Awards recognizes superior Master Gardener volunteer work internationally (throughout the United States and Canada).

SFE has seven categories in which Master Gardeners can demonstrate their outstanding contributions to their communities

  • Youth Programs
  • Demonstration Garden
  • Workshop or Presentation
  • Community Service
  • Innovative Projects
  • Special Need Audiences and Research

Submit a Search for Excellence Application Now

All SFE applications must show that significant learning took place, whether by the Master Gardeners or the general public. The Search for Excellence Award recognizes the highest quality within our Master Gardener programs Internationally. If you think your local Master Gardener project is outstanding, send in your application soon.

The SFE guidelines and application are posted at the bottom of the International Master Gardener’s Conference 2013 homepage. Please note these details when submitting an SFE application submission:

  • The DEADLINE for IMGC SFE applications has been extended to NOVEMBER 1, 2012.
  • We will send out notification of who has won by February 1, 2013.
  • Awards will be presented September 7, 2013 on the International Master Gardener Conference 2013 – Alaska Cruise.

Take a look at the 2011 SFE winners on this blog.  There are some very inspiring projects and I hope they will tweak your interest to send in an application or start a new project in your local Master Gardener Program.

-Patty Driscoll

Search for Excellence Award Blog Posts (Listing by Project Category)

Monday, February 6th, 2012
IMG Search for Excellence

International Master Gardener Search for Excellence Awards

In early November, Monica David, the 2011 IMGC vice president, announced we would be sharing 18 blog posts about each of the Extension Master Gardener volunteer projects that received a 2011 International Search For Excellence Award. These projects were awarded among six project categories during the 2011 International Master Gardener Conference.

Blog Posts Created New National Recognition and Discussion Opportunities

This year, blogging about these award winning projects helped bring new recognition and understanding of the value of Extension Master Gardener volunteers through pageviews on this blog, shares through our Facebook page, and retweets on Twitter.

Many of these projects received kudos in the blog’s comments section and created opportunities for Extension Master Gardeners from different states to discuss and learn about how local programs are participating in similar or different ways across the United States. To make these blog posts easier to access and find by category, we’ve grouped the 2011 International Master Gardener Search For Excellence award winning blog posts by project category and listed them for you below.

As you work toward new volunteer projects this year, you may want to take another glimpse at these posts, share these with a friend, or perhaps add your insights to the comments sections for a particular project that applies or resonates most with you….or (hint, hint) perhaps these posts will encourage your local program to submit an application for the 2013 International Master Gardener Search for Excellence Awards!

Blog Posts by Project Award Category

Workshop attendees learn how to properly construct their own rain barrels in Macon, County Iowa

The next International Master Gardener Conference and Search for Excellence Awards will take place in 2013.  For more information on the next International Master Gardener conference, see the IMGC 2013 Website or Facebook page.

Karen Jeannette
eXtension Consumer Horticulture Content Coordinator

2011 Search for Excellence Community Service Award Winner- 3rd Place

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Share the Health Educational Garden- Cuyahoga County, Ohio

The STH Garden is a project involving three entities: the village of Gates Mills, the Master Gardeners of Cuyahoga County, and Magnolia Clubhouse of Cleveland.  Five years ago, two Master Gardeners started to grow vegetables for the needy on land provided by the village.  Since that time the garden has grown in area, the amount of food produced, and the number of people involved.  Only sustainable gardening practices are used to grow the food.

Master Gardeners in the greenhouse after a bountiful harvest.

The STH garden donates its entire harvest each year to Magnolia Clubhouse.  Magnolia Clubhouse is a day program for adults with mental illness.  Last year, the STH garden provided over 2000 pounds of fresh vegetables to the Clubhouse.  This resulted in savings of $150 per week in Magnolia’s food budget.  Clubhouse members discovered they liked some vegetables they had never enjoyed before.

Last year, twenty eight Master Gardeners volunteered at one time or another in the garden, as well as ten community members.  Volunteers come to the garden each Monday at 9 am from March to November to do what is needed.  The STH garden would not exist without the involvement of those who donate resources, including the Gates Mills Improvement Society, the Ivy Garth Seed Company, community members, and the Master Gardeners of Cuyahoga County.

Master Gardeners raise vegetables organically to give to disabled adults

The Master Gardeners work with Magnolia House to determine the best products to grow, based on nutritional value, food preferences and preparation.  Each year the Master Gardeners try new vegetables, but staple crops of green beans, tomatoes, beets and potatoes provide consistency.  The Garden is grown organically for the most part.

Master Gardeners raise vegetables organically in their community garden.

