David Gibby Search for Excellence

About Search for Excellence

The David Gibby Search for Excellence (SFE) Awards recognize the outstanding volunteer work of Extension Master Gardeners (EMG) throughout the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and South Korea. SFE includes seven categories in which EMGs can demonstrate meaningful contributions to their communities. All SFE applications must show that significant learning took place, whether by the EMGs or the general public. SFE is designed to recognize outstanding group projects and not an individual who does outstanding work.

SFE Awards are named for Dr. David Gibby, Washington State University who in 1973 created the Extension Master Gardener program. Dr. Gibby trained volunteers with a passion for gardening to assist Extension with consumer horticulture education in the community.

SFE Awards are named for Dr. David Gibby, Washington State University who in 1973 created the Extension Master Gardener program. Dr. Gibby trained volunteers with a passion for gardening to assist Extension with consumer horticulture education in the community.

Guidelines

Project submission must meet the following guidelines to qualify for the David Gibby Search for Excellence Awards:

• Choose the single category that best fits the project. Only one project may be submitted by a group per category:

– Community Service

– Demonstration Gardens

– Innovative Projects

– Research (Applied Scientific Methodology)

– Special Needs Audiences (Senior, Disabled Audiences or Horticultural Therapy)

– Workshop or Presentation

– Youth Programs

Projects will be judged on their merit from work done between the years 2020 to 2022. Projects must have completed a full year to be entered. Program projects that have previously won a Search for Excellence Award are not eligible in any category.

Simple to Replicate. A goal of SFE is to share the excellent ideas and programs so they can be replicated by other MG groups. A 20-acre botanic garden would be difficult to replicate, but the project ideas within the garden might be easy to recreate at another site. A step-by-step “how to do this” is a great way to share your project.

Practicality. An award-winning SFE program is one that is easy to use and fits well in its intended situation. In other words, you have developed an effective and accessible program to meet a need of your community. For example: You could develop a wonderful program with a $35.00 admission fee, but if people can’t afford the cost, they won’t come.

Original and Creative. We are looking for unique and creative ideas that make the program your own, or that reflect the personalities of the Master Gardeners involved. Don’t recreate the wheel, just maybe parts of it so that it fits your situation.

Compatible with Extension and EMG Missions. Make sure to specifically link your project with the goals listed below. Do not assume that the reader knows that your project is compatible with Extension and EMG missions.

– Projects should have an educational component.

– Projects must be available to all persons without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, veteran status, political beliefs, sexual orientations, national origin, and marital or family status.

– Projects should extend the resources of the University to the public wherever they live, helping them use knowledge to solve problems at work, at home, and in their communities.

– The information provided should be university research based.

• Program Impact

– How many people were reached?

– Did you distribute an evaluation?

– Based on the evaluation, was there an increase in the knowledge level of the participants?

– Based on the evaluation, did the program result in behavioral changes of the participants?

The Search for Excellence project application must be written by the EMGs involved, and not by Extension staff. Provide the following information using the online application template:

• Name of EMG Program, County, and State/Province (Name, address, phone, and email of MG volunteer contact person(s)

• Name, title, address, phone, email of MG coordinator/staff person

• Category: must select and submit in only ONE category

– Community Service

– Demonstration Gardens

– Innovative Projects

– Research (Applied Scientific Methodology)

– Special Need Audiences (Senior, Disabled Audiences or Horticultural Therapy

– Workshop or Presentation

– Youth Programs

• Name of Project

• Description of the project. Include target audience, goals, location, and partnerships. Be sure to address Simple to Replicate, Practicality, Original and Creative, and Compatible with Extension and EMG Missions as described in the guidelines.

• Methods. Discuss planning, implementation, and evaluation (e.g., how results, learning, and impact were documented)

• Results

• Significant learning and impact

• Budget narrative

• Names of active EMGs only who are involved in the project and should recognized.

– Application Timeline:

– November: Open SFE and Volunteer Coordinator Awards

– February 6: Applications Close

– Mid-February: inform winners so they have time to register before March 1

Application will open late 2022 or early 2023. Information will be shared through the IMGC website, IMGC social media and the National Extension Master Gardener list servs. Virginia Tech University is responsible for the awards process.