Blog Banner
Sarah s1
click image to view 4 more

McClean County Master Gardeners win International SFE Award

Posted by Monica David -

The Search for Excellence program (SFE) is the recognition program for Master Gardener volunteers throughout the USA and Canada. SFE has seven categories in which Master Gardeners can demonstrate their outstanding contributions to their communities.

University of Illinois Extension McLean County Master Gardeners have been awarded second place in the Innovative Project category and were recognized at the International Master Gardener Conference on September 23 for their continued work at Sarah's Garden at the David Davis mansion. One of the judges said "I particularly like the mentor/mentee program where Master Gardeners used a training manual, prepared programs and tour guide resources to assist new MGs in working on the project." Another judge said "This is a wonderful garden restoration project that is a benefit to so many in the community."

Sarah's Garden is an original, restored 142-year old treasure at the David Davis Mansion State Historic Site in Bloomington, Illinois. The Master Gardeners of McLean County partner with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and the David Davis Mansion Foundation Board to restore and care for the garden, and provide educational programming and tours in Sarah's Garden.

This collaboration resulted in Master Gardener development of ever-expanding educational efforts for youth and the public while restoring this unique historic quarter-acre flower garden as a living museum with seven plants original to its 1872 creation and 70 more documented heirlooms.

University of Illinois Horticulture Educator, Kelly Allsup, particularly thought the youth aspect of Sarah's Garden was innovative in 2014. Master Gardener-led educational programming for youth was delivered through third grade field trips, summer girl scout workshops, a fourth grade garden photography workshop and 4-H programs.

Collectively 38 Master Gardeners reported 1377 volunteer hours to Extension for Sarah's Garden activities.

For more information or to visit the David Davis mansion and gardens visit


Please share this article with your friends!
Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter Pin on Pinterest


Email will not display publicly, it is used only for validating comment