The Pender County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Association held its annual awards luncheon earlier this year at Topsail Presbyterian Church.
Among the awards presented were pins recognizing volunteers for years of service, as well as for the number of total hours donated over their volunteer career. Twenty volunteers were recognized for achieving levels of service that included five years, 500 hours, and 1000 hours. Each year, the 70-plus volunteers who are active members of the Pender Extension Master Gardener Program donate more than 3,500 hours to the county’s Extension program.
Distinguished service awards were presented to four volunteers. The Golden Trowel Award, recognizing exceptional service to the association, was presented to Bobbi Crawford. A resident of Hampstead, Bobbi has served as treasurer for the organization since 2010. Carol Noble of Burgaw was awarded the Unsung Gardener Award in recognition of her dedicated service performed behind the scenes.
The highlight of the luncheon was the presentation of the Extension Master Gardener and Intern of the Year honors. Recipients of these awards are nominated by their fellow Master Gardeners. Karen Berger, a Watha resident, was awarded the Extension Master Gardener of the Year award in recognition of her extraordinary service. Since first becoming a master gardener in 2011, Karen has donated over 1000 hours of service to the volunteer program. Intern of the Year was presented to Floy Hamilton of Surf City, who as a first year extension master gardener volunteer has made exceptional contributions to the organization.
Extension master gardener volunteers are unpaid assistants trained by the NCSU Extension Service. To become an extension master gardener, individuals must attend an extensive training course and complete a 40-hour internship. Extension master gardeners share their knowledge of sustainable gardening and home horticulture resources by volunteering to answer questions and teach classes at the local Extension center, farmers markets, libraries, and local schools.
For more information about the NC Extension Master Gardener Program, visit ncstategardening.org or contact your local Extension center: in Pender County, call 910-259-1235; in New Hanover County, call 910-798-7660; in Brunswick County, call 910-253-2610.
Carol Noble is a Pender Extension master gardener.