Illinois Extension Educator retires with three decades of service

Horticulture expert and author Richard Hentschel retires April 29

Richard Hentschel

ST. CHARLES, Ill. – For 45 years, Illinois homeowners, Master Gardeners, industry professionals, and professional growers have relied on the knowledge and skills of horticulture expert Richard Hentschel, who is retiring from University of Illinois Extension April 29. 

For nearly 30 of those years, Hentschel has served as a horticulture specialist and educator, lending his expertise in food production, lawn care, fruit trees, pest management, woody ornamentals, and school and community gardening. Although mainly based in northern Illinois, Hentschel has helped train hundreds of Master Gardener volunteers around the state.

“Richard’s wealth of experience and wide spectrum of knowledge will be missed not only here in our counties, but all around the state,” said County Director Deanna Roby-Vorgias, serving DuPage, Kane, and Kendall counties. “His informative yet approachable manner made him popular with Chicagoland and statewide media as well as with residents and colleagues who followed him online.”

Hentschel’s well-liked blog, column, podcast, and video series made seasonal guidance and practical tips readily available and accessible to Illinois residents since 2011. In the early 2000s, he helped develop a large catalog of online videos with former Extension Educator Greg Stack, making the duo some of the first horticulturalists to embrace this educational format.

A University of Illinois alumnus, Hentschel holds both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in horticulture. In 1980, he started with Illinois Extension in Rock Island County before moving to Kane County through 1990. He also worked as executive vice president for Pickle Packers International before resuming with Illinois Extension in 2005, first in Cook County and then DuPage, Kane, and Kendall counties. Hentschel also served as president of the Illinois Extension Agricultural Association and as an Illinois Farm Bureau advisory board member.

“Extension allowed me to grow professionally and personally throughout my career,” said Hentschel. “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to share quality, research-based information from land grant universities to our communities. It has been a joy to work with amazing people and help residents address challenges and grow their knowledge.”


SOURCESRichard Hentschel, Horticulture Educator, Illinois Extension | Deanna Roby-Vorgias, County Director, Illinois Extension

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension, the public outreach and engagement arm of the University of Illinois, translates research-based knowledge into actionable insights and strategies that enable Illinois businesses, families, and community leaders to solve problems, adapt to changes and opportunities, make informed decisions, and carry technical advancements forward into practice.