Search for Excellence

Search for Excellence (SFE) is the recognition program of Extension Master Gardener volunteer work throughout the United States, Canada and South Korea.  All Extension Master Gardener volunteer projects are significant to their communities, but not all are SFE projects.  The SFE is designed to recognize outstanding group projects, and not an individual who does outstanding work.

Congratulations to the 2017 International Search for Excellence Award Winners!

Useful Information for 2017 SFE Winners

First, second and third-place winners were recognized across seven categories.  Thank you to all who applied for consideration.  Thank you to the judges for reading and evaluating applications.

Community Service

    • 1st:  Village Harvest, Kauai, Hawaii (Poster Board #1)
    • 2nd:  Speaker’s Bureau/ Toastmaster Gardeners, Orange County, CA (Poster Board #2)
    • 3rd:  The Barn’s CommUnity Garden, Lehigh/Northampton Counties, Pennsylvania (Poster Board #3)

Demonstration Garden

    • 1st:  EMG Demonstration Garden (Plateau Discovery), Cumberland County, TN (Poster Board #4)
    • 2nd:  Pollinator Garden at Dawes Arboretum, Licking County, Ohio (Poster Board #5)
    • 3rd:  Native Plant Pollinator Garden (NMSU), Santa Fe County, NM (Poster Board #6)

Innovative Projects

    • 1st: Composting and Worm Composting Video Series, Orange County, CA (Poster Board #7)
    • 2nd: Snetsinger Butterfly Garden (SBG): Satellite Garden Program, Centre County, PA (Poster Board #8)
    • 3rd: The Mentor Approach: Building Community, Snohomish Cty, WA (Poster Board #9)


  • 1st: Grafted Vegetable Garden Trial, Marion County, OR (Poster Board #10)
  • 2nd: Milkweed Field Trials for Monarch Butterfly Habitat, Clark Cty, Nev (Poster Board #11)
  • 3rd (tie): Kennesaw Science & Math Academy Hydro/aeroponics Project, Cobb Cty, GA (Poster Board #12)
  • 3rd (tie): McCollum Park Pollinator Garden, Snohomish County, WA (Poster Board #13)

Special Needs

  • 1st: Gardening Through Life, Milwaukee & Waukesha Counties, WI (Poster Board #14)
  • 2nd: Garden Smart – Garden Easy, Sussex County, Del (Poster Board #15)
  • 3rd: NORCOR/Spring Plant Fair, Wasco County, OR (Poster Board #16)


  • 1st: 10 Minute University, Clackamas County, OR (Poster Board #17)
  • 2nd: KCEMG Speakers’ Bureau, Knox County, TN (Poster Board #18)
  • 3rd (tie): Beginner and Newcomer Gardening Series, Hamilton County, TN (Poster Board #19)
  • 3rd (tie): The Sustainability Series of Workshops, Durham Region, Ontario, Canada (Poster Board #20)


  • 1st (tie): Catherine Desourdy School Garden Mentor Program, University of Rhode Island (Poster Board #21)
  • 1st (tie): Garden Lesson in a Box, Spokane County, WA (Poster Goard #22)
  • 2nd (tie): Morris Elementary School Greenhouse,  Madison County, AL (Poster Board #23)
  • 2nd (tie): Science With Attitude (SWAt), Denton County, TX (Poster Board #24)
  • 3rd (tie): Hands on Horticulture, Brunswick County, NC (Poster Board #25)
  • 3rd (tie): Yaquina Bay Lighthouse and School Garden (YBLG), Lincoln County, OR (Poster Board #26)

Call for SFE applications ended on August 1, 2016.  The 2017 International Master Gardener Search for Excellence Guidelines are posted, below.  Keep these in mind if considering submitting a project for the 2019 Search for Excellence.

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