PO Box 10533, Yakima, WA 98909

2019 Award Winners

MaryJo Christensen has been an active WSU Master Gardener in Lewis County MG Since 2000, averaging over 450 volunteer hours each year.

2000-Completed WSU Master Gardener training
2003-Home & Garden Show co coordinator
2004-VP Programs, Home & Garden Show coordinator 
2005-07 President of Master Gardener Foundation of Lewis County, MGFLC
2006-Recipient of the Lewis County Master Gardener of the Year
2008-Past President, MG library committee, In house plant clinic scheduler (hand written) and plant sale coordinator  
2009-VP of Educational Outreach, In house plant clinics scheduler
2010-Treasurer, Historian, In house plant clinic scheduler
2011-Treasurer, committees; Gardening for Everyone, Southwest WA Fair, Plant sale, Tree recycling, Program speakers, Youth Outreach
2012-Treasurer, committees; Home & Garden Show, Southwest WA. Fair (SWWF) committee, Youth Outreach, Historian. 
2012-14 Youth Outreach team at RE Bennett Grade School
2013-Treasurer, Historian, MGFLC 33-year reunion celebration   
2014-Treasurer, Historian
2015-Treasurer, Historian
2016-Treasurer, Historian, Coordinator of SWWF Demonstration Garden
2017-Treasurer, Historian, Coordinator of SWWF Demonstration Garden
2012-18 SW Region VP
2017-Present Superintendent SWW Fair Agriculture Department 
2018-present Treasurer, Historian, Coordinator of SWW Fair Demonstration Garden, In house plant clinics scheduler (on line)

Shortly after completing her WSU Master Gardener training MaryJo Christensen immersed herself within the WSU MG Extension and Lewis County Master Gardener program volunteering for leadership roles with various committees and as an officer. As a volunteer at the Providence Place Demonstration Garden she designed and maintained a Hummingbird area garden for 16 years. 

MaryJo has continuously held an officer position for Master Gardener Foundation of Lewis County (MGFLC) beginning in 2004 as VP of Programs, obtaining speakers for membership meetings, and sought after guest speakers for the public such as Cisco Morris, Ed Hume, and Maryanne Binetti for the Lewis County Home and Garden Show working with the local Chamber of Commerce.

She has also given numerous informative public speaking presentations throughout her past 19 years as a WSU Master Gardener. In 2005 MaryJo spent three years as MGFLC President followed by one year as Past President. Beginning in 2005 she spent five years organizing the schedules of the Master Gardener volunteers the ‘old fashioned way’ as they emailed her to sign up, she would hand write them into the schedule.

MaryJo was recognized by her peers and honored as Lewis Counties Master Gardener of the Year in 2006. The following year she advocated the establishment of the second registered Monarch Butterfly Waystation in SW Washington at the Providence Place Demonstration Garden contributing to monarch conservation. In 2009 she again volunteered as an officer as VP of Educational Outreach.

From 2010 to present, MaryJo has taken the responsibility as both Treasurer and Historian for the MGFLC, she has been the perfect person for these positions with her keen attention to detail. During 2012-2018 she was also our SWW Region VP for the State Foundation. Her involvement in various committees through the years has been The Lewis County Home and Garden Show, Plant Sale coordinator, Gardening for Everyone, Southwest WA. Fair MG displays, Christmas tree recycling, MGFLC 33-year reunion celebration, (created MGFLC history slide show), Youth Outreach, working to educate the next generation and LCMG cook book project.

She promoted the idea of lanyards and recognition pins awarded to Master Gardeners for outstanding service and appreciation for their accomplishments. In 2016 she secured land at Southwest Washington Fairgrounds for an educational Demonstration Garden, designing it, recruiting volunteers to help build the plantings and hardscape, installing signage and maintaining the education materials. This Demo garden engages the public year-round. She again took the task of the volunteer scheduler in 2018, this time on line.

For the past three years outside of Master Garden program, MaryJo has further advanced the promotion of gardening for youth and adult ages by serving as SWW Fair Superintendent of the Agriculture Department, encouraging County Extension participation by Master Gardeners Foundation of Lewis County, Master Recycler Composters of Lewis County, Noxious weeds; as well as encouraging vegetable/flower fair entries from LC extension volunteers.

