Peoria County has Award Winning Master Gardeners

May Bach and Jennifer Bass were honored for their outstanding contributions to University of Illinois Extension's Master Gardener Program during the 2017 Illinois Master Gardener Conference in Normal.

May and Jennifer were among 36 Master Gardeners receiving the State Outstanding Master Gardener Award. They are each involved in various projects in the Peoria area.

May Bach was trained as a Master Gardener in 2010 and Master Naturalist in 2013. Since becoming a Master Gardener she has been involved in numerous projects, including the Peoria Farmers Market, Bel-Wood and Courtyard Estates of Farmington Nursing Homes, Peoria Home Show, Wildlife Prairie Park Kim St. John Butterfly Habitat, speaker's bureau, and more. May was part of a team of volunteers that first coordinated the new native butterfly habitat house at Wildlife Prairie Park. She educates children using age-appropriate activities, such as creating pollinator garden seed balls. Nominator Lyn LaHood wrote in May's award application, "May is a wonderful example of a devoted, caring, and hardworking Master Gardener. Her compilation of these qualities has taken devotion, hard work, and leadership to a new level."

Jennifer Bass has accomplished much since her training in 2013, completing an impressive 550 volunteer hours in her first three years. Jennifer "Helps Others Learn to Grow" at ICC gardens in E. Peoria, Wildlife Prairie Park, and the Peoria Home Show. She is responsible for a recent revitalization of the long-neglected ICC Hosta Garden. At the Wildlife Prairie Park Heritage Garden she hosted a student garden club and instructed the students in fall garden activities. Her leadership goes beyond the garden to include a seat on the Peoria Master Gardener Board, co-chair of the 2017 Peoria MG Plant Sale, and Bradley University's OLLI curriculum committee.

Congratulations to May and Jennifer on their outstanding awards. You can view pictures and learn more about Master Gardener programs in Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties at