2020 - Becky Griffin, UGA Center for Urban Agriculture Becky Griffin is the creator and coordinator of the Great Georgia Pollinator Census (https://GGaPC.org). This is a year-long program and an important part of the mission of this project is to educate Georgians about pollinators. She educates citizens through in-person programming, online programming, and social media. Becky manages a Facebook group (Georgia Pollinator Census) of over 2,000 members and she uses that as a tool for education. She trains teachers to educate their students about pollinators and trains Extension agents as well. During the 2019 census over 130 schools participated in the census as a no-cost STEM program. As part of the census, she celebrates “Milkweed Week” which is an entire week of educating Georgians on the best milkweeds for their areas and how to successfully grow the plants. She also has “Monarch Week” in October when citizens are asked to be on the lookout for monarchs and she teaches about the nectar plants that they need during migration. As part of the pollinator census, participants are taught best management practices in pollinator habitat, including milkweed and monarch nectar plants. As part of the 2020 census 525 participants reported creating or expanding a pollinator habitat as part of the census project. Over 800 new gardens were created as part of the 2019 census. Becky also encourages all her participants to apply to have their gardens be part of the Monarchs Across Georgia Certified Pollinator Habitat program and to become involved in other citizen science projects. Becky began the Pollinator Spaces Project in 2015. This initiative was a way to teach sustainable pollinator habitat creation. She worked with, and certified 134 gardens before this project was combined with the Connect to Protect project at The State Botanical Garden of Georgia. As a partner with Connect to Protect, Becky has worked with Lauren Muller to expand that program statewide. Becky has gardened for butterflies and bees since she was a kid on a farm in Powder Springs, GA. As a youth, she checked out a book about bees from the local library multiple times and thus began her love of pollinators. "I just love them, and I feel one of my missions in life is to help them!" she exclaims.
2020- Sharyn Altman, GA Master Gardener Association Sharyn Altman has always enjoyed butterflies. She began her journey in 1999 at the Sacred Heart Garden Festival Garden providing educational handouts and caterpillars for a butterfly tent, an event in which she continues to participate to this day. In 2006 she accompanied her sister to Plains, GA for the Chautauqua Institute monarch program at the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail. Chip Taylor, founder, and director of Monarch Watch and the other speakers were a wealth of information. This inspired her to begin recording her sightings of monarchs to Journey North and tagging through Monarch Watch. Because the caterpillars are so vulnerable, Sharyn’s husband built an outdoor eight-by-ten-foot screened enclosure for them. The caterpillars and host plants are placed safely inside to complete metamorphosis. Once the butterflies eclose, they are released. The tagged monarchs often stay in the garden for many days. When fellow gardeners run out of a host plant, they often bring the caterpillars to the butterfly house where they are welcome. After hearing Susan Meyers give a program, Sharyn removed all the Ascelpias curassavica from the property and learned to clean the butterfly enclosure each spring. She removed a hybrid tea rose bed because it required spraying with insecticides and replaced it with a wildflower meadow including many varieties of milkweed. A Master Gardener, Sharyn is active in many clubs and organizations. Her presentations to these organizations often at her home, make all who attend realize what they can do to help monarchs in our state.
2019 - Rose Barton, Hall County Master Gardeners As a former educator, Rose brought monarchs into the classroom in 2010 to motivate her students to learn to read. The students became excited and wanted to learn more about the butterfly lifecycle. She and her husband created a monarch garden at their home and began raising monarchs to share with their students. In 2016, Rose became a Master Gardener and started volunteering at Gardens on Green at the Hall County Board of Education. As a volunteer, Rose, along with many local Master Gardeners, serves more than 1,000 students each school year who visit Gardens on Green. She teaches in the pollinator garden and usually has a live Monarch display to share with the students. Rose and her husband continue to raise monarchs for educational purposes. They tag the butterflies and sample for the OE virus prior to letting the children release them. Rose lives on six acres and has planted wildflower plots in addition to her butterfly gardens. She has helped maintain the butterfly gardens at Gardens on Green/Hall County Board of Education and Mt. Vernon Elementary School. Her yard is a continuous project to create more pollinator environments. She and her husband plant many new milkweed plants annually. The enthusiasm with which she talks about pollinators and plants always delights her audience, whether young or old, and encourages them to begin gardening themselves and looking for monarchs. She is the "go-to" resource for educating the public about the importance of monarchs in the area.
