McLean County Master Gardeners receive state awards

McLean County Master Gardeners (from left) Elaine Yoder, Tom Creswell, Carol Csanda, Jo Devore, Kathie Otto, Mary Dellorto, and Barb Wells, were honored at the Illinois Master Gardener Conference in Springfield this September.
(Photo courtesy of U of Illinois Extension)

The following McLean County Master Gardeners on receiving state awards at the Illinois Master Gardener Conference in Springfield this September.

Barb Wells and Kathie Otto were recognized as 2018 Outstanding Master Gardeners in Illinois. The Outstanding Master Gardener State Award was established to honor the best of Illinois Master Gardeners.

Only the top 2 percent of Illinois State Master Gardeners win this award annually. They must exceed in leadership, determination, positivity, initiative and be highly involved in the program. Wells has been instrumental in maintenance and programming at Sarah’s Garden at David Davis Mansion, Unity Community Center Jr. Master Gardener program, and chairing Home, Lawn and Garden Day in 2017.

Otto has been a key leader at the Illinois State University Horticulture Center Herb Garden, Home, Lawn and Garden Day, Community Cancer Center Healing Gardens and the Therapeutic Horticulture Conference.

The two are always willing to help where needed and do so with a positive attitude and smiling face.

Mary Dellorto received the Sustained Excellence Award, which was established to honor Illinois Master Gardeners who have previously received the Outstanding Award and have continued to demonstrate distinction in the program.

Dellorto, a Master Gardener since 2007, has been involved in multiple committees and projects, including serving as president and treasurer of the group. Her attitude and great leadership skills are admired by all in the group.

The Holton Homes Jr. Master Gardeners/Nature Workers 4-H SPIN Club received the Master Gardener Teamwork award, which was established to honor projects that have made a difference in the community or Extension unit.

The group of Master Gardeners had to show a focused team approach to a project, innovation and improving an existing project to serve their community better. McLean County Master Gardeners part of this team were Carol Csanda, Tom Creswell, Elaine Yoder, and Jo Devore.

This project allows youth in the neighborhood to join a 4-H Special Interest (SPIN) club members who participate in gardening to exhibit vegetables and flowers at the McLean County 4-H Show every year.

In the process of preparing vegetables and flowers to exhibit at the 4-H Show, the young gardeners learn the necessary guidelines for producing and preparing fair exhibits.

Being part of the 4-H program allows club members additional educational opportunities and encourages leadership and citizenship development.

For more information about the McLean County Master Gardener program, go to or contact the McLean County Extension Office at 309-663- 8306.









— McLean County Master Gardeners receive state awards —-