Wreaths Across America Day

Congratulations to all Extension Master Gardener Groups that participated in Wreaths Across America Day on December 11th.
This event grew from the efforts of Worcester Wreath and others to adorn graves at Arlington National Cemetary. Worcester Wreath donates (literally) truckloads of wreaths toward the Arlington project and has done so long before many people took notice. Today, over 400 locations participate in remembering fallen veterans during the holiday season with wreaths from a variety of sources.  
A television news station in Youngstown, OH took notice of the Mahoning County Master Gardener's participation in Canfield. The event in Huntsville, AL recieved a nice write up in the local weekly newspaper, which included a mention of master gardener participation.
In 2008, the United States Congress unanimously decreed the second Saturday of December as Wreaths Across America Day.
From the Wreaths Across America (TM) website:
It is our hope that everyone in their everyday lives extends a handshake of gratitude to our American heroes.
WAA ceremonies are held at over 400 locations in the USA and 24 off shore. There is no charge to hold or attend WAA ceremonies.
WAA could not carry out its mission without the help of volunteers, location leaders, sponsors, fund raisers and the generous donations of trucking companies. We extend a special thanks to all involved. 
Holiday best wishes, Bill Hoffman – USDA/NIFA

Call for 2011 Search for Excellence Award Applications

The 2011 International Master Gardener Search for Excellence awards program application and guidelines are now available. Applications are due February 1st, 2011.

Search for Excellence Awards recognize master gardener volunteer work throughout the United States and Canada in seven categories:

  • Youth Programs
  • Demonstration Garden
  • Workshop or Presentation
  • Community Service
  • Innovative Projects
  • Special Need Audiences (Senior, Disabled Audiences or Horticultural Therapy)
  • Research (Applied Scientific Methodology)

Projects will be judged on their merit from work done between the years 2008-2010. They should be simple to replicate, practical, original, creative, and compatible with the missions of the master gardener program and cooperative extension.

Awards will be presented at the International Master Gardener Conference in Charleston, West Virginia October 11-14, 2011. Information on the 2009, 2008, 2007 awards can be viewed here.

Good luck with your application!

Bill Hoffman, USDA/NIFA

Master Gardeners Help to ‘Green’ the Fair Grounds

Question:  How does one plant 15,000 plants, 350 flowerpots, and check-in hundreds of 4-H exhibits?


The Nebraska State Fair has a new location but is still looking colorful with the help of Master Gardeners.  For years, Master Gardeners from the area have tended the grounds of the State Fair.  From May through September, volunteers plant, weed, and help cultivate all of the gardens and flowerpots designed to make the Fairgrounds colorful.  In 2010, the Nebraska State Fair has a new location but still has Master Gardeners in full force completing the tasks.  The flowerpots were planted and tended to by the new Master Gardeners and are being moved out to the core of the grounds for all Fair goers to OHH and AHH over.  When the Fair is over and the last corndog is eaten the Master Gardeners will meet to put the flowers to bed for the year and will await for the new and exciting plans for the new landscape of the Nebraska State Fair’s new home.

However, the volunteering does not stop with the care for the landscape of the Fair, these great volunteers also converge with all of the 4-H’s to the State Fair.  Master Gardeners arrive with the 4-H coordinators to help check-in exhibits, organize the displays, administer tests, and even direct traffic!  The State Fair would not be able to run as smoothly as it does without the great volunteers that arrive in May with the warm sun and continue through the last something on a stick is eaten!  Next time you attend your State Fair think about all of the people behind the scenes making your Fairgrounds look ‘Green’.

How are your State Fair Grounds landscaped?  What is your favorite part of the State Fair?

– Terri James, Extension Assistant-Urban Gardening
University of Nebraska-Lincoln