2018 - North Marietta Neighborhood Community Garden The North Marietta Neighborhood Community Garden serves as an outdoor classroom for Head Start students and parents, Girl Scout and Brownie Troop projects, and high school environmental clubs. Their community outreach provides information to community garden members and neighbors who want to learn eco-friendly gardening. They host visitors including garden clubs, Master Gardener interns, UGA Extension guests, Master Gardeners from other counties and interested passersby. They hosted Cobb Master Gardener 2014 Garden Tour and 2018 American Community Garden Association National Conference Bus Tour. They share information at numerous festivals and host many educational pollinator events. NMNCG is a demonstration garden and open for members of the community and school to observe eco-friendly garden practices. Since the initial certification, they have added a new herb garden with caterpillar host plants; Monarch Meadow; 2 metal picnic tables for garden activities; shallow solar bird bath; solitary bee houses; additional Children's Garden raised beds; expanded the pollinator garden; increased the pollinator plant collection; a wooden pergola seating area for classes; trellis at Children's Garden entrance; updated pollinator inventory and labels; and now have an informational pollinator poster display and two permanent butterfly signs.
2017 - Heather Alley and Lauren Mueller, State Botanical Garden of Georgia Heather (below left) and Lauren (below right) have worked tirelessly to refine propagation and restore habitats for monarchs and all pollinators throughout the state of Georgia. Lauren’s research focuses on various milkweeds. She is refining propagation techniques to guide restoration and increase availability of native seeds. Heather’s concentration is propagation techniques and promoting local geno-types for healthy ecosystems. She has recently released a manual on the propagation and maintenance of native plants to nurseries around the state. Along with education staff at SBG, they have worked to develop the Connect to Protect program which is encouraging people to use native plants amongst landscapes to support diversity and pollinator habitat. Connect to Protect gardens have been installed at schools and in partnerships with local governments in several counties and UGA partnerships on campus. There are currently 22 (more coming) gardens throughout the state.
2016 - Jackie Sherry, Dunwoody Nature Center Jackie Sherry is the consummate steward of the Monarch Butterfly. She leads Dunwoody Nature Center's Milkweed Project which is a grassroots effort to raise awareness and educate the public about the plight of the Monarch. Jackie's outreach efforts include teaching at 13 different schools installing 10 milkweed focused pollinator gardens at elementary schools, and reaching more than 1,200 students through her outreach program. Jackie's "Milkweed in the Classroom" curriculum reaches a wide variety of children in the 1st - 3rd grades and includes teaching, milkweed seeds, grow racks, and garden plantings at the schools - all at no cost to the schools that register for the program! Jackie is pictured on the far left.
2015 - Stephanie Spencer, Briarlake Elementary School and Kim Bailey, Milkweed Meadows Farm Stephanie Spencer (Below Left) took the School Master Gardener (SMG) course at Fernbank Science Center in 2009 and immediately went back to Briarlake Elementary school and began transforming her campus into not just a school garden, but an entire outdoor campus for environmental learning. She, along with Sally Elliott, are a two-woman, non-stop, team. They started with a shade garden, and they got Home Depot to build them an entire deck and teaching space for the school. Then they built an amazing courtyard perennial garden that requires no watering. Next came an outside arboretum, along with teaching beds for each teacher in the school. Then there came a beautiful large vegetable and perennial garden along the side of the school surrounded by a white picket fence. Stephanie went to Mexico with Susan Meyers and Trecia Neal, MAG committee members, in 2010 and ever since then, every grade that she teaches has had their own individual caterpillar to raise on their desk and every aspect of her curricula is infused with monarchs http://makewayformonarchs.org/i/archives/923. In 2012 Georgia Wildlife Federation visited Briarlake Elementary and was so impressed with what was happening at their school with Outdoor Education that they wrote an extremely long article with wonderful pictures and posted it online. It says much better than I could why Stephanie deserves this award. https://georgiawildlifefederation.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/briarlake-elementary-how-outdoor-education-can-work/. She also received the Monarch Watch Milkweed grant and built a new milkweed garden outside her classroom windows last year and is undergoing a milkweed test currently this year. We are looking forward to the results from that. Stephanie has taken every monarch workshop that has been available to take. She has attended every Outdoor Classroom Symposium and EEA conference since she took the SMG program in order to grow her professionalism and learn how to better educate her students in her outdoor gardens. She has been moved from grade to grade but has never let that stop her from teaching monarchs to each and every one of her students. She has grown milkweed tirelessly, and educated all of her students, AND their parents on why we need monarchs and milkweed. She has "babysat" my monarchs and caterpillars when I have needed to go out of town and needed help. She also babysits monarchs from out of state! She has supplied me and others with milkweed when we needed it. She has educated her colleagues at Briarlake Elementary about the importance of monarchs and milkweed and gotten them involved with the curricula, even against their will because their students wanted to raise caterpillars. She has also helped to raise the awareness of the people in her community and neighborhood about what is happening with monarchs by serving as an ambassador for monarchs.
