Nancy Kreith aims to serve youth and adults of Cook County by bringing expertise and encouragement to those interested in using plants to benefit their lives. She extends her horticulture knowledge by educating and providing leadership for volunteers in the Master Gardener (MG) Certification Program and oversees their volunteer projects in the county’s south and southwest suburbs. Together with the help of MG volunteers thousands of county residents benefit from Extension programming.
Nancy received her Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and her Master of Science in Natural Resources and Environmental Science from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. During her graduate program, Nancy completed her individual research project on elements of sustainable school gardens and their potential as teaching tools.
Currently, Nancy shares her expertise by training Master Gardeners in the subject areas of soils, woody ornamental plants, vegetables, herbs, insects and landscaping. Her community outreach efforts focus on school and community gardening, engaging youth and adults at special events, and co-leading the Conservation@Home Program with Forest Preserves of Cook County.
Master Gardeners in Cook County
Cook County has a Master Gardener program and Nancy leads the south suburban Master Gardener (MG) volunteers. MG training is offered every other year in Cook County. Master Gardeners are required to complete their volunteer hours in the unit that they train with. There are affiliated but, separate Master Gardener programs for other parts of Cook County in the north suburbs and Chicago.
The Master Gardener adult volunteer program is nationwide. Master Gardeners are a vital link in getting horticulture information to the public through University of Illinois Extension offices. Education is what we're all about. With no products or services to sell, Master Gardeners can provide unbiased, research-based information from the University of Illinois to the public.
Master Gardener Speaker's Bureau
Master Gardeners are trained volunteers who enjoy helping people put horticultural knowledge to work. Several experienced Master Gardeners present programs about gardening to organizations of 15 or more people. All garden programs are PowerPoint slide presentation format developed by Master Gardeners and Extension horticulture educators. To schedule a speaker please fill out speaker request form.
Youth Horticulture Programs
University of Illinois Extension provides presenters that will engage students in hands-on learning experiences. If you would like to request a program for your South Suburban Cook County organization, please fill out youth program request form. Groups requesting programs should have a minimum audience of 15 people. Please submit your request at least 8-10 weeks in advance in order to coordinate our staff's and volunteers' schedules. Programs topics include: Insect Petting Zoo, Worm Composting, Planting Lettuce in a Bag, Planting Herbs in a Bag, and Monarch Butterflies Lesson and Craft.
School and Community Garden Support
University of Illinois Extension regularly assists school and community gardening projects by providing unbiased researched-driven information. Remote consultation via email and phone is provided year-round and on-site programming is provided based on the time of year. Request forms submitted in winter will be considered for spring installations. Request forms submitted in spring will be considered for summer/fall installation. Request forms can be accessed below.