Last week was National Volunteer Week, and Smith County Master Gardeners, a volunteer program of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, celebrated 21 years of volunteer service to the people of Smith County during an awards and recognition program.
In the past 21 years, Smith County Master Gardeners have volunteered more than 150,000 hours in many different educational and environmental programs and projects by helping gardeners, people working on their yards and youth, working one-on-one, answering questions at the Extension office and teaching through workshops, conferences, speaker’s bureau, demonstration gardens, school gardens, publications, news articles and many other activities.
In 2013, they volunteered 9,500 hours, and were involved in more than 20 different educational projects and programs.
At this past Sunday’s luncheon, 15 volunteers were certified as Texas Master Gardeners, having completed an intensive training, and volunteering a minimum of 72 hours during one year. Many put in well over the minimum required hours to become Master Gardeners by serving in community educational projects and programs and assisting horticulture programs conducted by the Smith County office of the Extension Service.
Master Gardeners receiving certification include, from Tyler: Donna Bryan, Jakki Edwards, Margaret Herring, Mack Humphreys, Pat Jessie, Brooks Kerr, Robert McRae, Nancy Martin, Rae Meinen, Brenda Orbaugh and Sheryl Rhodes; from Flint: Linda Boucher and Rebecca Bullock; from Bullard: Julia Lamberth; and from Brownsboro: Martha Fowler.
Several awards and recognitions were made during the luncheon.
n Pat Welch, of Tyler, was awarded Master Gardener of the Year for her dedication, involvement and leadership in several Master Gardener projects and activities. She also was recognized for volunteering the most hours in 2013, giving 614 hours of her time to various educational programs.
n The Project Award went to Joanie Matthews for her leadership in creating the 2014 Calendar — Garden Journal & Planning Guide.
n Hazel Bateman was recognized with the Youth Award for her work in creating the ImAGination Station at the East Texas State Fair.
n Cindy Harrington was presented with the Lifetime Award for her years of service to the organization and in the community.
n Anne Pattullo was given the Media Award for her articles in the Garden Tour booklet and her radio appearance promoting the Bulb and Plant Sale. Jean Smith received the Public Awareness Award for her radio and TV interviews about the Garden Tour.
n Sue Adee was recognized with the Sage Award, and a Special Award of Excellence was presented to Joanie Matthews.
n Rebecca Bullock was awarded Master Gardener Intern of the Year for her commitment and involvement in several Smith County Master Gardener projects during her first year of service. Sheryl Rhodes provided Most Intern Volunteer Hours with 115 hours.
n David Pierson, past Master Gardener president, presented the President’s Award to Monette Colman for her enthusiastic support to the Master Gardener organization. Other awards Pierson presented included the Helping Hand Award to Ronny Duncan; the Golden Work Glove Award to Charlie Colman; the “No Problem” Award to Monette Colman; and Certificates of Appreciation to Craig Reiland and Jim and Laquita Showen.
n Mark Chamblee, own-er of Chamblee’s Rose Nursery, was recognized with the Friend of Master Gardeners Award for his many years supporting our educational programs.
Also, 110 Smith County Master Gardeners re-certified as Texas Master Gardeners by fulfilling the minimum annual requirements of providing volunteer hours and receiving continuing education credits during 2013.
And 16 Master Gardener trainees finished the 2014 training last month, passed a written exam, and are now interns. They will have one year to donate a minimum of 72 hours to AgriLife Extension Service horticulture programs to become certified Texas Master Gardeners.
Applications for the next Master Gardener training, which will take place January through March 2015, will be available this fall.
Upcoming programs involving Smith County Master Gardeners include the monthly noon lecture, First Tuesday in the Garden — “Butterflies and Hummingbirds” on May 6 in the IDEA Garden. June 7 is the popular annual Spring Home Garden Tour.
Keith Hansen is Smith County horticulturist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. His web page is EastTexasGar dening.tamu.edu. His blog is agrilife.org/etg.