Kim Bailey (Below Right) has been a dedicated member of MAG since its conception in 2000, and was even a participant in the original Georgia workshop facilitated by Dr. Karen Oberhauser from the University of Minnesota that same year. She has tirelessly raised thousands of monarchs from eggs and hundreds of milkweeds from seed donating them to schools and individuals around the state, inspiring those touched by her passion and knowledge to become monarch enthusiasts themselves. Though she has recently moved out of state, her service to our state has been exemplary and is deserving of recognition. Education: As a MAG workshop facilitator and Master Gardener, Kim has lead numerous workshops and sessions on monarchs and pollinators. She has visited countless schools to teach about monarchs, demonstrate tagging procedures, and delight students with live specimens. As the webmaster for EEinGeorgia.org for 14 years, Kim was able to disseminate information about educational events, creating a wider audience for pollinator and monarch protection. She also co-lead trips to the monarch overwintering colonies in Mexico for more than five years. Conservation and Habitat Restoration: Kim developed MAG's Sample Pollinator Garden templates and plant list, and has advised hundreds of schools and home gardeners on the creation of Pollinator Habitats. As mentioned above, she has raised thousands of monarchs from eggs and hundreds of milkweeds from seed donating them to schools and individuals around the state, inspiring those touched by her passion and knowledge to become monarch enthusiasts themselves. Today, Kim is producing milkweed seed on her North Carolina property, selling seed of these regional eco-types to Sow True Seed Company, and will be growing milkweeds for Monarchs Across Georgia plant sales.
2014 - Trecia Neal, Fernbank Science Center Trecia Neal’s many years of service to the Monarchs Across Georgia committee, her continual efforts to educate the students and teachers in DeKalb County about monarchs through her position at Fernbank Science Center, and her dedication as a Conservation Specialist with the Monarch Watch Bring Back the Monarchs program, are just a few examples of why Trecia deserves to be recognized as the 2014 Monarchs Across Georgia Service Award recipient. Trecia was “bitten by the bug,” the monarch butterfly that is, back in 2004 when she traveled to Mexico to visit the overwintering colonies. Since that time, she has co-chaired the Monarchs Across Georgia committee for 2 years and volunteered for other intra-committee duties such as Mexico Book Project coordinator. She has engaged countless elementary through high school DeKalb County students with her monarch outreach program “Butterflies Are Free.” She has enlightened staff, faculty and parents enrolled in the School Master Gardener program; many of which have become monarch ambassadors in their own schools and neighborhoods. She actively serves as member of the Monarch Watch Conservation Specialist’s team. Trecia, being an avid reader and life-long learner, has kept abreast of the issues concerning the decline in monarch numbers which triggered the application to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for a “threatened” status of the migrating population. She has made numerous presentations statewide and written articles to make the public aware of these concerns and efforts and has spearheaded habitat restoration efforts here in Georgia by campaigning for the collection of native milkweed seeds for Monarch Watch’s program Bring Back the Monarchs.
