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Master Gardener program honors volunteers

The master gardeners of Southern Nevada held their annual Volunteer Appreciation and Awards Luncheon on May 31 at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Lifelong Learning Center.

During the past year, master gardeners have volunteered 36,568 hours (with a value of $796,817) on more than 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 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 3,043 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 1,228 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 contributed more than 350 hours in one year, significantly more than the 50 hours required by the Master Gardener program. 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 (1,563 volunteer hours), Richard Leifried (727 hours), Cliff Wood (747) and Dave Gaffney (700).

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

In addition to the awards ceremonies, the master gardeners welcomed graduates from the spring 2014 training class. The 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, contact Antoinette Edmunds, program coordinator, at edmundsa@unce.unr.edu or 702-257-5587.

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