Bozeman – Five Master Gardeners from Cascade and Yellowstone counties received awards at a recent Montana Master Gardener celebration in Bozeman.
Offered through Montana State University Extension, the Master Gardener program serves as an education and volunteer service organization. The program’s purpose is to provide technical assistance and unbiased, research-based information in home horticulture to people in all Montana communities through qualified volunteers, according to Dara Palmer, Montana Master Gardener program coordinator. Palmer said Master Gardeners volunteer throughout their communities during and after training and certification.
Tom Fundis of Cascade County was named Montana Master Gardener of the Year.
Fundis has volunteered more than 700 hours and donated hundreds of pounds of vegetables to the food bank. He is involved with the Southside Garden in Great Falls, Meals on Wheels, the Senior Center, Commodities at RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) and the Rescue Mission. He also volunteers with River City Harvest, the Great Falls Farmer’s Market and is a member of the Great Falls Flower Growers garden club, where he makes and donates crafts for the club’s annual Christmas Tea. In addition to volunteering once a month at FISH Food Pantry and the Soup Kitchen, Fundis preps the flower beds at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial every spring. His dedication to volunteer work is not limited to the MSU Extension Master Gardener program, as he also maintains the grounds at his church, works with Boy Scouts and has been instrumental in fundraising for Grace Home, which provides shelter for retired veterans.
Individuals who received Outstanding Master Gardener of the Year awards were:
Allard, from Yellowstone County, has logged more than 700 volunteer hours with the Master Gardener program. She helps teach and coordinate Master Gardeners, works at the MetraPark flower gardens, and helps with the Billings Farmer’s Market booth and the annual flower show. Allard also has been active with the Yellowstone County Master Gardener newsletter since its inception in 2012.
Davis, also from Yellowstone County, coordinates the summer Jr. Master Gardener club, organizes the Billings Flower Show, participates with the annual Arbor Day event, works in the Mission Garden at St. Andrew Community Garden and served as the 2003-2005 state president of the Montana Federation of Garden Clubs. She also has served as project coordinator for an after-school program, C.A.R.E., working to put together curriculum and supplies.
Godfrey completed all three levels of the Montana Master Gardener program in the same year. As Yellowstone County Master Gardener Association president, Godfrey works to raise funds and spread the word about the program. He also worked in gardens at MetraPark and Zoo Montana.
Hendricks, also from Yellowstone County, is active in the Billings Flower Show and helps with C.A.R.E. at five schools. Hendricks is also involved in many garden organizations, including Zoo Montana, Jr. Garden Club, Veterans Park Project and Friendship House Garden.