2013 - Sharon McCullough, Morgan County Middle School Sharon McCullough is obsessed with monarch butterflies! No doubt you know her and her work! Sharon promotes the education, protection, and research of monarch butterflies in her classroom and community. With unending enthusiasm, she has been doing so for many years. Sharon McCullough will retire from teaching this year. Her contribution to Monarch education deserves to be recognized. Sharon McCullough’s Contributions: --teaching 100+ students per year about pollinators, specifically Monarchs (and overseeing the pollinator instruction of 200+ more students each year) --allowing students to tag Monarchs for Monarch Watch, to log sightings in Journey North, and to swab Monarchs for OE parasites (Results are sent to Sonia Altizer at UGA; students love getting the results back from the lab!) --creating a pollinator certified school garden (which has won a Pollinator Garden of the Year Award) --rearing Monarchs in her classroom and home --creating and maintaining a certified pollinator garden at her house, which contains a variety of milkweed species --organizing a Monarch and pollinator booth at local festivals for community outreach --developing a Monarch reading project for her ESOL students to share with local kindergarteners, promoting education about Monarchs within our Hispanic community (many of whom are from Michoacán, Mexico) --participating in the M.A.G. Mexico trip twice (and inviting an environmental activist who now promotes Monarchs and sustains milkweed in South Georgia) --attending the North American Monarch Institute in Minneapolis, MN, as a representative from Georgia (This has resulted in a grant to add more pollinator plants to the school garden and include a bed for the art teacher to grow milkweed for her art classes.) --encouraging and helping with the cultivation of milkweed by Chris Stewart of Tapestry Nursery --showing enormous enthusiasm for Monarchs that has spread to others in our community and state
2012 - Jenny Landrom, C.T. Walker Magnet School In the words of Michele Zupan, Curator for the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc., who nominated Jenny for this honor, “Jenny is DYNAMIC! I have never met a teacher more passionate about not only her students but also about all things BUTTERFLY. After attending at Monarchs Across Georgia workshop at Watson-Brown, Jenny began a fervent campaign to construct a pollinator garden at her school. She raised money, secured donations of materials, and organized volunteer labor. A Master Gardener designed the beds for ease of access, but also for water conservation. The dedication became a school-wide event with performances by several grades, speeches from Board of Education Administrators, and coverage by local media. The Certified Pollinator Garden contains host plants for monarchs and many other native butterfly species. In 2011, a community vegetable garden was added. What better place for pollinators and people to reap the benefits of plants! Produce is shared with school neighbors who are economically disadvantaged. Teachers conduct lessons in and about the gardens as they are designed to enhance learning in science, nature, writing and mathematical skills. In 2012, educators from the Watson-Brown Foundation were invited by Jenny to conduct an in-service for K-3 teachers to learn how to effectively utilize the garden and to align the butterfly curriculum with Georgia Performance Standards. C.T. Walker Elementary is surrounded by an 'asphalt jungle.' It is an oasis in a sea of parking lots, abandoned buildings, and urban blight. The efforts of Jenny Landrum have brought together this community , fostering a culture of service and involvement for the conservation and preservation of the monarch butterfly as well as for the American child.”
2011 - Vicki Culbreth, City of Roswell MAG is proud to announce Vicki Culbreth, Environmental Education Coordinator for the city of Roswell, as the recipient of the MAG 2012 Service Award. Vicki has coordinated all aspects of our newsletter, The Chrysalis, for the past four years. She has donated her enormous talents in graphic design and editing to enable us to publish a stunning document each spring and fall. In addition, Vicki has worked hard for MAG as a workshop facilitator training teachers to use Monarchs In The Classroom, presented at our Butterfly Symposium, and helped develop, install, and maintain pollinator gardens. She is an amazing educator, reaching diverse groups of people including seniors, students, and classroom teachers. Thank you Vicki for your commitment and service to Monarch conservation and education.
