Woodford Master Gardeners win state awardsEUREKA, Ill. – The University of Illinois Extension would like to congratulate Woodford County Master Gardeners, Barry Ankney, Karel Kaufman and Karen Kaufman-Dixon for their 2016 Outstanding State Master Gardener awards. The Outstanding State Award was established to honor the best of Illinois Master Gardeners. Only the top 2% of Illinois Master Gardeners win this award. They must exceed in leadership, determination, positivity, initiative and be highly involved in the program.
Barry Ankney of Washburn has been a Woodford Master Gardener for only two years and has already logged over 600 hours of volunteer service. Fellow Woodford Master Gardener Mary Niemi says, "Barry is the driving force to restore the Hosta Gardens at Illinois Central College that are recognized by the American Hosta Society." To add to the project, Barry created a "Hosta of the Year" garden and a "Miniature Hosta" garden. Barry showed not only great leadership in organizing, informing and recruiting other volunteers to work on this project but also presents several educational programs on the subject.
Karel Kaufman of El Paso has volunteered in the Master Gardener program for the past five years and has become an integral part of the group. She has led the Master Gardener plant sale for several years in a row, was instrumental in bringing programming to the El Paso Library and this past year, has begun to create a butterfly garden/pollinator pocket for the library and school to use as an outdoor classroom. Karel always plays a role in educational events, from the Gardener's Gathering and third grade 4-H Plant Science programs to the 4-H Show judging and horticulture booth.
Karel's sister, Karen Kaufman-Dixon of El Paso, co-chaired many of these volunteer activities in El Paso and also the Woodford Master Gardener plant sale. Karen also contributes to the Germantown Hills Middle School Garden and the monthly Eureka information booth. She has judged floriculture for the Woodford County 4-H Show for the past five years and participated in 4-H day camps. These two siblings lead the University of Illinois Extension to ask, "Do you have any more sisters?" Karel and Karen bring an amazing amount of positivity to the group.The next time you are at the Illinois Central College Hosta Garden or the El Paso Library pollinator pocket, please be sure to thank these three outstanding Master Gardeners for their contributions to our community.