Polk County Master Gardener Volunteers Earn International Recognition

conference logo features graphic of mountainsThe UF/IFAS Extension Polk County Master Gardener Volunteer program was recognized for excellence during the 2021 International Master Gardener Conference, hosted virtually September 12-17, 2021 by the Virginia Extension Master Gardener Program. The conference is attended by more than a thousand program volunteers from most of the 50 states, Canada, and South Korea.

The David Gibby International Search for Excellence Awards, named in honor of the founder of the first Master Gardener program, recognize exemplary group projects that show significant learning by the Master Gardener Volunteers or the public. The award-winning projects showcase the efforts and talents of Master Gardener Volunteers, often providing economic, environmental, educational, and health impacts. These innovative projects frequently serve as models, influencing the development of Master Gardener-led programs throughout the world.

The awards are divided into seven categories: Community Service, Demonstration Gardens, Innovative Projects, Research (Applied Scientific Methodology), Special Needs Audiences (Senior, Disabled Audiences, or Horticultural Therapy), Workshops or Presentations, and Youth Programs.

New this year, the Outstanding Volunteer Coordinator Award recognizes Master Gardener program coordinators who have demonstrated excellence and service to the Extension Master Gardener Program.

The UF/IFAS Extension Polk County Master Gardener Volunteer program placed in the following categories:

  • 2nd Place in Innovative Projects for "Your Polk Yard Garden Guide and Journal"
  • 3rd Place in Demonstration Gardens for their Audio Tour

Currently, there are 88 Master Gardener Volunteers who support the UF/IFAS Extension's educational programs in residential horticulture and Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ in Polk County. They help Extension better serve the home-gardening public by answering questions, speaking to groups, gardening in demonstration gardens, and participating in many other projects.

To learn more about the UF/IFAS Extension Polk County Master Gardener Volunteer program and how to apply for the 2021 training class, visit the UF/IFAS Extension Polk County website at http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/polk/.

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