McLean County is home to a 2017 Master Gardener State Teamwork Award recipients & more - U of I Extension

News Release

McLean County is home to a 2017 Master Gardener State Teamwork Award recipients & more

This article was originally published on October 2, 2017 and expired on January 2, 2018. It is provided here for archival purposes and may contain dated information.

BLOOMINGTON, IL. – The Community Cancer Center Healing Garden received a 2017 Master Gardener State Teamwork Award this month during the State Master Gardener Conference in Normal, IL. This award was established to honor projects, which have made a difference in the community or Extension unit.

The group of Master Gardeners had to show a focused team approach to a project, innovation and improving an existing project to serve their community better. McLean County Master Gardeners part of this team were Sue Farrell-Stroyan, Chris Kraft, Sharon O’Neall, Amy Davis, Mary Jane Bohall, Lenore Clark, Tom Creswell, Susan Crumbaugh, Mary Dellorto, Jaci Dixon, John Elterich, Pat Epsicokhan, Patti Florez, Barb Gaffron, Karen Irvin, Sharon Jaeger, Michaela Kent, Nancy Komlanc, Linda Larsen, Madelon Newsom, Kathie Otto, Sandra Parker, Tudy Schmied, Arlene Stark, Donna Thiel, Barb Wells, Bob Williams, Irene Wieties, Rita Yordy, and Mary Jane Zook.

The Community Cancer Center Healing Garden project started in June of 2015 to create an oasis of peace for cancer patients, their families, staff and the community at large. Master Gardeners were involved in planning, planting and continued care for the three stunning gardens- a Terrace Garden, Labyrinth (meditative walkway) and a Butterfly Garden to be viewed by patients receiving treatments. Master Gardeners worked collaboratively with the Cancer Center in all of these gardens but were the sole designers and planters of the butterfly garden completed last summer.

A Horticultural Therapy Conference held at the Center this past June, provided hands-on experiences to facilitate an understanding of key concepts and theories for engaging people in therapeutic gardening.The time and talents of many individuals from the community – volunteers from the Cancer Center, Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists, and patient families, in addition to local garden centers and landscaping businesses contributed to creating this labor of love.

The Community Cancer Center Healing Garden provides a peaceful place of refuge, meditation, and restoration, and promotes a sense of well-being and healing for the patients, families, staff, and community.University of Illinois Extension would also like to congratulate McLean County Master Gardeners, Tracy Burr, Carolyn Erwin, Tudy Schmied, Pat Warren, Bob Williams, and Rose Yahnig for being recognized with the 2017 Outstanding State Master Gardener award.

The Outstanding State Award was established to honor the best of Illinois Master Gardeners. Only the top 2% of Illinois State Master Gardeners win this award annually. They must exceed in leadership, determination, positivity, initiative and be highly involved in the program.McLean County Master Gardeners Kathy Mundell-Bligh and Jim Schmidt are recipients of the 2017 Sustained Excellence Award. 

The Sustained Excellence Award was established to honor Illinois Master Gardeners who have previously received the Outstanding Award and have continued to demonstrate distinction in the program. Both Kathy and Jim have proven to be exceptional examples of Master Gardeners. Only 10 of these awards were given this year throughout the entire state. Congratulations McLean County Master Gardeners and thank you for your efforts in every project. We are looking forward to what the next seasons will bring.

For more information on the McLean County Master Gardener program, please visit or contact Brittnay Haag, Extension unit educator, Horticulture-Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Unit at (309) 663-8306 or email at

Source: Brittnay Haag, Extension Educator, Horticulture,

Pull date: January 2, 2018