Professional volunteer judges from the America in Bloom (AIB) national awards program will visitGreenwood, SC on June 20 and 21. This is Greenwood’s fourth year as an America in Bloom participant, and is one of the many proud and passionate communities across America working on local revitalization programs with an eye to receiving a prestigious America in Bloom national award.
In addition to receiving detailed written evaluation from the judges citing strengths and opportunities for improvement, participants receive a bloom rating and special mention for what the judges deem to be an extraordinary project or program. Additional awards that can be earned are as follows:
- Population category winner
- Outstanding achievement award – the “best of the best” over all participants in each of the six
- Special awards
- Community Champion
- YouTube Video Award
Population category winners are invited to participate in international competition via the Communities in Bloom program in Canada.
Judges will be evaluating the community’s efforts in the areas of overall impression, environmental efforts, heritage, landscaped areas, urban forestry, floral displays, and community involvement in the municipal, commercial and residential sectors.
The judging team members are Teresa Woodard and Nikki Springer. Teresa Woodard writes and produces garden and lifestyle stories for regional and national magazines. After graduating from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, she worked seven years
for a Columbus, Ohio public relations firm marketing the city’s economic development and promoting its restaurant and hotel chains’ community involvement. Teresa pursued a new career path in 2007 when she started a freelance writing business. In 2016, her work won a Gold Award in Magazine Writing by the GWA: The Association of Garden Communicators. Teresa blogs with two other garden writers at www.heartland-gardening.com and recently published a book with them. She is a Master Gardener Volunteer for The Ohio State University Extension, editor of the Master Gardener Training Manual and winner of the 2015 Ohio Outstanding Master Gardener Award. Teresa gardens on two acres at her home in a conservation community west of Columbus. Here, she nurtures prairie strips, an edibles garden and perennial beds.
Nikki Springer is an environmental consultant with a background in landscape architecture, sustainability, and facility management. She recently completed a PhD in Environmental Management from Yale University and was the 2010 Garvan Chair & Visiting Professor in Landscape Architecture at the University of Arkansas. Prior to returning to graduate school, Nikki oversaw landscape management for every Walmart store and Sam’s Club location in the US. In this capacity, she developed Walmart’s sustainable landscape guidelines and implemented a number of water saving and waste diverting landscape strategies for Walmart’s domestic portfolio. Nikki has prior landscape design experience as part of the Brooklyn Bridge Park project team at Michael VanValkenburgh’s New York City office. She has also worked for Walt Disney Imagineering in several capacities, from the Aulani Hawaii resort master planning team to the construction of the American Idol experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the development of stormwater management strategies for Shanghai Disneyland. Nikki holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from MIT and both a Master of Landscape Architecture and Master of Urban Planning from Harvard University.
To date, nearly 250 communities from 41 states have participated in the program and more than 22 million people have been touched by it. Awards will be announced on October 3-5 at the National Symposium in St. Charles, IL. The media will have two opportunities to meet and visit with the judges during their visit.
Thursday, June 20, at 8:45 a.m. at the Inn on the Square and Friday, June 21 at a volunteer reception at the Railroad Historical Center beginning at 6:00 p.m. America in Bloom is an independent non-profit 501c3 corporation. America in Bloom envisions
communities across the country as welcoming and vibrant places to live, work, and play – benefiting from colorful plants and trees; enjoying clean environments; celebrating heritage; and planting pride through volunteerism. www.AmericaInBloom.org 2130 Stella Ct. Columbus, OH. 43215