Lifetime Award for Sydney Park Brown
Sydney Park Brown, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Horticulturist and Associate Professor Emeritus, was awarded the Lifetime Honorary Master Gardener Award at the 34th Annual State Master Gardner Conference last month. In her 39 years of working with UF/IFAS, Sydney contributed a great deal to the knowledge base of both the state Master Gardener volunteers and the general public.
Sydney is a UF alumna, having received her B.A in English Literature, her B.S. in Ornamental Horticulture, and her M. Ag. in Agriculture and Extension Education from the University of Florida. Sydney also received a doctorate degree in Adult Education/Curriculum Development from the University of South Florida.
After starting out as a horticulture program assistant with Volusia County Extension, Sydney served as the Urban Horticulture Agent/Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator for Hillsborough County for 28 years. In 2007 she transferred to UF's Plant City campus as teaching faculty and the state Extension Specialist in Consumer Horticulture.
When the Florida Master Gardener program was created, Sydney was responsible for bringing it to Hillsborough County in 1980, making them one of the first counties to implement the new program. In her time working with UF/IFAS and the Master Gardener program, Sydney has directly trained more than 600 Master Gardener volunteers.
Sydney has been a presenter at the state Master Gardener conferences more than 20 times, participated in numerous video conference and webinar presentations, authored over 40 EDIS publications, and has co-authored two books, "Your Florida Guide to Perennials" and "Your Florida Guide to Shrubs." She also was instrumental in developing several community and teaching gardens in Hillsborough County, as well as educational programs such as Compost Happens, Florida Yards and Neighborhoods, the statewide Master Gardener training curriculum, and the Florida Plant ID Learning Modules.
The Master Gardener program and residents throughout the state have benefited greatly from the knowledge that Sydney has shared during her time with UF/IFAS. "The effects of Sydney's dedication to the Florida Master Gardener Volunteer program will be felt for decades to come," says Wendy Wilber, statewide program coordinator. "Her vision helped to shape the program into one of the best in the country."
Sydney retired this past January after 39 years with UF/IFAS, but remains involved with UF/IFAS and the Master Gardener program.
Special thanks to Lesley Flemming who both nominated Sydney Park Brown for the award and gathered the information on Sydney's numerous accomplishments.