COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State University Extension Master Gardener volunteers were honored recently for their hard work and dedication in educating Ohioans about horticulture and spreading a love for gardening through activities and programs.
The Master Gardener State Conference and Master Gardener Awards and Dinner Program was recently held in Columbus, Ohio, with over 175 Master Gardeners attending the awards program, and over 300 attending the conference. Volunteers and Master Gardener programs from across Ohio were recognized during the program.
"These award winners are a small sample of the shining stars in the Master Gardener volunteer program. Volunteers from all over the state are working to better the quality of life in their community and are succeeding," said Pam Bennett, OSU Extension statewide Master Gardener volunteer coordinator. "They are educating citizens in best management practices as well as creating beautiful communities."
Volunteers and programs honored during the event include:
• OSU Extension Friend of the Master Gardener Volunteer Program -- Ted Verhoff, Allen County; The Turner Foundation, Clark County; Phil Keller, Delaware County. The Friend of the Master Gardener Volunteer award is new this year. Counties nominated an individual, group, or business that has supported the Master Gardener volunteer program.
• Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator of the Year -- Tammi Rogers, Coschocton County. Ellen Weilnau of Erie County was a regional winner.
• Master Gardener Volunteer Project of the Year -- Coshocton County, Ohio State Flag Garden; Defiance County, Revitalization of Sherwood Memorial Park; and Greene County, Emerald Ash Borer…Out of Adversity Comes Opportunity.
• Master Gardener Volunteer Project of the Year Excellence Awards -- Ashtabula County, The Ashtabula County Bud Club; Hamilton County, Greenacres' Herb Garden: A Labyrinth Walk; and Delaware County, Green Thumbs Gardeners' Fair. The Excellence Awards are also new this year. The awards recognize projects in youth, demonstration garden and education categories that were not top in their categories, but deserve recognition.
• Master Gardener Volunteer of the Year: Mary Strayer, Erie County. Regional winners include Myron Dellinger, Guernsey County; and Mitzi Baily, Warren County.
Ohio First Lady Frances Strickland presented the awards. She also received an honorary Master Gardener certificate. Only two certificates have been awarded by the Master Gardener Volunteer program, with former First Lady Hope Taft as the other recipient.
Over 3,000 OSU Extension Master Gardeners are present in 70 Ohio counties, providing outreach and education to nearly 250,000 Ohio residents. The Master Gardener volunteer program provides over 100,000 hours of service and nearly 30,000 hours of continuing education. Economic value of the program in the state totals $1.9 million. For more information on the OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer program, log on to http://mastergardener.osu.edu/.