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Tennessee Master Gardener Awards

Search for Excellence Awards – 2019

State SFE awards are managed by a state volunteer committee working closely with the TEMG workgroup.

Awards include both service project awards and individual awards for volunteers and contributing partners.

The Outstanding Contributing Partner award is intended to recognize those organizations or persons who are not Extension Master Gardeners, but who provides significant support to the Master Gardener mission.​

Individuals will be recognized at the following Tennessee Extension​ Master Gardener state conference along with other SFE winners.

Tennessee Search for Excellence Awards

The Tennessee Search For Excellence (SFE) program is sponsored by the Tennessee Master Gardener Advocacy Board. 

Its purpose is to recognize outstanding Master Gardener projects throughout the State of Tennessee.  All work done by volunteer Master Gardeners is significant to communities across the state, but not all work qualifies for the honor bestowed by a SFE Award. 

All projects receiving SFE Awards must demonstrate overall excellence, high levels of ​learning and community outreach that embody the following values of the Master Gardener Program:

  • Providing home horticulture education in a responsive and timely manner
  • Collaborating with local nonprofit and municipal groups to offer educational leadership for better gardening practices in area communities
  • Fostering a learning environment for volunteers
  • Encouraging continued education and the recruitment and training of new Master Gardener Volunteers
  • Offering information and education to Tennessee citizens through innovative programs with creative and new approaches

SFE Awards recognize outstanding group projects as opposed to recognizing an individual Master Gardener doing outstanding work.

There are seven broad categories of SFE Awards

  1. Youth
  2. Demonstration Garden
  3. Workshop or Presentation
  4. Community Service
  5. Innovative Project
  6. Research
  7. Special Needs Audience

2017 Search for Excellent Outreach

Youth Programs – Hamilton County – Alpine Crest Elementary School Outdoor Classroom and Gardens

Demonstration Gardens – Shelby County – Collierville Victory Garden

Workshop or Presentation – Shelby County – MAMG Speakers Bureau

Innovative Project – Tipton County – Drummonds Park Arboretum

Written Education – Shelby County – Gardening in Shelby County: Gardening Calendar and Planting Guide


Outstanding Contributing Partner
Carol Reese – UT Extension Western Region Ornamental Horticulture Specialist

Outstanding Individual
Barbara O’Neil – Knox County;
Joan Clayton – Davis – Davidson County
Ginny Fletcher – Shelby County

2015 Winners

  • Knox County – Workshop or Presentation
  • Sevier County – Innovative
  • Knox County – Community Service
  • Knox County – Demonstration Garden
  • Cumberland County – Research
  • Cumberland County – Youth

2015 Outstanding Extension Master Gardeners

Barbra Bunting and Marsh Lehman





Award winning Garden
Youth SFE Category Winner Big Spring Master Gardener Association
Demo Garden SFE Category Winner - Northeast Tennessee Master Gardeners
Community Service SFE Category Winner Northeast Tennessee Master Gardener

If you have any questions, please contact the State SFE Chair, Suzanne Allen