Master Gardener program recognizes volunteers of the year

August 5, 2011

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Tam Martin has been named statewide Master Gardener of the Year for her work with the Oregon State University Extension Master Gardener program.

Two other master gardeners are co-recipients of the statewide "Behind the Scenes" award and 26 others have been recognized as Oregon Master Gardeners of the Year in their counties.

OSU Extension master gardeners are trained volunteers who share with the people of Oregon their knowledge of sustainable gardening and OSU resources in home horticulture, according to Gail Langellotto, OSU Extension urban and community horticulture specialist and statewide coordinator of the Master Gardener program. More than 4,000 people across the state are OSU master gardeners.

Martin, who lives in Tualatin, has been a master gardener for seven years and is a graduate of Oregon's first online master gardener training course. She has been president and vice president of the Oregon Master Gardener Association and recording secretary of the Washington County association.

She and her husband Gary, also a master gardener, have opened their pet-friendly garden to the public for gardening tours and workshops. She also works full time at Tektronix, and has hosted plant clinics at the company to connect master gardener volunteers with Tektronix employees to answer gardening questions.

Michael Noak and Jean Natter received the "Behind the Scenes" statewide award for supporting the OSU Extension Master Gardener program in ways that are not always evident. Although Noak has been the Lincoln County representative to the Oregon Master Gardener Association, taught classes and workshops and been the voice behind public service announcements, he also works many hours behind the scenes in preparation for each role.

Natter was the Oregon Master Gardener of the Year in 2007 and recognized in 2008 with a Cooperators Award. However, few people know the number of hours Natter gives behind the scenes to ensure that the information master gardeners deliver is accurate and up to date. She is the first Master Gardener of the Year to also win the Behind the Scenes award. The awards were given because of the many classes she teaches, master gardeners she trains and mentors and innovations she has brought to support the program. She is heavily invested in the Washington County phone clinic hotline and remains on call when she isn't on shift to help answer difficult questions.

Baker County: Melinda Sherrieb
A Master Gardener for four years, Sherrieb coordinated and organized the 2011 master gardener training classes. Her volunteer efforts make it possible for OSU Extension to offer the Master Gardener program in Baker County.

Benton County: Paula Lupcho
A Master Gardener for five years, Lupcho is a strong supporter of the OSU Extension Master Gardener program and has served in a variety of leadership positions within the Benton County Master Gardener Association.

Central Oregon — Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson counties: Vicky Kemp
A Master Gardener for three years, Kemp helped the Neighborhood Impact Food Bank create a vegetable garden. She worked with Food Bank members to plan the layout of the garden and offered advice on how to plant and maintain it. She also put in the garden irrigation system.

Clackamas County: Joby Duggan
A Master Gardener for four years, Duggan coordinates the Clackamas County gardening hotline. She solicits and coordinates volunteers to keep the phone hotline staffed.

Clatsop County: Carey Birkenfeld
A Master Gardener for two years, Birkenfeld has co-chaired many public outreach events, including Bird Discovery Day, Fuchsia Day at Fred Meyer and the popular Clatsop County Master Gardener Spring Garden Seminar. In 2010, she gave 179 hours of volunteer service to the Master Gardener program.

Columbia County: Chuck Petersen
A Master Gardener for four years, Petersen helps maintain the OSU Extension demonstration teaching garden and oversees the tomato section of the Columbia County master gardener spring plant sale. He was also a member of the Oregon Master Gardener Association strategic planning committee.

Coos County: Blair Holman
A Master Gardener for seven years, Holman volunteers his time at the OSU Extension Plant Clinic and Ladybug Landing Garden. He has been president of the Coos County Master Gardener Association, and it was during his tenure that the Lakeside Community Garden came into being, in large part because of Holman's efforts.

Curry County: Chuck Stanton
A Master Gardener for six years, Stanton supports the work at Little Bear Patch Garden (at Kalmiopsis Elementary School) as publicity director. He has worked for the Curry County Master Gardener Association and initiated the popular Garden/Art Tour that connects tourists and residents with local artists in garden settings that are both beautiful and educational.

Douglas County: Maureen Benice
A Master Gardener for five years, Benice has given more than 1,600 hours of volunteer service to the OSU Extension Master Gardener program in five years. She can be found at farmers' markets, in the Extension office, at Kruse Farms and at the county fair answering gardening questions. She is a certified pruning instructor and is taking advanced plant problem diagnostics classes, all to better teach others about sustainable gardening. This year, she will serve as the master gardener training assistant to help the OSU Extension agent deliver winter training programs.

Central Gorge (Hood River) County: Jordan Kim
A Master Gardener for five years, Kim is assistant manager of the Hood River Soil and Water Conservation District. As a volunteer master gardener, she teaches community workshops on noxious weeds, stormwater management and rain gardens. She has been a project leader at the Learning Garden at the Hood River County Extension office, where she designed and oversaw the creation of a demonstration bioswale.

Grant County: Joan Henry
A Master Gardener for six years, Henry volunteers her talents to the Grant County Extension office, teaching classes on vegetable gardening. She stays on top of the latest research on sustainable gardening to improve her own knowledge and to teach others about research-based gardening practices. This past year was the first time that OSU Extension offered a full master gardener training class in Grant County – in part, because of Henry's efforts.

