National Garden Clubs, Inc.

2014 NGC Award of Excellence Winners

Winners hail from Georgia and Idaho

ST. LOUIS (May 5, 2014) - National Garden Clubs Inc. announces the winners of its highest honor: the 2014 Award of Excellence. The winners who were announced at NGC's annual convention, include Dr. Waddell Barnes of Macon, Ga., and Judith Seydel of Idaho Falls, Idaho. Dr. Barnes was not able to attend our presentation in person, so we extend our sincere appreciation to his son, Allen Barnes, for being with us to accept this award on behalf of his father.

"The Award of Excellence program annually recognizes exceptional individuals, organizations or institutions that have made significant contributions to their communities in such areas as environmental and civic responsibility, conservation, community beautification and promoting the love of gardening," said Linda Nelson, NGC President. "By recognizing these deserving award recipients from different parts of the nation, NGC hopes to educate and inspire others in communities coast-to-coast."

NGC 2014 Award of Excellence Winner Dr. Waddell BarnesNominated by The Garden Club of Georgia Inc., Barnes is a certified master gardener who guided the development of botanical gardens on the Macon campus at Middle Georgia State College to showcase shrubs and trees from around the world, as well as native plants and other specimens that have adapted to the region. Barnes, who earned a degree in medicine at Harvard University Medical School in Cambridge, Mass., and whose practice in internal medicine and oncology spans decades, also served as chairman of the board of trustees and adviser for health education at Macon State College, now Middle Georgia State College. Inspired by the diversity and beauty of the thousands of plantings on the college campus, Barnes led efforts to expand on the original landscape design. Under his guidance and direction, the college commissioned the creation of an ambitious landscaping master plan that would more than double the college's original areas. The campus currently features 36 dynamic botanical garden areas that include more than 3,000 trees, 185 individual species and 150 cultivars gracefully situated among campus buildings and along walkways for the enjoyment and horticultural education of students, faculty and visitors. In 2003, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia named the Waddell Barnes Botanical Gardens in his honor. An expansion to the college in 2011 brings the total size of the botanical gardens to 418 acres.

NGC 2014 Award of Excellence Winner Judith SeydelNominated by Garden Clubs of Idaho Inc., Seydel is a certified master gardener who facilitated community efforts in the development and construction of the Idaho Falls Friendship Garden, a connection to Idaho Falls' sister city, Tokai-Mura, Japan. The garden is situated in Sportsman's Park on an island in the Snake River in the heart of the historic district of downtown Idaho Falls. "The NGC Award of Excellence reflects the combined efforts of the Friendship Garden steering committee and nearly 250 volunteers who dedicated more than 10,000 hours of work at the garden site," said Seydel. In addition, she helped to develop a three-year master plan for the garden, which includes lush flora, quiet ponds, a plank bridge and a winding steppingstone path. Seydel, a retired science teacher at Idaho Falls High School, is a 1990 recipient of The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), the highest honor bestowed each year by the United States government specifically for K-12 mathematics and science teaching. She recently delivered a presentation on the extensive work on the Idaho Falls Friendship Garden at The Retired Educators Association of Idaho.

About National Garden Clubs Inc.

Headquartered in St. Louis, National Garden Clubs Inc. is a worldwide nonprofit organization of volunteers who pursue gardening best practices and education for a sustainable environment. NGC is comprised of nearly 190,000 members, more than 6,200 local clubs, eight regions, 50 state clubs, a National Capital Area club and hundreds of international affiliates. NGC is recognized as the largest volunteer gardening organization in the world.

NGC connects people, plants and programs to provide inspiration, information and national networking opportunities for its members, creating a powerful voice for advancing common interests. National Garden Clubs' national and international outreach programs promote civic and environmental responsibility, as well as broad educational initiatives for members with a particular focus on protecting natural resources and how making informed choices can have a positive impact on our planet.

National Garden Clubs' youth-directed programs include poetry, essay and art contests, such as a sculpture competition using recyclable materials, as well as the Smokey Bear / Woodsy Owl poster contest, a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service that has spanned more than 50 years. Working with other like-minded organizations, NGC offers several programs, including the Native Bee / BeeGAP program with Crown Bees, which addresses the growing decline of bee diversity worldwide, Penny Pines, in conjunction with U.S. Forest Service and Habitat for Humanity Landscaping. Among NGC's most nationally honored projects are the Blue Star Memorial marker program and the Butterfly Garden at the U.S. Botanic Garden.

Click here for more information on the NGC Award of Excellence Application and Rules.

For more information about the NGC Award of Excellence, contact:
Gay Austin, NGC Award of Excellence Chairman