Source: Brittnay Haag
University of Illinois Extension
Serving Livingston, McLean and Woodford Counties
(309) 663-8306 • email@example.com
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – University of Illinois Extension congratulates the following McLean County Master Gardeners on receiving state awards at the Illinois Master Gardener Conference in East Moline on September 6.
The Outstanding Master Gardener State Award was established to honor the best of Illinois Master Gardeners. Only the top 2% of Illinois State Master Gardeners win this award annually. They must exceed in leadership, determination, positivity, initiative and be highly involved in the program. Susan Crumbaugh, Jo DeVore, John Elterich, Karen Irvin, and Denise O’Brien were recognized as 2019 Outstanding Master Gardeners in Illinois.
The Sustained Excellence Award was established to honor Illinois Master Gardeners who have previously received the Outstanding Award and have continued to demonstrate distinction in the program. Pat Epsicokhan, Karl Hedding, and Elaine Yoder were honored.
The Master Gardener Teamwork Award was established to honor projects which have made a difference in the community and Extension. The group of Master Gardeners had to show a focused team approach to a project, innovation, or improving an existing project to serve their community better. McLean County Master Gardeners part of this team were Deb Curcio, Jo DeVore, Karen Irvin, Chris Kraft, Sue Stroyan, and Elaine Yoder.
Susan Crumbaugh has been recognized for her positive nature, upbeat personality, and enthusiasm propelling her involvement at the Unity Community Center After School program and volunteering at Sarah’s Garden. Jo Devore has been involved in a wide variety of Master Gardener projects, including Holton Homes Nature Workers 4-H SPIN Club, the herb garden at Illinois State University Horticulture Center, and chair for the public relations committee. John Elterich has been instrumental in maintenance and programming at Sarah’s Garden at David Davis Mansion, as well as serving at the Master Gardener speakers’ bureau chair. Karen Irvin has been a key leader among the Junior Master Gardener programs, serving as committee chair for two years and leading the effort of developing teaching kits for all of the Master Gardeners to use at their projects. Denise O’Brien has been a dedicated volunteer at Sarah’s Garden at David Davis Mansion since completing the training. She often offers her excellent photography skills to the Master Gardener program, documenting project progress for historical record keeping.
Pat Epsicokhan, a Master Gardener since 2011, has been involved in multiple committees and projects, including serving as client services committee chair, herb garden chair, and secretary for the advisory council of the group. Karl Hedding, a Master Gardener since 2003, has been involved in most of the projects, served multiple terms as treasurer of the advisory council, and was instrumental in the creation of the Advocate BroMenn Meditation Garden this year. Elaine Yoder, a Master Gardener since 2011, is always willing to help out when asked. She has been very active among the Junior Master Gardener projects, including Holton Homes Nature Workers 4-H SPIN Club, Bloomington Junior High School Garden Club, and the development of the Junior Master Gardener teaching kits. These individuals are great leaders among the McLean County Master Gardener program.
The Junior Master Gardener Teaching Kit Committee, Deb Curcio, Jo DeVore, Karen Irvin, Chris Kraft, Sue Stroyan, and Elaine Yoder, all former or retired teachers, brainstormed the idea of creating Junior Master Gardener Teaching Kits that included all the necessary resources that could be of use to any of the Junior Master Gardener projects. They developed 8 user-friendly kits complete with an inventory list, lesson plans, supplemental information, books, posters, and activity supplies. Kits have been used by several Junior Master Gardener projects of varying ages, and have even been adapted for adult programs.
Congratulations and again great job to all of the recipients. If you see a McLean County Master Gardener working or teaching in your community, make sure to thank them for their outstanding efforts in improving the community and helping others learn to grow.
For more information about the McLean County Master Gardener program, visit us at go.illinois.edu/LMW_MG or contact the McLean County Extension Office at (309) 663- 8306.