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Master Gardener program honors volunteers for community service

Posted 6/16/2014

Group picture of Master Gardener Graduates

The spring 2014 Master Gardener Training graduates.

The Master Gardeners of Southern Nevada held their annual Volunteer Appreciation and Awards Luncheon on Saturday, May 31 at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Lifelong Learning Center. During the past year, the Master Gardeners have volunteered 36,568 hours (with a value of $796,817) on over 30 community projects across the Las Vegas valley. Master Gardeners answer questions on the Home Gardening Help Line (702-257-5555), staff information booths at Farmers Markets, help at community gardens and teach free gardening classes at Acacia Park and other community venues.

Master Gardener (MG) Lonnie Baker was presented with the Silver Trowel award in recognition of contributing the most number of hours in 2013. She volunteered 887 hours on the Help Line, at the demonstration gardens, and gardening in small places projects. Baker has been a Master Gardener since 2011 and has also earned her Gold Badge for 3043 total volunteer hours.

Master Gardener Paulo Petit received the Silver Phone award for 436 hours on the Home Gardening Help Line. Petit has been a Master Gardener since 2012 and has volunteered at total of 1228 hours.

Honored for 20 years of service were Master Gardeners Mary Lawton and Richard Leifried. Receiving their 10 year pins were: Richard Cutbirth, Bob Peloquin, Linda Spahn and Amy Zeldenrust. Leadership pins were presented to new Chairpersons: Loretta Oakes (Acacia Park), Mary Wolfe (Demonstration Gardens), Linda Ward (Tivoli Farmers Market) and Anne Marie Lardeau (Seed Bank).

Silver Star recipients have contributed over 350 hours in one year, significantly more than the 50 hours required by the MG program. Their Master Gardeners projects included: Nellis Environmental Grove; Clark County Fair; herb, school and community gardens; hospice, Three Square Food Bank; demonstration orchard and Help Line. Recognized for their dedication were: Jo Reckling (521 hours), Rollie McHughes (472) Larry Nelson (470), Glenda Bona (442), Jodi Starkey (419), Rebecca Gonzalez (406), Kimberly Williams (396), Jimmi Meyer (385), Judith Kafantaris (378), Andy Anderson (376), Jeanne Toscano (367), Randy Dossat (358), Yutaka Nomura (356), Loretta Oakes (354) and Mary Duensing (351).

Four Master Gardeners were singled out as “All Stars” for consistently investing an inspiring number of hours in volunteer service: Don Fabbi (1563 volunteer hours), Richard Leifried (727 hours), Cliff Wood (747) and Dave Gaffney (700 hours).

Sixty-two Master Gardeners received milestone pins (awarded for every 250 hours) for reaching a new level. Fabbi, a Master Gardner since 1997 is at 18,000 hours of community service since joining the MG Program and Leifried, a 20-year veteran, has volunteered 20,500 total hours.

In addition to the awards ceremonies, the Master Gardeners welcomed the graduates from the spring 2014 training class. The new interns must complete Help Line training and contribute 50 volunteer hours in order to become Certified Master Gardeners. Graduates were: Baba Anal, Stephanie Barkhuff, Michele Barnhart, Tina Bates, Mike Bell, Thomas Bohannon, Barret Carpenter, Krista Cook, Laura Cyr, Paige Dickerson, Sue Dirocco, Anna Dittmann, Jean Eggleston, Brian Ehlers, Tennille Foreman, David Higgins, Lottie Horton, Rut LaMar, Marion Land, Melanie Long, Andy Mahalik, Kathy Matsumoto, Krissie Mayry, Jane Mellott, Shirley Meyer, Jessica Miller, Paul O’Bannon, Schuyler Reckling, Barbara Schumacher, Kristal Slough, Cicely Smith, Leslie Starck, Rick Swadling, Judy Tuttle, John Valente, Peter Wahlquist, Pat Warren, Chet Wolfe and Joseph Zitello.

For more information on the Master Gardener Program or the spring 2015 training class, email Antoinette Edmunds, program coordinator or call 702-257-5587. You may request the monthly community newsletter by emailing Mary Bertsch or calling 702-257-5501.

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