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Livingston County Master Gardeners Receive State Awards by Brittnay Haag

Livingston County Master Gardeners Receive State Awards

PONTIAC, Ill. – University of Illinois Extension would like to congratulate the Livingston County Master Gardeners on receiving state awards at the Illinois Master Gardener Conference in Springfield this fall.

Diana McGuckin was recognized as a 2018 Outstanding Master Gardener in Illinois. The Outstanding Master Gardener State Award was established to honor the best of Illinois Master Gardeners. Only the top 2% of Illinois State Master Gardeners win this award annually. They must exceed in leadership, determination, positivity, initiative and be highly involved in the program. Since becoming a Master Gardener in 2014, Diana has been very active in the program and always willing to lend a hand when needed. She helped establish Polli Nator's Garden at the Flanagan Library in 2017. From writing grants to planting, and maintaining and garden, and now teaching programs to the community, she has turned this garden into a quintessential Master Gardener project. She has also been a key leader in youth horticulture initiatives of the group.

Connie Kostelc received the Sustained Excellence Award, which was established to honor Illinois Master Gardeners who have previously received the Outstanding Award and have continued to demonstrate distinction in the program. Connie, a Master Gardener since 1998, is a leader and educator who is always willing to go the extra mile to share her extensive horticulture knowledge and passion. She has been involved in every Master Gardener project and committee throughout her tenure, including Jones House and the Extension Office Pollinator Garden.

The Livingston County Master Gardener Youth Enrichment Lesson Committee received the Master Gardener Teamwork award, which was established to honor projects which have made a difference in the community or Extension unit. The group of Master Gardeners had to show a focused team approach to a project, innovation and improving an existing project to serve their community better. Livingston County Master Gardeners part of this team were Dawn Baker, Phil Baker, Linda Corban, Betty Dray, Jean Dunning, Carol Gardner, Cindy Kinate, Sandy Knight, Connie Kostelc, RaeJean Kuntz, Diana McGuckin, Cathy Montgomery, Jan Nussbaum, Jane Roeschley, Paula Trainor-Rosenbaum, Mary Schneider, Joan Smeltzer, and Vic Weichmann.

Master Gardeners have developed horticulture lessons that are offered to 2nd and 5th-grade classes in Livingston County. Lessons include insects, pollination, web of life, and seeds/germination. In the 5 years that the program has been offered, Master Gardeners have taught lessons at every elementary school in Livingston County. Over 1,900, 2nd and 5th-grade students in Livingston County have been impacted by this program.

Congratulations and great job to all of the recipients! And remember, if you see the Livingston County Master Gardeners 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.

For more information about the Livingston County Master Gardener program, visit us at or contact the Livingston County Extension Office at (815) 842-1776.