Programs and Awards

Master Gardener Awards

Each year, at the Joy of Gardening Conference, the Oregon State University Extension Master Gardener Program and the Oregon Master Gardener Association recognize Master Gardener volunteers at the Statewide and County Level. County Master Gardeners of the Year are cooperatively selected by local Associations and Master Gardener Program staff. Statewide award recipients are selected by the OMGA Awards Committee from all nominations that are received. The OMGA Awards committee is composed of the Statewide Master Gardener Program Leader, the OMGA President Elect, and past winners of statewide awards. The OMGA Awards committee uses a set of criteria for statewide master gardener awards. Understanding the awards criteria can help you to better plan and build a compelling application for your county’s nominee.

Statewide Master Gardener Awards Criteria and County Award Criteria

Applications are due by May 15th. If you have any questions about the process please contact LeAnn Locher at:

Submit your nominee. Click this link to get to the form.

This document lists all of the award winners: MG State Award Recipients

Karl Carlson Memorial Fund

In addition, OMGA, in cooperation with the OSU Extension Service, oversees the Karl Carlson Memorial Fund. The Karl Carlson Memorial Fund commemorates the life and work of Dr. Karl Carlson, and serves as a tribute to his dedication to the Oregon Master Gardener Association, and to the Oregon State University Extension Service.

The purpose of the fund is to enhance the Oregon State University Urban Horticulture Program in the state of Oregon, by making available Oregon Master GardenerTM funds to help OSU Master Gardener Chapters, in the following ways:

  • In the establishment of new OSU Master Gardener Chapters.
  • To assist new or struggling OSU Master Gardener Chapters become better established.
  • In the implementation of new programs or projects related to urban horticulture, when financial assistance is needed.

Financial assistance for any of the above-described programs may be in the form of an outright grant or a zero interest loan. For more information on Dr. Karl Carlson, and the Karl Carlson Memorial Fund, please check out the Brochure. To apply for a grant or loan through the Karl Carlson Memorial Fund, please fill out an Application. The application must be postmarked no later than May 15 of the current year.

Karl Carlson Memorial Fund Instructions and Application Form
Karl Carlson Brochure
Karl Carlson Judging Sheet

Marje Luce Search for Excellence (SFE)

Search for Excellence (SFE) is the recognition program of Master Gardener volunteer work, both throughout the United States and Canada (at the International level), and across the State of Oregon within the OMGA. If your Master Gardener chapter has a project that you would like to have considered for a SFE award, please do not hesitate to apply. Recipients of SFE awards will receive a cash award for the chapter, and recognition at Growing Gardeners.

Forms are just below in PDF format or you can go to the “Documents and Forms” page on this website to see the Criteria and Guidelines, a template for the Application and a template of the Verification Letter in Word format as well. The final date for submissions is May 15.

Submissions can be made in one of seven categories: Youth Programs, Demonstration Garden, Workshops, Community Service, Innovative Project, Special Audiences, or Research. In order to win, projects must have a score of 80 points or better (out of 100). Cash awards will be given to Chapters with the highest score in each category. The amount of the awards will depend on the number of categories with winning entries.

The judging criteria are: simplicity, practicality, originality, consistency with MG mission, clarity and completeness, significant learning, and number of people impacted. We will have as many submissions as possible give short presentations at Gardeners Mini College. In case we have more submissions than can be accommodated in the SFE presentation time slot, those submissions deemed most “presentation worthy” by the SFE judges will be given priority. Notification will be made by June 14th. All submissions are asked to have a Master Gardener available during Mini College to discuss their SFE project with attendees. We are planning to hold these discussions during one lunch period. SFE winners will be announced at the Mini College Awards Banquet.

Marje Luce Search for Excellence Criteria and Guidelines
Marje Luce Search for Excellence Application
Agent or Coordinator Verification form

Ray McNeilan Scholarship

In honor of retired Oregon State University Extension Service State Master Gardener Program Leader, Ray McNeilan, the Oregon Master Gardener Association (OMGA) in 1996 established a scholarship program for up to six high school students to attend Gardener’s Mini-College. By 2005, an updated agreement was established instead to award a yearly $1000 scholarship to a deserving full-time undergraduate student majoring in Horticulture at Oregon State University.

Guidelines were established for the prospective recipient.  He or she will have junior or senior class standing and have a grade point average of 2.75 if a junior and 3.0 if a senior. The rewarding of this scholarship will be determined by the Department of Horticulture Scholarship Committee.

Former recipients of the monetary Ray McNeilan Scholarship are as follows:

2005 – Evan Bellingar
2006 – Jason D. Oliver
2007 – Meredith Brown Durham
2008 – Brian Clifton Smith
2009 – Ty Patton
2010 – Abigail Huster
2011-2012  Kathryn Wolf
2012-2013   Mary Kohl
2013-2014   Giavanna Accurso & Jerald Noble
2014-2015   Joy Mellera & Christina Tisdell
2015-2016   Victoria Brown & Pashalle Johnson
2016-2017 No Applicants

Jan McNeilan Quarterly Grant

This grant was initiated in 2007 in honor of Jan McNeilan in order to provide monetary assistance to OMGA Chapters that host Quarterly Board meetings. These meetings are held around the state of Oregon. Executive Committee, Chapter Representatives, Alternate Chapter Representatives and various members of the host Chapter attend this meeting to discuss Association business, share best practices and gardening solutions, direct the various community outreach funding projects.

If the host chapter chooses to request partial reimbursement, a letter from the County Treasurer is sent to the OMGA Treasurer with all applicable receipts attached.

Reimbursements for up to $300 are allowable.
Deadlines for receipt of the reimbursement are determined by the OMGA Treasurer.

Extension Educator Grant

The OMGA Extension Education Grant Program has funds to help OSU Extension Community Horticulture Agents, Program Assistants, or designated OSU Extension Staff responsible for County Master Gardener programs enhance their ability to educate the public in home horticulture. Due Date for Submission is May 15.

The following are reference documents in PDF format for the OMGA Extension Educator Grant

Cover Letter to OSU Extension Agents
OMGA Extension Educator Grant Request Form ( PDF Format )

Send a Friend

The Send-A-Friend Scholarship Program was established in 2002. It is a scholarship program to help Master Gardeners from across the state attend the OMGA educational conference
(formerly Mini College) who otherwise may not be able to attend due to financial constraints. Funds are acquired by an annual raffle at Joy of Gardening, in the OMGA budget, from individuals, MG chapters or corporate donations. Applicants must apply through their individual county chapters.  Due Date for Submission is May 15.

Send a Friend Instructions and Application


OMGA Longevity Award

The purpose of the OMGA Longevity Award is to honor and thank Oregon Master Gardeners who have been loyal and dedicated volunteers for 20, 30, 40 or more years. Too often these amazing dedicated volunteers are taken for granted. These awards are one way to say “THANK YOU”. Due Date for Submission is May 15.

Longevity Award Submission Form ( Word Format PDF Format )