After last month’s interview with the Speakers Committee, we’re following on with an interview of the Awards Committee. This seems timely since recommendation for 2018 awards are due by the end of April. John Jordan has been a member of the Awards Committee for several years. We caught up with him at his secret hideout, the Demo Garden.

eNews: Hello John. How long has our chapter been presenting awards? Is this a new thing?
John Jordan: Although our early chapter history is a little fuzzy, our first chapter Master Gardener of the Year of record was Don MacGillivray in 1990. So we suggest that for future editions of the eNews that your vast number of  experienced reporters do some investigation and fill in some gaps in this history. The eNews Filing Cabinet has a list of the awards we do know about.

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eN: What criteria do you use in choosing your victims… er, honorees?
JJ:  We attempt to recognize those Master Gardeners who have exhibited outstanding dedication and service not only to the Multnomah County Chapter but also at the state level. We look for MGs that have taken on leadership roles within the Chapter, initiated new programs or have brought new ideas and energy to existing programs, etc.

eN: I’ve noticed that the number and variety of awards has increased over the years. How do you decide to add a new award to your list?
JJ: "It takes a village" to make a chapter successful.  Therefore, we attempt to recognize those people who are also making contributions in specific areas like the IE Sale, Demo Garden, Farmers Markets, Trainee Mentors, etc. by awarding them "Special Recognition Awards" and these can vary from year to year. We really need help from the Chapter for these special awards because members are involved in so many projects and there is  no way the Awards Committee can know about all of the people who should be recognized

eN: It seems that the same person seldom receives the same award in successive years. Do you have a rule or guideline about that?
JJ:  Obviously, past award winners don't stop making outstanding contributions, so on occasion, they are given additional recognition. However, the Awards Committee does attempt to "spread the good news" around. For those really, really difficult decisions, we always have the special MG Ouija Board to guide us.

eN: What would you think of a rule that the “nice” things you say about an award recipient can’t run over 60 seconds?
JJ: So you get to prattle on forever every month in the eNews, but are trying to stifle the creativity of the Awards Committee members in our writing and speaking? Crawl back in your hole!

eN: No, no, no! But after about 30 seconds, everyone knows who you’re talking about, and the recipient begins to shrink down in their chair.
JJ: Well it’s their own fault for doing so many good things for the chapter!

eN: Are there any new Awards coming this year?
JJ:  To quote a person who shall not be named, "We'll see, we'll see". People need to be at the June chapter meeting to find out how this will shake out.

eN: If a MG has a suggestion for an Award Recipient, what should they do?
JJ:  Contact any Awards Committee member before the April 30th deadline with your nomination:

  • John Jordan (Co-Chair): jfjordan11@gmail.com
  • Gloria Bennett (Co-Chair): dcleopatra@comcast.net
  • Tom Ralley: tomralleypdx@gmail.com
  • Sharon Baker: gazebo@teleport.com

And don't forget the June Shank Awards!  This year the Board has set aside two scholarships to encourage Mini-College (now called Growing Gardeners) attendance.  Deadline for applications are May 15th and winners notified by May 30th.  The criteria for selection are:  

  • Master Gardener for at least one year
  • Completed annual MG volunteer requirement
  • Member of the Multnomah Chapter
  • Attending Mini-College (G2) for the first time