Master Gardeners honored with state awards

DeKalb County Master Gardeners Pat Brennan and Rod McQueen were recognized with state awards at the Illinois Master Gardeners Convention.

Brennan, of Kirkland, was awarded Outstanding Master Gardener. He is invested in educating the Littlejohn School Garden Club about horticulture, health, food preparation and life skills. He spends time researching and taking courses to provide the best lessons possible for the third and fourth graders in this after-school program. By engaging students in sensory, hands-on learning, he has become a leader and role model. Besides the gardening club, he has contributed to the Horticulture Help Desk and Garden Walk. At the help desk, he is a thorough, careful researcher, and always on the lookout for new gardens for the Walk – not a task many committee members are willing to do.

“I know I can always use Pat as a sounding board,” said fellow Master Gardener and Garden Walk committee chairwoman Joy Gulotta. “His common sense and no-nonsense approach always puts things in perspective for me. I rely on his feedback.”

McQueen, of Sycamore, was recognized with the Sustained Excellence award. He has given more than 874 hours of volunteer service to DeKalb County Master Gardener projects in the past four years.

“He’s a ‘get things done’ type of person, and does it with a soft, effective touch,” Master Gardener Randy Moseley said. “This may be a bit of a subjective thing, but with a volunteer organization, it takes gentle but firm persuasion to get results, and Rod possesses those skills.”

McQueen showcases administrative skills in coordinating volunteers for the annual Garden Walk, the Horticulture Help Desk and the horticulture projects at the Sycamore History Museum.

“Sycamore History Museum hosts many worthwhile Master Gardener projects that provide education for children, youth, and adults. Plus, it is a great example of a joint community effort for the enjoyment of everyone in the area,” McQueen said.

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