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University of Illinois Extension serving DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties

Kane County
535 South Randall Road
St. Charles, IL 60174-1591
Phone: 630-584-6166
FAX: 630-584-4610
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Master Gardener: M-F 10 am to 2 pm

DuPage County
1100 E. Warrenville Road
Suite 170
Naperville, IL 60563
Phone: 630-955-1123
FAX: 630-955-1180
Hours: M 11am - 7pm; Tu-Fri 8:30am-4:30pm Master Gardener: Tu-W-Thu 9 am to 12 pm

Kendall County
7775-B Illinois Route 47
Yorkville, IL 60560
Phone: 630-553-5823
FAX: 630-553-5871
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Master Gardener: M-F 9 am to 12:30 pm

News Release

U of I Extension Honors Kane Master Gardeners

ST. CHARLES, Ill. – University of Illinois Extension celebrated its Kane County Master Gardeners with an awards and appreciation night in October. The dedicated volunteer group has already completed more than 3,875 hours of service for 2017.

“Annually, our Master Gardeners volunteer thousands of hours throughout the county, and this year, more than 900 of those were answering questions that came into the Help Desk,” said Sarah Fellerer, Master Gardener Program Coordinator. “University of Illinois Extension truly appreciates these knowledgeable and giving volunteers and all they do to serve our Kane County communities.”

Master Gardeners share their own time and talents through the Master Gardener Help Desk, the Idea Garden, the Sherman Community Garden, various educational sessions, and community service projects and gardens throughout the year. The annual appreciation event recognizes outstanding service and commemorates milestones in the program.

“All of our volunteers are valuable to the program,” said Fellerer. “Each year, we like to recognize those who went above and beyond to work on multiple projects, start new ones, or continue the excellence of existing projects.”

Nine volunteers gave more than 100 hours of service in 2017, and they were honored with a certificate and small gift of appreciation. They include: Patsy Hirsch of Elgin with 252 hours; Sue Styer of Geneva, 166 hours; Linda Lood of Sleepy Hollow, 131; Jennifer Tonn of Batavia, 129; Margaret-ann Haas of Algonquin, 127; Linda Goll of St. Charles, 126; Karen Matthews of Elgin, 108; Carol Lussky of Elgin, 105; and Lorayne Hrejsa of Batavia, 1005.

In addition, Pat Engel of Geneva was recognized for logging the most Help Desk hours. She spent 74 hours at the helm, answering community questions via walk-in, phone and email, said Fellerer.

Two 100-hour volunteers, Jennifer Tonn and Karen Matthews, also earned Awesome Apple Awards, which recognize interns or first-year Master Gardeners who finished the training and started off strong.

“Awesome Apple honorees may have come up with a new idea, started a new project or dedicated themselves to an established project,” said Fellerer. “This year’s two winners jumped right in, adding energy to current projects and racking up hours too.”

Tonn, with 226 hours overall since starting with the volunteer program, helped create the children’s garden at the Kane County Idea Garden, and Matthews, marking 221 hours overall, spread her efforts to multiple projects, including Sherman Community Garden, Highland Oaks, Ball Gardens, and seed sorting.

“For more experienced Master Gardeners, the High Yield Award and Spuds Potato Award recognize above-and-beyond efforts,” said Fellerer. “This year’s honorees exemplify the Master Gardener mission of ‘helping others learn to grow,’ while also strengthening the county program as a whole.”

Leah Beck and Mary Jo Murphy, both of St. Charles, both received a 2017 High Yield Award, which focuses on achievement of program objectives.

Beck is the liaison and advisor for the East Aurora High School garden. She also created a seed saving presentation and organized a seed saving event at the Aurora Public Library West, and worked with the Idea Garden team to overwinter biennials and save seeds. Murphy manages the prairie and rain gardens at the Kane County Idea Garden site, and serves as the team’s prairie plant expert. She teaches training classes for Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists, as well as the community.

Linda Lood took home Spuds Potato honors this year for her valuable contributions and dependability at 14 different activities in 2017. Lood has been a Master Gardener volunteer for 11 years. 

In addition to awards, Master Gardeners receive various certificates at the annual appreciation event. Bonnie Prokop of St. Charles earned her advanced training in sustainable landscaping. Other advanced certificate options include ecology, integrated pest management, and local foods.

Volunteers also receive anniversary certificates and commemorative pins to mark their years with the program. Celebrating five years as Master Gardeners were volunteers Donna Louise Askins of Elgin, Gloria Finnerty of Algonquin, Colleen Haas of South Elgin, Jody Lay of Batavia, Donna Mack of Elgin, Lorna Marquis of St. Charles, James Schiltz of Hampshire and Helen Snyder of Sugar Grove.

The October season-end celebration also marks the end of the year for the Master Gardener Help Desk. The desk is open through October 31, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at 630-584-6166. It will reopen March 2018. For more information on the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener program, visit

Local Contact: Sarah Fellerer, Program Coordinator, Master Gardeners,