2010 - Chris and Chuck Stewart, Tapestry Greenhouse & Nursery LLC Finding locally grown, Georgia native milkweeds can be difficult but for the past three years, Chris and Chuck Stewart have converted a portion of their wholesale grower business, Tapestry Greenhouse & Nursery, to producing milkweeds for Monarchs Across Georgia’s plant sales and teacher workshops. This endeavor comes not in response to the huge profit margins for this particular plant but because of the Stewarts’ awareness and appreciation of the Monarch butterfly and willingness to do something to help restore its habitat here in Georgia. Through their growing efforts over the past three years, the Stewarts have made it possible for Georgia residents to put hundreds of milkweeds in home and school gardens, providing the Monarch butterfly with its only host plant, and restoring suitable habitat for this migrating species. They have worked closely with Monarchs Across Georgia to provide a variety of appropriate host and nectar plants in demonstration gardens and for special projects fulfilling the requirements of Monarchs Across Georgia’s Pollinator Habitat Certification. Plants are always of the highest quality, demonstrating the pride and care that Chris and Chuck take in their work. At Saturday markets in Madison, the Stewarts entice children with live caterpillars and teach them about their life cycle and its dependence on plants. On many occasions, they have shared their caterpillar “wealth” with local teachers to bring live science into the classroom.
2009 - Laurie Crooks, Stone Mountain Elementary Laurie has served on the MAG advisory board for several years and is an active volunteer, providing resources and support to our organization. Education: Produced bibliography and videography resource complication we use on our website; Developed two powerpoints presentations after her Mexico trips (Migration & Day of the Dead) covering topics including migration, biology, ecology, culture, and the effects of pollution on Monarch habitat; Created a children’s book that compliments her powerpoint presentations; In addition to her personal donations to the Mexico Book Project, Laurie has promoted the program, soliciting contributions (from Rotary, S.M. Women’s Club, school colleagues) equaling several hundred dollars to purchase books for the project; Formed a Pollinator Resource Library at SMES that provides staff with the resources (books, videos, activities, etc.) they need to teach about Monarchs and other pollinators; Offers butterfly-focused reading programs to students at SMES and encourages teachers to supplement their life cycle and ecology lessons with Monarch education. Conservation: Invited MAG Steering Committee to speak at Career Day about butterflies and jobs in the field; Organized citizen science project demonstrations for Monarch Health and tagging; Facilitates Journey North’s Symbolic Migration, encouraging Mexican children to value and care for the trees and sanctuary sites where Monarch over-winter. Habitat Restoration: Installed a pollinator certified garden at SMES in 2008; Utilizes her garden as a teaching opportunity for community programs including Evening In The Garden; Coordinates MAG Plant Sales at SMES; Helps MAG sell milkweed at the DeKalb Master Gardeners Semi-annual Plant Sales at Fernbank
2008 - Jennifer McCoy, Cobb County Watershed Stewardship Jennifer has spent a great deal of personal and professional time contributing to monarch education in addition to other environmental education initiatives. Jennifer has developed and implemented a number of different initiatives in Cobb County that contribute to Monarch conservation and education. Her most notable effort is the pollinator/rain garden next to the Cobb County Water System Laboratory. Only a few years ago, this area was a barren lawn that suffered from erosion and stormwater issues during heavy rain events. Under her direction, it was transformed into a rain garden that serves a duel purpose as a habitat for monarchs and other pollinators. In addition to beds of swamp milkweed for monarch larva, there are also many native nectar plants and shelter areas for butterflies. The garden received the MAG Pollinator Garden certification as well as the NWF Wildlife Habitat certification. Last year, two additional beds of common, swamp, and butterfly weed were installed so that staff could participate in the Monarch Health, Monarch Watch, and Monarch Larva Monitoring Projects. Not only has habitat been restored at this site, but it is also used as an education area to teach students and citizens about the importance of monarchs and other pollinators. In addition to tours of the garden, The Watershed Stewardship Program (WSP) also implemented a series of monarch workshops last summer at the Windy Hill Senior Center. WSP also presented a butterfly program at local libraries for their children’s reading programs. Jennifer has also formed partnerships with the Cobb Master Gardeners, presenting pollinator information for the public and helping with local plant sales.
2007 - Dexter Rhodes, Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc.
2006 - Brenda Hunt, North Habersham Middle School
2005 - Susan Meyers, Stone Mountain Memorial Association
2004 - Mary Terry, Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve; Karen Garland, Georgia Conservancy; Kim Kilgore, Arrowhead Environmental Education Center
2003 - Margie Cline, Project Adventure, Rainbow Lake Campus; Z Ganaway, Garden Club of Georgia, Inc.; Anne Marie Glawe, R. L. Norton Elementary School; Claire Miller, The Oakhurst Community Garden; Ruth Pinson, Armuchee Elementary School