Timothy Daly, Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent in Gwinnett County, was chosen as the recipient of the 2020 Award of Excellence presented by the Georgia Master Gardener Association (GMGA). Recognized for his efforts to coordinate 150 Master Gardener Extension Volunteers (MGEVs) who report more than 12, 000 hours annually, Timothy trains new volunteers annually and has offered several Advanced Training opportunities for veteran MGEVs. Timothy offers MGEVs a number of fun projects and activities in which to participate, including community exhibits, a demonstration vegetable garden at McDaniel Farm Park, and quarterly interpretive garden walks at Vines Park. Congratulations, Timothy!!
This Award of Excellence provides important recognition for the efforts Extension agents make to lead strong Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Programs in their counties. Vibrant MGEV programs have a clear vision for sharing research-based horticulture and gardening information with the broader community, and this vision starts with the Extension agent. Agents move mountains to train and prepare MGEVs at multiple levels, including a solid basic introduction to plants and gardening, continuing education, and opportunities to train at advanced levels. A broad mix of projects showcase the knowledge and skills of MGEVs while meeting community needs for answers, information, how-to guidance, and encouragement. When agent vision and volunteer preparation come together with fun, rewarding projects, we see many indicators of success – clients who seek guidance from MGEVs and feel confident in the advice they received and their ability to follow it; children excited to grow plants (even Brussels sprouts!); teachers using gardens as instructional tools in their classrooms; curious people following knowledgeable interpreters through thriving demonstration gardens and making changes in their own gardens and plants. We see volunteers eager to learn and happy to serve.
It takes many hours, lots of emails and phone calls, and the support of many people, such as program assistants and project leaders, to coordinate successful MGEV Programs. Many of those hours are thankless, yet so essential to healthy MGEV programs. As a state program coordinator, I am grateful for this award and the opportunity it presents to recognize Agents who invest in volunteers to share plants and gardening with our Georgia communities.
Thank you to GMGA for its partnership in offering the Award of Excellence to a much-deserving agent in recognition of leadership with an MGEV Program. Thank you to George JeBurk, outgoing GMGA President, for his outstanding leadership in initiating this award in 2019. Thank you to GMGA for continuing to support the award! I have much appreciated the opportunities to work alongside George, Phillip, and others as we have found our way in an unusual year.