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Sharon Becker
Program Coordinator, Horticulture
University of Illinois Extension
402 North Hershey Road
Bloomington, IL 61704
Phone: 309-663-8306
FAX: 309-663-8270
sbecker@illinois.edu

Kelly Allsup
Extension Educator, Horticulture
University of Illinois Extension
402 North Hershey Road
Bloomington, IL 61704
Phone: 309-663-8306
FAX: 309-663-8270
kallsup@illinois.edu

Livingston County Master Gardeners

Livingston County Master Gardeners

2011 Outstanding Master Gardener

Connie Kostelc Honored as Outstanding Master Gardener

Connie Kostelc, Livingston County Master Gardener recieved the Illinois Outstanding Master gardener Award at the State Conference July 7, 2011. Connie has a Bachelor of Arts in History, a Master's in social Anthropology and has taught at high school, college and graduate levels. She also was a freelance writer and photographer and feature writer for our local paper The Daily Leader in Pontiac.

Her other gardening affiliations include: Herb Guild of McLean County and Fairbury Garden Club.

She became a Master Gardener in 1998, part of the first class given in McLean County. She chose her major project to landscape Prairie Horizon Apartments. This is a group home for developmentally disable people that work at Futures Unlimited. She even used plants from her own garden. She also taught classes in their community room on various aspects of gardening and plants.

She gave a variety of talks at civic events during the year including: container gardening, herb gardening, volunteering, bringing plants in from their summer vacations and starting plants from seeds. She has written articles for local newsletters including ones on weeds and herbs and written for "Imagine".

Using garden photographs she had taken, she put together a display board that we use at presentations and programs. She has served as superintendent at the 4-H Fair in Pontiac and as a judge at the Fairbury Fair. She also planned and talked at workshops that we have had at our office and at garden walks.

With the Pontiac Public Library she has coordinated weekly speaker forums with questions and answer sessions. She has personally presented a variety of library programs for both children and adults, like starting you own plants and cooking with herbs. Also with another Master Gardener she helps maintain a memorial garden outside the library. Also she helps maintain a garden at the historical Jones House in Pontiac.

With the Fairbury Garden club she has worked on many committees including the fair, the garden walks and doing the publicity for the club. For several years she has been chairman for the annual Westview Grade school flower show.

Over the years with Herb Guild of McLean County, she has held various officers, including president, grown plants, worked at the annual plant sale, worked at both the trail garden and Funk's Prairie Home garden.

She has organized groups to do programs with 4-H and neighborhood beautification project with Mid-Central Community Action. She also has been involved with Livingston County Soil and Water District's "Ag-Expo" for grade school kids.

Besides doing the above programs, she has worked booths at the Senior Fair, Women's Health Night, OSF Golden Care presentation day and Fem Fun. She assisted at Woodridge Assisted Living Center to help design and plan a vegetable garden for residents. She also took several field trips with this group to Humiston Woods to help with tours, including an Earth Day celebration.

As executive officer she has planned many educational trips for us. Examples: Luthy Garden, (Peoria), Midwest Growers Association, (Granville) and Wilken Worm Farm (Ashkum). Also Mari-Mann Farm, (Decatur), Permaculture workshop (Stelle), Weber House Garden (Streator), Aqua Ranch (Flanagan) and some Bloomington tours.

She has kept up with her education by attending nearly all the telenets available and attending Master Gardener conferences in Champaign/Urbana and Bloomington, Joliet, Kankakee and Rockford.