San Diego County Master Gardeners
University of California
San Diego County Master Gardeners

Search For Excellence deadline has been extended!

There's still time to send us your best work! 

Search for Excellence is a statewide competition designed to recognize outstanding counties and volunteers for projects that support the mission of the Master Gardeners Program. This competition is a unique opportunity to celebrate and share our accomplishments, by showcasing the tremendous talent of Master Gardeners throughout the state in creating innovative outreach programs.  This year the stakes have been raised and the prizes are bigger than ever before!  

The extending deadline means programs have more time to submit their best work and allow those who did not previously consider this opportunity a chance to assemble an application.  The extended deadline is May 12, 2017 by midnight. Please visit the 2017 Search for Excellence website for guidelines and application details. 

Need inspiration? Take a look back at the 2014 Search for Excellence Winners

First Place: Riverside County – Gold Miners

“There's Gold in them der hills!” Riverside County is a big county, stretching from the Los Angeles metro area to the Colorado River.  The challenge was how to better fulfill our mission of educating the community of Riverside County on sustainable gardening practices.  The answer – “Gold Miners.”  The county was divided into nine geographic areas with a Master Gardener in each area actively pursuing volunteering opportunities.  Since 2011, we have increased the presence of Master Gardeners throughout the county, giving Master Gardener opportunities to volunteer closer to home and increase the number of people who are Master Gardeners from the entire county. 

Second Place: Santa Clara County – South County Teaching and Demonstration Garden – Demonstration Garden Category

This one-acre teaching and demonstration garden on the grounds of St. Louise Hospital in Gilroy, Calif. was built for the purpose of extending our educational outreach to the far southern portion of Santa Clara County. Master Gardener volunteers provided hands-on public workshops in the garden as well as classes in both the hospital boardroom and community libraries.  Objectives of the garden include: teaching residents about drought tolerant vegetables, fruits, and ornamentals well-suited to local growing conditions, and modeling sustainable gardening practices reflective of research-based horticultural principals.

Third Place: Orange County – Composting/Worm Composting Video Series

Master Gardeners of Orange County narrated and filmed a series of nine videos on the composting process and six videos on worm composting for their online video library. The videos are a step-by-step series explaining both pile composting and worm composting. Each series begins with an explanation of what composting is, as well as how to start, maintain and troubleshoot a compost pile or worm bin. The videos are posted on the Orange County Master Gardener public website. The videos are designed to instruct and encourage the gardening public to compost either at home or in community gardens or other gardening groups.

If you think one of your county projects is a candidate, let your Master Gardener Program Coordinator or leader know about it! 

Questions? Contact: 
(Please include county name in subject line for all email communications)

Southern California (San Luis Obispo, Kern, San Bernardino, and south) 
Scott Parker 
Program Coordinator, San Diego 
Phone: (858)822-6932 

Northern California (Monterey, Kings, Tulare, Inyo and north)
Marcy Sousa 
Program Coordinator, San Joaquin 
Phone: (209)953-6111 


Posted on Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 4:49 PM


MG San Mateo/SanFrancisco County - I am the lead for the Makers Faire Project. Makers Faire will have 150,00 attendees, and we had 1500 attendees visit our exhibit booth last year. This year our booth is about Attracting Beneficial Bugs to your Garden Using Beneficial California Native Plans and Bug Habitats. I just saw this Search for Excellence Award and since the Faire is next week, our project team is busy on making our booth the most AWESOME ever.  
Is it possible to get a little extra time, so we can submit photos of our finished booth. The Makers Faire is May 18 - May 21st. I would really appreciate this accommodation.  
Visit Makers and see our entry - Project #60046 Booth 8205. Come in person if you can. Thank you Juanita

Posted by Juanita Lucero on May 11, 2017 at 5:57 AM

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