Nora Hiland – Outstanding MGV
Nora is a caring and tireless ambassador for the Master Gardener Program. She is a mentor, a leader and a highly respected expert in many fields at both local and state levels. Wildflowers, invasive plants, native plants and children’s garden education are just a sampling of the subjects Nora joyfully shared with our community in 2022. As the Life Science Program Coordinator at Stratford Ecological Center said, “It is a pleasure to observe Nora's joy as she helps her students tend their own flames of appreciation of the natural world.”
A gifted instructor, Nora has devoted her life to horticultural education. Self-guided wildflower walks, wellness in gardening talks, gardening classes for tots to seniors, bee friendly flower presentations, Nora is a leader who is bubbling with ideas and who made them happen last year. She is a constant source of support and inspiration, always generous with her time, always available to help and answer questions. Nora’s willingness to listen and lead have only intensified over her 15 years as an extremely active MGV. She is an innovator of new educational programs that attract MGVs and draw in the community. She empowers MGVs to educate others and to never cease learning.
Master Educator, sounding board, invaluable horticulture resource, intrepid gardener, Nora has touched (and taught) our community and our organization. Thank you Nora for all that you have given us and all you have given to our neighbors.
Debra Knapke– Outstanding MGV Friend
Debra Knapke is a gem, not only for the Delaware County Master Gardener Association (DCMGA), but for the entire state of Ohio. “Ohio’s Garden Sage” is a respected author, an associate professor of Plant Sciences, an avid horticulture educator and a friend to all gardeners. She has been sharing her wealth of knowledge and experience to countless master gardeners and gardeners, not only in 2022, but has been doing so for many years.
A committee member on the Advanced Herb Specialist Program from 2019 through 2022, Debra was key in the development of the thirty-two (32) classes that made up this program which was held in 2022. Debra taught four (4) of these classes: Herbs in the Landscape; Sensual Gardens; Maintenance of your Herb Garden; Understanding Our Native Herbs and GreenBridges.
Debra also served as the Interim Manager at the Ohio Governor’s Residence and Heritage Garden in 2022. This project has weekly volunteer workers by not only the DCMGA but also master gardeners and interested gardeners from all over the state of Ohio. Debra would plan and direct the work needing to be accomplished in the Heritage Garden and would always take the time to provide instruction about gardening or about a specific plant, stopping to provide learning opportunities for anyone working in the Heritage Garden.
A Keynote Speaker at the 2022 Master Gardener Conference in Cleveland, Debra also moderated and served as a panelist for the “Kiss the Ground” movie at the Drexel Theater in Columbus. She presented classes at the Ohio Craft Museum on The Sustainable Garden Describe and the Sustainable Garden Designer. Debra also opened her personal garden to the public for the Simply Living Sustainable Garden Tour.
Debra Knapke has positively touched our lives. She shares her vast knowledge and expertise with countless gardeners, and her enthusiasm and love for gardening inspires all who are fortunate enough to be associated with her. She has inspired us to learn, to never be afraid to ask questions, and to achieve the full potential of our gardens.
Delaware County Master Gardeners honor Debra as much more than just a ‘Friend’ of our organization but also as an invaluable resource for gardeners throughout the country. We are so very proud that you have been recognized as 2023’s “Outstanding Friend of Mater Gardeners”.
Platinum Level Standard of Excellence Award (Highest Level of Excellence)
DCMGA and the Delaware County Extension Office were granted the Platin um Level Standard of Excellence Award for meeting at least nine criteria of the Master Gardener program. Requirements include submission of membership data including CEUs and hours volunteered, adherence to state policies, internal financial review, offering of a community education program, and submittal of award nominees.
Congrats to Debra and Nora for some well-deserved recognition!!
And a big thank you to the State Awards Committee of Barb Petrella, Gayle O’Sullivan, Lisa Reiser, Margo Hicks and Tracy Burger for writing and editing these award winning nomination essays.