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Project Groups – Focus on Community

Benton County Fair


Team Leader: Toy Siler

Responsible for receiving vegetables, and other plants grown in Benton County from adult and junior county residents. Committee members arrange exhibits and assist with judging, then record and report results to the fair officers. Members are needed to staff the booth and answer questions presented by fair attendees.

Fair Booth (Inside)

Team Leader: Barbie Oliver

Educates the public on horticultural matters, as well as solicits and encourages membership in the BCMG Program.  Activities include setting up an information booth inside the exhibit hall, setting up displays around the booth, staffing the booth during the fair hours and disassembling the booth at the end of the fair.

Flower Department

Team Leader: Mary Burks

Responsible for receiving flower specimens, herbs, potted plants and artistic designs from adult and junior county residents.  Committee members are asked to prepare the area for the display, check in the entries, appoint judges, place ribbons, record results for the fair office. Staff the booth, greet visitors and answer questions. Disassemble the booth at the end of the fair.

Beautify Benton County

Benton County Courthouse

Team Leader: Beth Strickland     

As part of BCMG beautification plan, if approved by Benton County, BCMG will improve landscaping around the courthouse.

Extension Office Landscape

Team Leader: Becky Elliott
Improves and maintains the landscaping around the Benton County Extension Office. This includes demonstration gardens and orchards to provide horticultural learning experiences for Benton County residents.

Growing Up Green

Team Leader: Kim Arnao
Assists the Cooperative Extension Service in disseminating horticultural information to the youth of Benton County, to stimulate an interest of plants and gardening in school age and pre-school children, and to encourage the training of a new generation of gardeners; responds to requests from area schools regarding educational programs or projects.

Sunshine Elementary School

Team Leader: Lou Jasper

Provides classroom programs, garden preparation, planting, maintenance, harvesting, butterfly garden preparation and therapy at the Sunshine School.

Helping Hands Garden

Team Leader: Terry Weiderhaft

Grows Fresh Food for the Benton County food insecure to distribute through the helping hands food pantry.  This working garden is to practice and teach sustainable agriculture. The garden can be expanded as needed and is to be used as a teaching garden for educating a new generation of gardeners. Raised bed construction, drip irrigation and other topics are covered. The public is encouraged to “adopt a plot” to expand production capacity to assist Helping Hands in reaching more of those in need of food.

Masters Academy & Ask a Master Gardener (AAMG)

Team Leaders: JB Portillo and  Monica Townsend
AAMG addresses various horticulture related questions from Benton County residents. This could include answering questions posted on the BCMG website and Facebook pages, or at various BCMG events such as the Lawn & Garden Expo, Market Masters, the County Fair booth and office help at the County Extension office. The Masters Academy is for developing training for our BCMG members including working with County 76 to provide advanced Master Gardener training, as well as making presentations to organizations requesting educational programs in horticulture or other topics.

Benton County Home Tour

Team Leader: Chari Cross

Plan all aspects and staff a Benton County Home Tour to raise funds for BCMG activities and potential horticultural scholarships for deserving students. Northwest Arkansas Community College.

Lawn & Garden Expo

Team Leader: Vicki Halley
Plans, organizes and staffs the annual BCMG Garden Expo. The event includes demonstrations and lectures on gardening, along with a plant sale. This event is our main fundraising event and requires support from all members.  Support includes growing and donating plants for the plant sale, donating items to the “All Things Garden” yard sale, providing gardening demonstrations, providing administrative support, working the event, set-up and tear down and helping clean up.

Market Masters (Farmers Market)

Team Leaders: Joan York (Bentonville), Vicki Halley (Siloam Springs)
Coordinates and staffs the Master Gardener booth at the Bentonville Farmers Market on the first Saturday of the month from May through October and at the Siloam Springs Farmers Market on the second Saturday of the month. MGs guide market patrons to resources that help their garden projects, as well as sponsor learning experiences for children. Opportunities include assembling and disassembling equipment, decorating and preparing the booth for the day’s activities, and participating in educational programs for market patrons.

Peel Mansion & Compton Gardens

Team Leader: JB Portillo
Located in the city of Bentonville, the Peel Mansion and Compton Gardens are sights of local interest.  Grounds at the Peel Mansion are typically lined with flowerbeds and a seasonal vegetable garden. Compton Gardens contains wooded paths lined with native plantings. Both locations provide many opportunities to obtain learning and sanctioned working hours.

Ralph & Pauline Henry Memorial Garden

Team Leaders: Vicki Halley and Gerald Powell

Responsible for maintaining the Ralph & Pauline Henry Memorial Garden in Siloam Springs as well as the website that showcases the garden and the works of Pauline Henry.