MaryJo Christensen has been a steadfast, diligent member of the WSU Lewis County Master Gardeners for nineteen years. During that time, she has been committed to advocating the local Master Gardener Program and the ongoing education for the local community.

Her participation within the Master Gardeners has played a vital role on both State and local County levels of the Master Gardeners program. She has been a strong supporter for the preservation of pollinators, safe gardening practices and educational guidance for children and adults. She has additionally held a strong MG presence with the local county fairground for many years. She is present as a volunteer at a majority of Lewis County Master Gardener functions and sets a good example for other volunteers to follow as a team player and as a leader.

She is well known and loved in our community through her volunteerism and public involvement. Her commitment, passion, honesty and integrity come into play in all she does. MaryJo has held a deep dedication towards the WSU Master Gardeners program and its continued success, which she has considerably contributed to. The State MGoY selection committee agrees MaryJo Christensen’s involvement has been beneficial on both State and local levels, earning the acknowledgement and appreciation as a valued member.

–from the nomination submission.

In making their selections, the Awards Committee noted that these two Master Gardeners, using differing media forms over many years, have brought a positive message about our program to their communities and their fellow MGs.

In Pierce County, Dana Courtright has developed and maintains an internal Facebook page for MGs, and an external Facebook page for the public, as well as an Instagram page. Nearly 3500 followers on the public Facebook page demonstrates the reach of her communications across the community, while the internal page ensures volunteer opportunities, announcements, reminders, etc., are readily available to the large base of active MGs. The combined impacts of these social media platforms provide a highly effective communications strategy for Pierce County.

Meanwhile, in Spokane County, Susan Mulvihill has been writing, speaking and interviewing about gardening over several decades. Her contributions range from Master Gardener booklets, newspaper articles, guides and videos, to interviews, teaching, lectures, seminars, and radio & TV appearances. Also of note is the fact that her Northwest Gardener’s Handbook is a top 10 PNW region gardening seller on Amazon, receiving many positive reviews.

These outstanding colleagues of ours provide a welcoming message to current and future gardeners and positive exposure for the WSU Extension Master Gardener Program, and for this we thank them!

Nomination Criteria

State Master Gardener of the Year

This lifetime award recognizes an active WSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer that has (as measured against the MGFWS mission statement) demonstrated their commitment to the Master Gardener Program by providing leadership at the county and state levels, having had significant statewide or broader impact on the program, and  having made a lasting contribution to the Master Gardener Program.

Ed LaCrosse Distinguished Service Award

This Lifetime award recognizes someone who has had a significant statewide (or broader) impact on the WSU Master Gardener Program or has acted on behalf of the MGFWS.   Nominees need not be Master Gardeners (MG).

Not sure which lifetime award is appropriate for your nominee?   

The primary distinctions between the awards are:

  1. Active WSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteers are eligible for either award, while non-MG nominees are not eligible for the State Master Gardener of the Year (MGoY) Award.
  2. The State MGoY Award focuses on the nominee’s commitment to the program as demonstrated by a strong history of providing leadership and building a legacy within the county and state program.  A winner of the state MGoY awards will be widely recognized within the state-wide program, but may not be as well known to the general public.
  3. The Ed LaCrosse Award focuses on the impact the nominee’s achievements have had on the  state-wide MG program and/or the MGFWS.  The contributions of the Ed Lacrosse Award winner may be internal to the MG program (e.g., significantly increasing volunteer recruitment/retention, implementing innovative methods of educational delivery, developing effective fund raising activities, etc.) or external (e.g., significantly increasing the public’s awareness and appreciation of the MG program, gaining significant financial support of the MG program from government and private sources, developing MG program support from corporations and alumni, etc.).

About Ed LaCrosse …Ed LaCrosse

Ed LaCrosse is a gifted leader with integrity, commitment, a legendary knowledge of native plants and a willingness to educate and bring together community volunteers.  A Master Gardener since 1992, Ed was lead for the Neely-Soames Homestead Heritage Demonstration Garden in Kent, Chair of the Native Plant department of the annual King County Master Gardener Plant Sale, and is a native plant steward for the Native Plant Society.  Ed was named Washington State Master Gardener of the Year at the 2010 Master Gardener Advanced Education Conference in Vancouver, Washington.