Jackson County: Janet Rantz
A Master Gardener for six years, Rantz has been a mentor and co-chair of Grandma's Garden at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center. She has also chaired the popular "Winter Dreams, Summer Gardens" symposium and has helped to arrange local talks by more than 30 speakers, many of whom come from out of town to share their knowledge and expertise.

Josephine County: Skeeter Guardione
A Master Gardener for three years, Guardione has propagated many new and different perennials for the Josephine County Extension demonstration garden. She's also worked on the "Seeds of Spring" seminar and is a greenhouse mentor. Because of her efforts, master gardeners have developed educational outreach materials on gardening for birds and on fire-resistant plantings.

Klamath County: Robin Volk
A Master Gardener for four years, Volk has been integral to the Master Gardener program in Klamath County. She has co-chaired the garden fair, works many hours in the greenhouse and is active in 4-H.

Lane County: Scott and Gail Sandgathe
Master Gardeners for six and four years, respectively, the Sandgathes have opened their garden for diagnostic training classes and helped the Master Gardener program move from the old Extension office to a new location. They often go beyond the call of volunteer duty and are credited with helping many master gardener projects run successfully.

Lincoln County: Pam McElroy
A Master Gardener for five years, McElroy has had several leadership positions in the Lincoln County Master Gardener Association. She works at the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse garden and helped construct the master gardener demonstration garden at the Oregon Coast Community College in Newport. You can find her in the OSU Extension Office or at your local farmers' market answering your gardening questions. An avid "mushroomer," she shares her knowledge and enthusiasm for mushrooms with her fellow master gardeners.

Linn County: Larry Steele
A Master Gardener for two years, Steele has been active in the Linn County demonstration garden, where he designed and maintains the Purple Passion Garden (all purple edibles) and the Some Like it Hot Garden (showcasing a variety of peppers). Because of Steele's dedication, dependability, kind heart and eagerness to help, the number of volunteers working in this educational garden has grown from five to 30.

Marion County: Linda McGeath
A Master Gardener for five years, McGeath works in the herb and perennial sections of the Marion County master gardener demonstration garden. She spends many hours taking cuttings and propagating and tending herbs for educational outreach programs and the annual plant sale.

Multnomah County: Gloria Bennet
A Master Gardener for six years, Bennet works in the community demonstration garden on a weekly basis. She also coordinates the Multnomah County gardening hotline. In this position, she coordinates more than 130 master gardener volunteers who provide research-based and objective answers to gardening questions. A former OSU Extension agent, Bennet brings her knowledge and experience to OSU and the Extension Master Gardener program.

Polk County: Lois Martin
A Master Gardener for seven years, Martin is so quiet that most people don't know the level of contributions she has made to OSU Extension and the Master Gardener program. She has been president, newsletter editor and historian of the Polk County Master Gardener Association and chaired the popular Polk County Fall Fling. She volunteers at the Gentle House garden, and helps coordinate the plant sale, which provides annual funds for two OSU scholarships and to purchase books for five local libraries.

Tillamook County: Linda Stephenson
A Master Gardener for six years, Stephenson taught elementary school for 31 years, and has lived in Tillamook County since marrying her high school sweetheart. Now that she is retired, she continues to give to her community by volunteering with OSU Extension. You can find her mentoring new master gardeners or at the farmers' market answering gardening questions.

Umatilla County: Sue Stefancik
A Master Gardener for five years, Stefancik has been president, secretary and treasurer of the Umatilla County Master Gardener Association. She teaches yardstick gardening and supports local community gardens by teaching when and where needed.

Union County: Deb Hoffnagle
A Master Gardener for six years, Hoffnagle helped coordinate the master gardener trainings this year, making it possible for OSU Extension in Union county to offer this popular program to the community. She is active in the community garden in La Grande and has helped with the high school plant sale. Hoffnagle makes sure to connect master gardener volunteers with local events and programs that can benefit from master gardeners' time and knowledge.

Wasco County: Garry Peterson
A Master Gardener for eight years, Peterson is a member of The Dalles Imagination Garden team, and has provided countless hours of support for the garden. From hauling bark chips to teaching students to grow their own fruits and vegetables, Peterson's volunteer service benefits the community in many ways. He also works with junior master gardeners at Chenowith Elementary School and has helped plant pathologists at OSU document and better understand what was causing the decline of walnut trees in The Dalles. In part because of Peterson's efforts, OSU plant pathologist Jay Pscheidt was able to document that Thousand Cankers black walnut disease was established in Oregon, such that Peterson received recognition in a research team report.

Washington County: Barbara Knopp
A Master Gardener for five years, Knopp has supported the Washington County Master Gardener Association by serving on the Board of Directors, recruiting new board members and organizing hospitality at all association meetings.

Yamhill County: Marcia Sherry
A Master Gardener in Oregon for three years, Sherry also was a master gardener in Ohio before moving to the state. In Oregon, she has been president and vice president of the Yamhill County Master Gardener Association. She mentors new master gardeners, has chaired the scholarship committee that gives monies to local high school students who plan to pursue horticulture in college, and has served as the "Send-A-Friend" chairperson to raise funds for master gardeners across the state to attend the annual statewide master gardener conference.

The awards are sponsored by the Oregon Master Gardener Association in cooperation with OSU Extension's Master Gardener program.

Author: Judy Scott