Extension Educator, Horticulture
Henry/Mercer/Rock Island/Stark Unit
321 W 2nd Avenue
Milan, IL 61264
Martha Smith provides leadership in horticulture programs in Henry, Mercer, Rock Island and Stark counties for both the home gardener and commercial horticulturists with emphasis in the area of herbaceous ornamentals.
Smith graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelors degree in ornamental horticulture. She earned a masters degree in education from Western Illinois University. While at the U of I she was an active member of the Horticulture Club and elected to the agriculture honor fraternity Alpha Zeta.
Smith started with Extension in New York serving as a horticulture agent for Cornell Cooperative Extension. She joined University of Illinois Extension in 1994 as a horticulture educator at the Macomb Center. Prior to her Extension career, Smith worked in several areas of the horticulture industry including grower, landscape designer, garden center manager and horticulture sales representative.
In addition to providing programs in ornamental horticulture, Smith has been actively involved in trialing new cultivars of herbaceous ornamentals at the Northern Illinois Research Center and hopes to continue her involvement in trialing in the counties she now serves.
Included among her awards and recognitions are the National Association of County Agriculture Agents Achievement Award for her leadership in the 4-seasons telenet series that has been offered throughout Illinois since 2003 and has received three Outstanding/Innovative University of Illinois Extension Team Awards.
Smith professional affiliations include currently serving as the Central Regional Director for the Perennial Plant Association, Illinois Green Industry Association, Illinois Certified Nursery Professional, American Conifer Society and the North American Rock Garden Society.
Home horticulture responsibilities include arranging and teaching Master Gardener Training, providing continuing education opportunities and advanced trainings for Master Gardeners, planning and implementing several seasonal educational events geared for the home gardener, and assisting with horticulture requests as needed.
Smith currently provides leadership for a the 4-Seasons Horticulture Telenet series offered state wide. This distance learning opportunity offers every unit the opportunity to present current horticulture programs.
Commercial horticulture involves working one-on-one with growers and horticultural enterprises as the need arises. Serving as the liaison between University of Illinois and Iowa State University, Smith is involved with planning cooperative educational programs for fruit and vegetable growers, attracting people from a four state radius. Smith also provides training for Green Industry employees to insure they are prepared and meet the demand for a qualified horticulture work force. She also has worked extensively with Illinois Department of Agriculture presenting Emerald Ash Borer programs across the state.