NC State Extension Master Gardener Volunteers Honored for Excellence in Gardening Education

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Three women display award plaques.

Extension agent Ashley Troth (center) and Extension Master Gardener volunteers Melinda Heigel (left) and Deborah Pilkington (right) accepted the awards during the International Master Gardener Conference.

The International Master Gardener Search for Excellence program recently honored NC State Extension Master Gardener℠ volunteers from Durham County for their exceptional work in gardening education and Extension outreach. Volunteers received two prestigious awards in recognition of the positive impacts resulting from the following projects:

  • Education Through Social Media & Blog Outreach – Focusing efforts to cultivate an online following and create connections through social media have enabled Master Gardener℠ volunteers in Durham County to reach a broader and more diverse audience with research-based gardening information.
  • Cocoa Cinnamon Demonstration Container Garden – Transforming neglected planters outside of a local coffee shop in Durham has created opportunities for Master Gardener volunteers to teach city residents about gardening in limited spaces.

Extension Master Gardener volunteers Deborah Pilkington and Melinda Heigel, along with Extension horticulture agent Ashley Troth, accepted the awards on behalf of their fellow volunteers during the 2023 International Master Gardener Conference, held June 18-22 in Overland Park, Kansas.

We congratulate and celebrate the Extension Master Gardener volunteers of Durham County and their agent, Ashley Troth! We are grateful for your commitment to promoting sustainable horticulture practices, educating the public, and improving the health of our communities and environment.

The David Gibby International Master Gardener Search for Excellence is the recognition program for outstanding Master Gardener volunteer work across the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and South Korea. Held every other year, the awards program invites Master Gardener volunteers to submit educational projects that result in significant learning in these categories: Demonstration Gardens, Youth Education, Innovative Projects, Special Needs Audience, Research, Community Service, and Workshop or Presentation.

The NC State Extension Master Gardener℠ program is a statewide network of volunteers and Extension educators working in N.C. Cooperative Extension county centers and on NC State’s campus. Through education and outreach, we connect people with the benefits of gardening and empower North Carolinians to cultivate healthy plants, landscapes, ecosystems, and communities.

Learn how you can join, support, or connect with Extension Master Gardener volunteers in your community through your local N.C. Cooperative Extension county center.