This garden, with its mission to donate all food grown to needy individuals, is the first of its kind in Cuyahoga County.  Education is a key component of this mission.  Community members and Master Gardeners have attended sessions on preserving herbs and three-season vegetable gardening.  Magnolia Clubhouse members have also visited the garden to learn about the crops grown and garden care.

This year the garden won several different awards for its efforts.  The Gates Mills Garden Club was awarded first place in Ohio for the educational exhibit provided by the STH garden.  In the Ohio Master Gardener community service contest, the STH garden earned first place!

Whom might I contact for more information about the STH garden?

Gwen Morgan, 440.823.1591,
Sharon Klimm, 440.248.8567,

To learn more about Cuyhoga County Master Gardeners visit their webpage at

Written by Sharon Klimm, Cuyohoga County Ohio Master Gardener

2011 Search for Excellence Innovative Project Winners- 3rd Place Tie

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Two projects: Emerald Ash Borer Awareness/Management by Greene County Ohio Master Gardeners and Grow It! Eat It! Summer Camps by Anne Arundel County Maryland Master Gardeners tie for third place in the Innovative project category at the International Master Gardener Conference.

Emerald Ash Borer – Greene County Ohio Master Gardeners

Ohio’s Greene County Master Gardeners were awarded the Search for Excellence Award, 3rd place, at the International Master Gardeners Conference for their Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Program.  In their thorough approach, the Master Gardeners worked with local government to not only raise general awareness but to manage the impact of the EAB.

Master Gardeners check a city tree for signs of EAB damage.

Seminars and meetings reach 1000+

Under the leadership of Thais Reiff, Xenia, Ohio, the group hosted three major seminars and 40 group meetings, reaching over a thousand government officials, landscape professionals, and private citizens.  To emphasize the need for EAB training and provide all Ohio Master Gardeners information, they developed, aired, and archived nine EAB and tree related training programs over the internet.  This innovative program delivery provided the impetus for the creation of the Ohio State University sponsored “EAB University.”  For more information, visit:

EAB Tree Inventory of ~25,141 Green County Specimens

Lead by retired engineer, Steve Mehaffie, Beavercreek, Ohio, the Master Gardeners and volunteers inventoried every city-maintained tree in Greene County, totaling approximately 25,141 specimens.  To achieve this amazing feat, Steve provided a thorough document, “Guide to the Beavercreek Tree Inventory”.  Also, he shared his tree inventory techniques in 90-minute presentation on “How to Do a City Tree Inventory” for organizers. The goal was to allow local governments to better manage their urban forests in light of the EAB infestation.  Both presentations are available to all Master Gardeners throughout Ohio and beyond at:

For more information, visit

Written by Susan Richardson, Greene County Ohio Master Gardener


Grow It! Eat It! Summer Camps – Anne Arundel County Maryland Master Gardeners

Anne Arundel County, Maryland Master Gardeners also received a third place award for their project with youth- Grow It! Eat It! Summer Camps.

Children enjoy getting their hands dirty while learning about soils and nutrition at Grow It Eat It Summer Camp.

Basic Food Gardening Lesson for Youth in Summer Camps

In partnership with the Anne Arundel County Recreation and Park, Annapolis City Recreation and Parks, and the Family and Consumer Sciences at University of Maryland the MG established a lesson on basic food gardening for underserved youth between ages six and twelve who were attending Recreation and Parks summer camps.

Lessons included Soil and Nutrition, Seeds, Plant Parts, Whole Grains, and Colors. Over 760 children attended the camps where they learned basic gardening principles and were given the tools to make healthier choices at home. The Master Gardeners were also asked to return to work with children ages four and five to introduce basic gardening concepts.

For more information visit the website at

posted by Monica David, IMGC Vice President

2011 Search for Excellence Innovative Projects Winners- 2nd place

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

The Grass Roots project by the  Chesterfield County Master Gardeners from Virginia received second place in the Innovative Projects category at the International Master Gardener Conference for their project which emphasized sustainable lawns.

Homeowners are often frustrated with the condition of their lawn and tired of throwing away money on seed and fertilizer, only to see no improvements.  They can get to the ROOT of the problem through the Grass Roots Program!

A site visit begins with measuring the lawn area.

Site visits create healthy lawn, protect watershed

Grass Roots offers Chesterfield County residents the chance to learn about and remedy the specific problems contributing to their lawn’s current condition.  We offer personalized recommendations tailored to each lawn’s needs, which when followed can lead to a “green” – both beautiful and environmentally-friendly – lawn.

