Skip to main content

Local Master Gardeners Win State Teamwork Award

FREEPORT, Ill – For the last two years, a dedicated team of Stephenson County Master Gardeners have been working in a partnership with the Freeport Park District to create and maintain demonstration gardens in Krape Park. These gardens serve as a way for park visitors to learn about plants that are suitable for the Northwestern Illinois climate. The gardens were part of the Voices Garden Walk and are also visibly seen at many events held within the park throughout the year. Visitors can enjoy the gardens that not only offer perennials—plants that continue to live year after year—but also native plants and deer resistant plants. The gardens are marked with basic details and even highlight plants that benefit pollinators.

On September 9, at the State Master Gardener Conference held in Tinley Park, the Krape Park Gardens volunteers: Robert McDonald, MaryBeth Smith, Joan Oliver, Clay Schroll, Mary Blair, Cheryl King, Debbie Schwartz, Jean Korte, Karen Valkema, Pam Hoffman and Carol Pinter were recognized for their hard work and dedication by receiving the University of Illinois Extension State Master Gardener Teamwork Award. This award is given for exemplary Master Gardener volunteer efforts. Together, this team has managed these beautified areas within the park by volunteering their time and knowledge.

“The team of Master Gardeners that work in the Krape Park Gardens exemplify the Master Gardener Mission, ‘Helping Others Learn to Grow,’” says Nikki Keltner, Extension Program Coordinator. “They take pleasure in offering quality demonstration gardens for the public to learn from and enjoy. The volunteers adopt the gardens and work on them according to their own schedule. This approach has expanded the ability to assist the Freeport Park District with these gardens and has strengthened this long-time partnership.”

University of Illinois Extension State Teamwork Award was presented to the Stephenson County Master Gardeners for their work in the Krape Park Gardens. A sign recognizing their achievement is displayed in one of the gardens in Krape Park.

To visit the gardens, go to Krape Park, 1799 S. Park Blvd. Freeport, IL. For more information about Master Gardeners or other University of Illinois Extension programming, contact Nikki Keltner, Program Coordinator, at 815-235-4125 or visit