photo credit: Meredith A. Muckerman

Accolades for Virginia Cooperative Extension

It was a clean sweep for Virginia Cooperative Extension at the George Mason University Go Gaga for Green awards for its efforts promoting environmental sustainability. VCE staff and volunteers won in all three award categories, Individual, Organization and People’s Choice.

Extension Agent and Unit Coordinator, Jennifer Abel, was awarded the Arlington Green Patriot Award for her sustainability efforts both professionally and personally. Jennifer actively volunteers for several local environmentally focused organizations including the Mt. Vernon Group of the Sierra Club and ACE R4 task force. In 2011, Jennifer co-founded the award winning Energy Masters program. In the five years since its inception, more than 150 volunteers have retrofitted almost 600 low income apartments to improve energy efficiency and reduce tenants’ utility bills. The program now operates in both Arlington County and the City of Alexandria. To learn more about the Energy Masters program, visit

Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia took both the Organization and People’s Choice awards. The non profit works with Extension Agent Kirsten Conrad Buhls and supports VCE volunteer efforts to educate the public about sustainable landscape management practices and home food production. MGNV support funds 5 demonstration gardens around Arlington and the City of Alexandria. The public can visit the gardens to learn more about various plants and gardening techniques. MGNV has also developed the Tried & True Native Plant fact sheets that provide homeowners with detailed information on how to incorporate native plants into the home landscape. To find out more about MGNV and the Tried & Trues, visit

Virginia Cooperative Extension’s varied programs are all supported by community volunteers. No experience is required to volunteer; VCE provides training and volunteer resources. Interested volunteers can find out more at

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