The program includes a site visit by a Master Gardener volunteer who measures lawn area, collects soil sample(s) and completes a detailed site evaluation, including information on soil compaction and weed cover.  Cooperative Extension staff uses this information in conjunction with soil test results to make specific recommendations for each lawn.

In the past 14 years, the Grass Roots program has helped over 4,600 county residents adopt lawn care practices that provide them with healthier turf and protect the watershed from excess fertilizers and pesticides. Surveys show that past participants are very happy with the information they received and the results they are seeing in their lawns.

An Extension Master Gardener takes soil samples to test for nutrient management and pH.

For more information about this Extension Master Gardener program, see Chesterfield County Master Gardener site

Written by Susan Edwards, ANR Technician and Master Gardener Coordinator, Chesterfield County, Virginia Cooperative Extension
Posted by Monica David, IMGC Vice President

2011 Search for Excellence Innovative Project Winners -1st place

Monday, November 7th, 2011

The Emerald Ash Borer/Ash Tree Inventory project by the Boone County Illinois Master Gardeners was awarded first place in the Innovative Projects Category at the International Master Gardener conference. Barbara Wych, chairperson for this project tells us about this award winning effort:

Boone County Master Gardeners show the results of mapping ash tree locations in one township which was surveyed.

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) First Found in Michigan

In the summer of 2002, a ½” long bright metallic beetle native to areas of Asia, was first discovered in the United States near Detroit, Michigan.  This insect is the Emerald Ash Borer and as its name implies, it only uses ash trees during its life cycle.  Tree damage occurs as the larvae or borer feeds on the inner bark, effectively disrupting the movement of water and nutrients and ultimately killing the tree.  If the Emerald Ash Borer is not contained and eradicated the impact of this borer on ash trees in North America will be similar to that of chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease.

EAB discovered in Illinois in 2006

Four years later, in 2006, the insect was discovered in Illinois.  Since Boone County is near this Illinois site, in 2009, the Boone County Master Gardeners took the opportunity to be proactive in the community.  We formed a partnership with the city and county governments, Illinois Department of Ag., the parks and conservation districts, Extension educators and staff.

Ash tree inventory helps community understand EAB impacts, make informed decisions

As part of the partnership, the Boone County Master Gardeners conducted an ash tree inventory by recording the GPS coordinates, measuring tree diameters and assessing the health of all ash trees on all county, township and city right of ways.  This information was entered into the county’s Geographic Information System (GIS) which plotted color coded locations of all the ash trees; green for healthy, yellow for declining and red for dead.  The Emerald Ash Borer/ Ash Tree Inventory project was conducted with two goals that were successfully met; to

1) provide the county with accurate ash tree impact data for resource planning and budgeting, and

2) to educate the community on Emerald Ash Borer facts to enable them to make informed decisions.

County Ash Tree Inventory saves $10,000

Master Gardener Barb Wych teaches homeowners about the Emerald Ash Borer.

In the process, the Master Gardeners inventoried nearly 3200 ash trees with almost 500 volunteer hours.  The inventory process was a cost savings of over $10,000 to the county but beyond that showed the value of Master Gardeners as a significant part of the community.

For more information about the University of Illinois Boone County Master Gardeners, visit:

Written by Barbara Wych, University of Illinois Extension Boone County Master Gardener
Posted by Monica David, IMGC Vice-President

2011 Search for Excellence Awards Presented at International Conference

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

International Master Gardener

On October 14, 2011 nineteen Search for Excellence Awards were presented at the International Master Gardener Conference in Charleston West Virginia. Search for Excellence is the recognition program of Master Gardener volunteer work throughout the United States and Canada.

19 Winners,  6 Categories

Awards are presented every two years at the international conference where volunteers gather to learn from each other and share project strategies with their peers from across the country.  Nineteen Master Gardener programs were recognized for outstanding achievement in programming from a field of over 100 applicants.

Winning projects were chosen on the basis of their originality and creativity; practicality of the program; simplicity of replication by other Master Gardeners and their significant impact on their communities.

First, second and third place awards were presented in six categories:

  • Innovative Projects
  • Community Service
  • Youth Programs
  • Workshop or presentation
  • Special Needs Audiences
  • Demonstration Gardens.

First place winners received a plaque and a small stipend to continue  their educational projects.  Congratulations to these Master Gardeners and Extension staff for their excellence in educating citizens about horticulture and good gardening practices.


SFE Projects Featured Here Starting Next Week!

Beginning on Monday November 7 and continuing each week for  the next six weeks, this blog will feature stories and pictures from each search for excellence award winner. Check back and learn about these terrific projects!

posted by Monica David, IMGC Vice President