Contact Us

University of Illinois Extension serving DeWitt, Macon and Piatt Counties

Macon County
3351 N. President Howard Brown Blvd.
Decatur, IL 62521
Phone: 217-877-6042
FAX: 217-877-4564
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm

DeWitt County
8425 Katie Road
Clinton, IL 61727
Phone: 217-935-5764
FAX: 217-935-8932
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm

Piatt County
210 South Market Street
Monticello, IL 61856
Phone: 217-762-2191
FAX: 217-762-2703
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm (Closed 12 - 1pm)

News Release

Local Master Gardeners Receive State Awards for Volunteerism

Three area Master Gardeners were recently honored for their volunteer efforts at the Illinois Master Gardener Conference held September 8 in Bloomington. Macon County Master Gardener Jan Sickbert won the 2017 State Master Gardener Sustained Excellence Award while Macon County Master Gardener Nancy Derby and Piatt County Master Gardener Jane White each won the 2017 State Master Gardener Outstanding Award for their work.

Jan Sickbert lives in Argenta and joined the Master Gardeners in 2002. Through the years, Jan has served in a variety of leadership positions and she received the State Outstanding Master Gardener Award in 2007. She volunteers as a help desk mentor, training new master gardeners to help answer community gardening questions and frequently speaks at gardening events about the importance of pollinators. As an avid pollinator fan, Jan also had the idea for a family friendly event celebrating butterflies and led the committee that started the Monarch Madness event in 2015. The event partners with the Macon County Conservation District and has reached more than 700 children and their families.

Nancy Derby is from Forsyth and became a Master Gardener in 2013. Nancy serves in a variety of committee and board leadership roles including co-chair for Gardening Insights and the Decatur Public Library gardens committees. She makes sure the Master Gardeners are meeting their mission of “helping others learn to grow” in every project. Under her leadership as Advisory Board President, the Master Gardeners are meeting with local volunteer groups and churches to reach a diverse audience. Nancy facilitated a Forsyth Public Library gardening activity that ties into the summer youth reading program. You can often find her working at the Decatur Public Library gardens where she answers questions from the public.

Jane White lives in Bement and joined the Piatt County Master Gardener program in 2012. She has completed 630 volunteer hours and is involved with all of the Master Gardener projects in Piatt County. Every week during the growing season, Jane and at least one other Master Gardener set up a booth at the local Farmers Market to answer questions. In 2012, Jane established an educational garden project at Bryant Historical Cottage by organizing three new gardens including a historically accurate three-season cottage garden and an herb garden. Pamphlets describing the gardens are available at the cottage which was visited by Lincoln, is part of the Lincoln Heritage trail and has more than 5,000 visitors annually.

The Master Gardeners are volunteers trained by the University of Illinois Extension. Master Gardeners volunteer their time and expertise by sharing their horticulture skills with the community through garden projects and educational outreach. To learn more about the Master Gardener program, visit or call the Macon County Master Gardener Program Coordinator Vasthi Schwarz at 217.877.6042.

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please call 217.877.6042.

Local Contact: Vasthi Schwarz, Program Coordinator, Horticulture,