DeKalb County Master Gardener volunteers honored

Volunteers with the U of I Extension Master Gardener program in DeKalb County were honored with a recognition dinner and awards ceremony on Aug. 11 at the DeKalb County Farm Bureau in Sycamore.

“This recognition ceremony was long overdue,” Extension Program Coordinator Connie Handel said in a news release. “We were not able to recognize all of the accomplishments from 2019 last year due to the pandemic, so this year we celebrated all of the DeKalb County Master Gardeners’ accomplishments from 2019 and 2020.”

The following volunteers were honored at the recognition ceremony:

Three statewide awards were earned by DeKalb County Master Gardeners in the fall of 2019. Pam Dively was honored with the State Outstanding Master Gardener Award for her exemplary leadership as the lead Master Gardener for the annual Garden Walk and Plant Sale events along with many other contributions to the program. Barbara Pence was honored with the State Master Gardener Sustained Excellence Award for, among many other things, leading the Horticulture Therapy Program at the DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center for the past nine years. The State Master Gardener Teamwork Award was presented to four DeKalb County Master Gardeners for their combined efforts on educational outreach projects. These projects included writing for the Daily Chronicle “How Does Your Garden Grow?,” column which has been running since 2004, writing articles for the DeKalb County Farm Bureau Connections Magazine since 2014 and putting together the DeKalb County Master Gardener Newsletter. Master Gardener volunteers Barb Lindholm, Janice Weber, Lidia Vitello and Barbara Pence were honored with this award.

Cathy Anderson, Caroline Bushong and Susan Russell earned the Mastering Urban Tree Health and Identification Advanced Training in 2019. Advanced trainings are above and beyond the annual continuing education that is required of all Master Gardeners in order to retain their active status. They provide education in topics related to the Extension priorities and will prepare Master Gardeners to provide programming for the public in these areas as well as become more proficient in answering questions related to these issues.

Years of Service Pins are a state sponsored award acknowledging active participation in the Master Gardener program. The following Master Gardener volunteers were awarded Years of Service Pins:

5 Year Pins – Ron Rood (2018), Kristin Borre (2019)

10 Year Pins – Randy Moseley (2019)

15 Year Pins – Paul Barrett (2019), Rod McQueen (2020), Lidia Vitello (2020)

Upon completing the Master Gardener instruction, trainees are elevated to the status of “intern.” They then have two years to complete 60 hours of approved volunteer work as a Master Gardener Intern. The DeKalb County Rookie of the Year Award is bestowed upon the Master Gardener intern who completes their 60 hours of volunteer work the fastest in a given year.

The 2019 Rookie of the Year was awarded to Susan Colgan.

The 2020 Rookie of the Year was awarded to Stephen Worley.

The Century Club Award is presented to all Master Gardeners, regardless of status, who volunteer 100 hours or more to the Illinois Master Gardener program in a calendar year. The following DeKalb County Master Gardeners received this award for the noted year:

2019 – Cathy Anderson, Paul Barrett, Susan Colgan, Pam Dively, Lori Brown, Holly Gresholdt, Joy Gulotta, Cheryl Larson, Barb Lindholm, Rod McQueen, Sheryl Nakonechny, John Prendergast and Janice Weber

2020 – Lori Brown, Barb Lindholm and Janice Weber

Cheryl Larson was the recipient of the 2020 Robert C. Brown Memorial Award and DeKalb County Outstanding Master Gardener of the Year. This annual award is presented to a DeKalb County Master Gardener who has contributed greatly and been very involved with the Illinois Master Gardener program.

A group of eight individuals finished the online Illinois State Master Gardener training in the summer and fall of 2020. The DeKalb County Master Gardener Interns for 2020 are Jennifer Boynton, Richard Dreier, Judy Hensley, Karen Irwin, Tom Plote, Kay Robinson, Bernadette Rynberg and Kimberly Smiley.

The following Master Gardener interns completed their requirements to become certified in 2019 and 2020: Diane Buzzard, Katherine Clement, Aline Click, Susan Colgan, Linda Slabon, Toni Tollerud and Stephen Worley.