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Rhonda J. Ferree

Rhonda J. Ferree
Former Extension Educator, Horticulture

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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
2017 University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener teamwork award for Wildlife Federation Mayor%u2019s Monarch Garden in Pekin, Illinois. Pictured are Dr. Czapar, Dr. Bissonnette, Susan McCabe, Margaret Kelly, Jennifer Bass, and Carol Cihla.

Pekin Garden Wins State Master Gardener Award

A team of eight University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners was awarded a teamwork award for their Wildlife Federation Mayor's Monarch Garden in Pekin, Illinois. The award was presented during University of Illinois Extension's annual master gardener conference in Normal on September 8, 2017.

This group's project planted seeds of knowledge in young people to develop their love for gardening and better understand its purpose.

Monarch butterflies provide numerous opportunities for young children to learn fundamental concepts in natural science and biology. Monarch butterflies seem magical. They encourage curiosity and wonder. This project was able to work collaboratively with the broader community on an issue of common interest – to increase monarch habitat.

Team members included Susan McCabe, Lisa Ziegenhorn, Pat Alexander, Fran Stroemer, Carol Cihla, Margaret Kelly, Jennifer Bass, and Ellen Rice. Youth and community members learned what is necessary to preserve monarchs and create a monarch habitat. Together they designed the space, found plants, created the garden, made signs, maintained the garden, and shared their experiences. Youth were represented from the Saintly Dragon's 4-H club, Girl Scout Troop 4185, and a home-schooled family.

This team collaborated with the City of Pekin Mayor John McCabe. Mayor McCabe took the National Wildlife Federation's Mayors' Monarch Pledge. He also submitted the city garden for Monarch Waystation certification.

You can view pictures and learn more about Master Gardener programs in Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties at

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