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Master Gardeners earn two statewide awards

DeKalb County Master Gardener Joy Gulotta (right) receives the 2014 State Sustained Excellence Award at the State Master Gardener Awards.
DeKalb County Master Gardener Joy Gulotta (right) receives the 2014 State Sustained Excellence Award at the State Master Gardener Awards.

University of Illinois DeKalb County Master Gardeners celebrated two state awards in June.

Joy Gulotta, who has been a Master Gardener since 2007 and won the State Outstanding Master Gardener Award in 2010, received the 2014 State Sustained Excellence Award. A group of local Master Gardeners won a 2014 State Teamwork Award for the Sycamore History Museum/Engh Farm Project.

Gulotta chairs the high-profile courtyard demonstration garden at the DeKalb County Nursing & Rehab Center, and is in charge of the organization's two major fundraising events, the Gardener's Pathway Workshop in February and Garden Walk and Plant Sale in July.

Gardener's Pathway is a full day workshop co-sponsored by University of Illinois Extension and Kishwaukee College. The program features presentations from noted gardening experts, 18 breakout sessions, a keynote speaker, an exhibit hall and lunch. The Garden Walk and Plant Sale featues unique DeKalb County gardens plus a point-of-interest garden in the community.

The second award was given to 16 Master Gardeners whose devotion to the Sycamore History Museum at the Engh Farm earned them the 2014 State Teamwork Award. The DeKalb County Master Gardeners began volunteering at the Engh Farm in 2009, when the museum moved into the old farmhouse and Master Gardener Rod McQueen joined a garden committee. The two main goals for the Master Gardeners were providing educational opportunities and developing the old garden sites at the farm.

A vegetable garden was planted where the historical Engh Farm families had their garden, a kitchen garden was developed close to the museum, an heirloom perennial garden was rejuvenated, and an apple orchard went in. Master Gardeners lead community volunteers in tending the gardens. These gardens were intended to teach adults and children, grow food for the local food pantry, and provide cut flowers for local retirement centers, hospitals, and the public library.

The winning Engh Farm Project team is Ron Johnson, Rod McQueen, Cheryl Larson, Lidia Vitello, Barb Lindholm, Barb Pence, Bill and Sherry Riddle, Joy Gulotta, Carole Cook-John, Barb DalleMolle, Becky Stevens, John Prendergast, Ken Anderson, Alice Erikson (deceased) and Claire Personette (deceased).

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