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Local Master Gardeners honored for outstanding work

four master gardeners holding their teamwork awards

The 2023 Annual Master Gardener State Conference, held at the East Peoria Convention Center, honored thirteen Extension Master Gardeners and one team project in the Fulton, Mason, Peoria and Tazewell unit with state awards. 

Outstanding Master Gardener Award 

The Outstanding Master Gardener State Award recognizes the best of Illinois Master Gardeners, those whose engagement with the program is exemplary. This award is given to 1-2% of active Master Gardeners in the state each year. To qualify, nominees must complete 120 volunteer hours and ten continuing education hours annually. 

Local Outstanding Master Gardener award winners in 2023 include: Vickie Crosson, Allie Goudy, Joan Houser, Radine Kellogg, Jane Mottram, Karen Shelley, Fran Stroemer, Holly Tieg, Pat Wehage  

Sustained Excellence Award 

The State Master Gardener Sustained Excellence Award recognizes previous Outstanding Master Gardener Award winners who continue to advance in their MG career with new responsibilities and initiatives. To receive this award, winners must have been active volunteers earning 300 volunteer hours and 50 continuing education hours since receiving the Outstanding Master Gardener award. 

Four local Extension Master Gardeners were awarded the Sustained Excellence Award in 2023. 

Susan McCabe: A dedicated Master Gardener who channels her love and knowledge of gardening to contribute value to her community and others in need. She is committed to the development of the City of Pekin’s multiple pollinator gardens. 

Terry Meade: A Master Gardener since 2002 who serves in a leadership role for the planning of the spring garden day event called Gardeners’ BIG Day. She has used that knowledge and experience to help plan the State MG Conference hosted by the Fulton, Mason, Peoria and Tazewell unit in 2023 in East Peoria. 

Pam Scott: An extremely hard worker who has always loved flower gardening. She has been involved with the Morton Giving Garden for 12 years and assumed leadership of the project in 2019. For the past four years, Pam has also worked in a second community garden. 

Trudy Yazujian: A Master Gardener for over seven years who has led at least three different projects over the years and approaches each with enthusiasm and a spirit for learning and teaching. 

State Master Gardener Teamwork Award 

The State Master Gardener Teamwork award recognizes Master Gardener projects that are impactful, innovative, and replicable statewide. The goal of sharing excellent projects is to inspire other Master Gardener groups to grow their programs and maximize the education of their projects. 

In 2023, the Sow to Grow & Phoenix Community Gardens volunteers Janine Donahue, Sister Anna Flanigan, Sarah Smith, Anthony Tiraboschi, and Jaime Dooley were honored with this award. 

The Sow to Grow & Phoenix Community Gardens are in the North Valley neighborhood near downtown Peoria and were developed through a collaborative effort with City of Peoria, Phoenix Community Development Services, Junior League of Peoria, and U of I Extension Master Gardeners. The Sow to Grow Garden provides food and gardening opportunities for the residents of Glendale Commons, a supportive housing complex for homeless veterans, individuals, and families. The adjacent Phoenix Community Garden is designed to provide produce and greenspace for community members in the area surrounding Glendale Commons. Both gardens provide residents the opportunity to learn about planting, growing, and harvesting nutritious and healthy foods, growing flowers that attract pollinators, as well as participating in the gardening process. 

Congratulations to all the award winners. Extension is delighted that your dedication to the Master Gardener mission "Helping Others Learn to Grow," is recognized not only locally but across Illinois. 


You can enjoy more photos of the Award Winners and State Conference on our webpage.