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UF/IFAS Extension Polk County Master Gardener Volunteer Projects Earn International Recognition

UF/IFAS Extension Polk County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer programs will be recognized for excellence during the 2021 International Master Gardener Conference, hosted by the Virginia Extension Master Gardener Program.

Typically, the awards are presented in person, however, due to the unusual circumstances of the past year, the conference is virtual. The conference is attended by more than a thousand program volunteers from most of the 50 states, Canada, and South Korea.

Innovative projects, second place award for the Garden Guide & Journal. Photo credit: Anne Yasalonis, UF/IFAS Extension

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 Gardeners 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 volunteer Master Gardener Coordinators who demonstrated excellence and service to the Extension Master Gardener Program.

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

2nd, Innovative Projects, Your Polk Yard Garden Guide and Journal

3rd, Demonstration Gardens, Audio Tour

Currently, there are eighty-eight Master Gardener Volunteers in who support University of Florida 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.

Demonstration Gardens, third place award.

Demonstration Gardens, third place award. Photo credit: Anne Yasalonis, UF/IFAS Extension

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/.

The Plant Clinic is open Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-4:00 pm to answer your gardening and landscaping questions. The Plant Clinic is currently closed to walk-in visitors, but give us a call, or email us at polkmg@ifas.ufl.edu.

If you are not in Polk County, Contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic..

The Florida Master Gardener Volunteer Program is a volunteer-driven program that benefits UF/IFAS Extension and the citizens of Florida. The program extends the vision of the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, all the while protecting and sustaining natural resources and environmental systems, enhancing the development of human resources, and improving the quality of human life through the development of knowledge in agricultural, human and natural resources and making that knowledge accessible.

An Equal Opportunity Institution.