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Master Gardeners honored at awards luncheon

Posted 6/29/2010

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) Southern Area’s Master Gardeners celebrated numerous accomplishments at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon on June 2. Among the exceptional service awards, 10-year service awards and awards for volunteering more than 100 hours in a single year, Master Gardeners celebrated another milestone — the 1,000th Master Gardener trained since the Las Vegas program’s inception.

Linn Mills, a noted horticulturalist and former UNCE area director, and UNCE Professor Bob Morris were honored guests of the event. The two avid gardeners started the Las Vegas program in 1992-almost 20 years ago-in order to spread their knowledge throughout the region. The original Master Gardener program started in the state of Washington in 1972.

Nine Master Gardeners received honors for 10 years of volunteer service. Some recipients of the 10-year-service pin, such as Jane Gillespie and Jim Stubbs, have volunteered well over 3,000 hours since joining the program.

Master Gardeners are asked to volunteer a minimum of 50 hours each year in order to remain in the program. Many award recipients went above and beyond this request. Cliff Wood, a Master Gardener since 2002, received the Silver Trowel Award for contributing more than 776 hours this last year.

Wood’s citation read: "Cliff is a Master Gardener on a dual mission. He answers the public’s questions on gardening, and he promotes the Master Gardener program. He is on the help line all day every Tuesday, at the farmers market information table on Thursday and at the orchard or staffing community events booths on Saturday."

Since Nevada is the Silver State, silver awards are the program’s highest honors. Richard Cutbirth, who became a Master Gardener in 2004, won the Silver Phone award for volunteering the most hours on the group’s home gardening help line.

"Richard contributed 91 shifts. That’s 273 volunteer hours. He is a friendly, helpful voice to all callers. He is an avid researcher, and he relishes the unusual questions he encounters."

Six Master Gardeners received awards for volunteering more than 100 hours on the Master Gardener help line. In addition, UNCE honored 26 individuals who served as project chairpersons for various service projects such as community gardens, desert landscaping, farmers markets and many more. Eight volunteers received awards for contributing over 400 hours of service in one year.

Six group members were honored with the Fabbi — Leifried Exceptional Service award, which recognizes long-term dedication to the Master Gardener program and is based on nominations by fellow Master Gardeners.

For an extensive list of award recipients, visit the UNCE website at: .

The Master Gardener program is open to all individuals who accept the training and volunteer commitment. Master Gardeners have completed 72 hours (24 classes) of horticultural training offered by UNCE. They share their knowledge and desert gardening skills through the Home Gardening Help Line (702-257-5555), public presentations, information booths and community projects. Master Gardeners are experienced in successfully growing plants in the Mojave Desert — the hottest, driest and coldest of the North American deserts. This is an environment unfamiliar to many newcomers. By teaching what to plant and how to properly care for their landscapes or gardens, Master Gardeners save people money — on water, soil amendments, plant materials, etc.

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