BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - University of Illinois Extension would like to congratulate the following McLean County Master Gardeners on receiving state awards from the Illinois Master Gardener program. Award winners were recognized at an online conference and awards ceremony on September 10. 

Volunteers Michael Parker and Anita Norton were recognized as 2021 Outstanding Master Gardeners in Illinois. 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. 

Monarch Butterfly on Flower
If you see the McLean County Master Gardeners gardening or teaching in your community, make sure to thank them for their outstanding efforts in improving the community and helping others learn to grow. (University of Illinois Extension)

Since completing Master Gardener training in 2017, Michael Parker has emerged as an advocate, teacher, and trainer of tree pruning. Michael has actively shared his knowledge and skills of tree pruning and maintenance teaching and training fellow Master Gardeners as well as personnel within other local and regional organizations. Michael has also volunteered in several Master Gardener projects and community activities. 

Anita Norton has proven to be a leader, educator, and worker bee since she became a Master Gardener in 2013. She leads the LeRoy Jr. Master Gardener Club project, working with students from kindergarten through 4th grade on a weekly basis. She also is a mentor at the Sarah’s Garden project where she teaches and illustrates how to care for heirloom flowers in the historic garden. 

Tom Creswell received the Sustained Excellence Award, which was established to honor Illinois Master Gardeners who have previously received the Outstanding Award and have continued to demonstrate distinction in the program. Tom Creswell became a Master Gardener with the class of 2013 and earned the State Outstanding Master Gardener Award in 2016. He has served as McLean County Master Gardener President, Client Services Chair, Holton Homes Project Co-Chair, Liaison to Extension Advisory Council, and has taken on various roles for our annual Home Lawn and Garden Day including stage chair, volunteer coordinator, presenter, and announcer. His familiar voice also can be heard on WJBC radio during Master Gardener guest hours. 

Congratulations and great job to all of the recipients. Remember if you see the McLean County Master Gardeners gardening 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.   


SOURCE/WRITER: Brittnay Haag; Horticulture Educator, University of Illinois Extension


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