Media Award

The Media Award recognizes an individual who frequently contributes to one or more WA media covering gardening topics, education, and demonstrations, emphasizing the WSU MG Program.

The Master Gardener of the Year winner will be recognized and given the award by the Master Gardener Foundation of Washington State (MGFWS). The Master Gardener of the Year (MGoY) winner will be featured in an article in the MGFWS Newsletter, “Seeds For Thought”, and on the MGFWS website.

Nominations will be accepted from Washington State Master Gardener County Chapters and submitted only on the WGFWS Master Gardener of the Year Nomination form. Only one nomination can be accepted per County Chapter per year. This is a lifetime award and is an individual, not shared award. 

The criteria for selection of the Washington State Master Gardener of the Year Award are as follows:

The MGoY Nominee Must:

  1. Be an active WSU Master Gardener using the state foundation mission statement to guide their actions on all levels.
  2. Demonstrate commitment by meeting or exceeding all Master Gardener Program volunteer hour requirements in both state and county.
  3. Have held leadership roles in the Master Gardener Program both state and county e.g. board member, committee chairperson, special event and/or education project coordinator, etc.
  4. Contribute a legacy, a lasting contribution to the state and county Master Gardener Program through, for example: education, environmental stewardship, community involvement, etc.
  5. Have a significant statewide or broader impact on the WSU Master Gardener Program or have acted on behalf of the MGFWS.

Each candidate’s entry will be ranked based on the information submitted for each of the above criteria, using a 1-5 scoring system for each, with 5 as the high score. Nominations for the MGoY award must be received by the MGFWS Awards Selection Committee (awardsmgfws@gmail.com ) by July 1st of the year the award is to be presented.

The Awards Selection Committee chairperson will with a 4-6 person committee choose the best candidate from the nominees. The award will be given at the annual MGFWS Advanced-Education Conference or as designated by the MGFWS Board.

Download the application form

(Revised September 17, 2015)
The criteria for selection of the Ed LaCrosse Distinguished Service Award are as follows:

  • Nomination can be made by county programs, Washington State University (WSU) or Master Gardener Foundation of Washington State (MGFWS) members.
  • Nominees need not be Master Gardeners (MG).
  • Award recognizes someone who has had a significant statewide (or broader) impact on the WSU Master Gardener Program or has acted on behalf of the MGFWS.
  • Ratings will be given for each of the following:

Impact on WA state MG program _____
Length of service ______
Breadth of impact _____

The awards committee chairperson and will rate the best candidate from a 1-5 scale. (1-5 is the high score).

Here is the application form:


(Revised September 17, 2015)
The criteria for selection of the Media Award are as follows:
Nominations can be made by county programs, Washington State University (WSU) or Master Gardener Foundation of Washington State (MGFWS) members.
Please use the Word file form to submit your application, expanding it to no more than two pages. The awards committee will choose the winner based on these ratings detailed on the form. (1-5; 5 is the high score.)
The award will be presented at the annual WSU/MGFWS Advanced-Education Conference or as designated by the MGFWS Board.

Here is the application form:


A photo of your candidate MUST be submitted with all nomination packages. Photo quality requirements are:

  1. Submit .jpgs as they come from a digital camera with no alterations.
  2. If items need to be cropped, provide instructions.
  3. DO NOT use phone cameras, as the resolution is generally inferior. However, newer phones and iPads may be adequate.
  4. Size should be 2 Mg. at a minimum.


The Media and EdLaCrosse Awards were designed as individual awards. However, an organization can submit nominations for sharing either of these awards if:

  1. Both individuals contributed equally for the nominated award.
  2. The nominating organization can show that nominees worked substantially as a team in qualifying for the award.

An individual may receive any and all of MGFWS Awards once.

Nominees nominated for more than one award in a single year will be requested to choose one nomination process.

The Awards Committee reserves the right to make the choice if more than one organization has submitted a nominee for recognition.