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Have you been missing your fellow MGEVs and your Extension agent because you’ve been sheltering in place? Have you been thinking about the great achievements of your local MGEV program because of your agent’s leadership? Now is a good time to nominate them for an Award of Excellence!

Last year, the Georgia Master Gardener Association (GMGA) established the Award of Excellence in Consumer Horticulture. This award is specifically for agents who provide leadership to MGEV programs to support consumer horticulture education for the public. You can read more about how the award was developed and last year’s honoree in this Trellis post.

This award is significant because it fills a professional void for agents with MGEV programs. Agents submit dossiers for promotion that are expected to include awards and recognition for a job well done. Professional associations offer awards for publications, campaigns, and programs that are often sponsored by commodity groups. Agents who address consumers (and there are millions in our state!), however, have few opportunities to earn recognition for their investments in recruiting, selecting, training, and coordinating MGEVs to meet the demand for horticulture information and programming. There are very few awards that recognize leadership efforts with volunteers. While we are accustomed to recognizing our volunteers for their excellence, it’s not quite so second nature to recognize the UGA faculty who provide direction for local MGEV programs. This award not only fills that gap, but it provides a great opportunity to reflect on the excellent work going on in MGEV programs around the state.

This year, GMGA will once again offer the Award of Excellence in Consumer Horticulture. They are prepared to receive applications through September 2, 2020, when a diverse panel, including GMGA Board members and UGA faculty and staff, will review and score the applications. The winner will be announced in October at this fall’s GMGA conference (more details here) and in November at the 2020 Georgia Association of County Agricultural Agents (GACAA), a professional association for agriculture agents.

Did I mention that the stakes are high?? In addition to receiving this special honor, the agent honoree will receive a framed certificate of recognition and a cash award of $250. Sounds pretty good to me!

Agents have shared that it feels awkward to nominate themselves for the award. It helps to be encouraged by MGEVs to complete the application. You can place your agent in the running for this distinction in two ways:

  • Encourage your agent to apply for the award! Let them know of the opportunity if they are not already aware it. Direct them to this year’s application located here.
  • Complete the application for your agent! Simply download a copy of the application from GACAA’s award site. You’ll need basic information about your agent’s leadership efforts with the MGEV program that can be found in their dossier. Simply ask them to share a copy with you. If you prefer to keep the nomination a surprise, ask your county office staff to help you find the information.

Thank you for encouraging your agents to apply for this distinction! It is a privilege to recognize excellent work. It is also important to provide professional recognition for consumer horticulture programming along with traditional agriculture programming. Much appreciation is extended to GMGA for providing the leadership for this award!

PS: Don’t forget…award applications are due September 2, 2020!

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