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Livingston Master Gardeners Awarded by Brittnay Haag

The University of Illinois Extension would like to congratulate Livingston County Master Gardeners, Sandy Knight for being recognized as a 2017 Outstanding Illinois Master Gardener, and Dee Woodburn for being recognized as s 2017 Sustained Excellence Award Winner.

In her six years as a Master Gardener, Sandy's volunteer services and contributions to the Master Gardener program have more than exceeded expectations for this award. The Outstanding Master Gardener Award was established to honor the best of Illinois Master Gardeners. Only the top 2% of Illinois State Master Gardeners receive this award annually. They must exceed in leadership, determination, positivity, initiative and be highly involved in the program.

Some of Sandy's greatest contributions to the community have been at the 4-H Park in Pontiac. In 2014, Sandy planned and developed a garden at the south gate of 4-H Park in Pontiac in collaboration with other Master Gardeners. She researched native plants, designed the garden, and coordinated its planting. She

partnered with the Livingston County AG Fair Board for funding, materials, and assistance. She expanded the program to include containers throughout 4-H Park. Each year during the 4-H Fair, Sandy helps plan horticulture activities for the 4-H youth related to the gardens.

Sandy is also involved in other Master Gardeners projects including the Junior Master Gardener Youth Enrichment lessons, speakers bureau presentations, and answering questions at the Master Gardener Help Desk. Sandy is always willing to help out where needed and is a wonderful asset to the Livingston County Master Gardener program.

Dee Woodburn, Master Gardener since 1998, is the recipient of the 2017 Sustained Excellence Award. The Sustained Excellence Award was established to honor Illinois Master Gardeners who have previously received the Outstanding Award and have continued to demonstrate distinction in the program. Dee has proven to be an exceptional example of the Master Gardeners. Only 10 of these awards were given this year throughout the entire state.

In 2015, Dee spearheaded the Dargan Park Project in Pontiac. She was approached by the Pontiac Woman's Club to help establish a pollinator garden in the park. Dee used her excellent leadership skills to plan the project and bring it to completion. She was instrumental in coordinating all of the steps for the developing project, including designing, coordinating the planting and maintenance, and developing educational components for the garden. Dee shared this outstanding project to the community with her presentation entitled "Birth of a Garden." Dee described the creation and success of this garden project in this presentation. The garden continues to flourish today. The garden brings many people to this city park, and its beauty is a welcome sight to visitors.

Dee shows her enthusiasm for gardening and sharing gardening knowledge in many ways. She is heavily involved in the Master Gardener program, including answering questions at the Master Gardener Help Desk, 4-H Park Gardens, and Yost House Garden. Dee also enjoys working with 4-H youth to give tips on gardening and related topics.

If you see Sandy or Dee working in the gardens or teaching in the schools, make sure to thank them for their outstanding efforts in improving the community and helping others learn to grow.