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Purdue Master Gardener Program Spotlight: Ricky Kemery

Ricky Kemery receives award from Peggy Sellers

Ricky Kemery receives award from Peggy Sellers

Ricky Kemery received the Purdue Master Gardener Coordinator of the Year Award at the Annual Purdue Master Gardener Conference in Merrillville on June 24, 2005. Ricky Kemery is the Allen County Horticulture Educator with the Purdue Cooperative Extension service. Ricky graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. in Landscape Horticulture and Design. He obtained his M.S. in Ornamental Horticulture from Purdue in 1995. Ricky develops education programs and provides research-based information about Horticulture to area citizens in a wide variety of ways, and also is responsible for helping the commercial horticulture industry in the Ft. Wayne area.

As the "Plant Medic" Ricky (with the help of Master Gardener volunteers) answers over 5,000 gardening phone calls yearly from citizens in the area. In addition, Ricky also helps citizens by diagnosing insect and disease problems for over 1,000 samples of trees, flowers and shrubs at the Extension office.

Ricky is quick to coach, educate, and work with everyone on whatever or wherever the need. He is always willing to listen, is very knowledgeable, and has a fantastic memory. He always tests the knowledge of Master Gardeners. He welcomes new ideas and moving programs to a higher level. He is great at running interference and mentoring with teams or groups when personalities get in the way. Diplomacy and humor are actively practiced during those times.

Ricky has included many counties into a regional Master Gardener program and works with other county educators on a continuing basis. This improves and strengthens each county, and helps improve beautification everywhere the MG program is active. He enjoys writing, and is the main contributing author of the new Purdue MG Intern training manual (coming soon).

Quotes from his MGs:
"He is the best volunteer boss I have ever had in over 25 years of volunteering various places and my background is volunteer administration, public relations, and marketing."

"He is not just a coordinator, but a friend."

"If a project gets derailed, his response is calm and positive and suddenly the problem is not such a problem after all."

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