Horticulturalist recognized for work

By Lil Spinks, West Nassau Correspondent
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Local horticulturalist Rebecca Jordi has been recognized for excellence in her field by a national organization.

The University of Florida/ Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Agent II was recently named as state winner in the Search for Excellence in Landscape Horticulture Program conducted by the National Association of County Agriculture Agents (NACAA).

Presentation of a plaque and cash award was made to Jordi at the NACAA Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, July 23-27. Since Nassau County had cut its funding for national travel, Jordi was unable to be recognized in person, but an agent from Duval County picked up the award for her.

Monetary support of the program is provided by TruGreen ChemLawn and Jordi said she intends to write to the company to let it know how much she appreciates its support.

NACAA is a professional association for Extension Educators; professionals working in agriculture, horticulture, forestry and natural resources, 4-H youth development, community development, administration, aquaculture/sea grant and related disciplines.

The mission of NACAA is to further the professional improvement of its members, communication and cooperation among all extension educators, the enhancement of the image of extension and development of personal growth opportunities for extension professionals.

The Search for Excellence in Landscape Horticulture Program recognized NACAA members who excel in developing horticulture educational programs.

Jordi received her B.S. in secondary education at Florida State University and her M.Ed from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. She is one of the few certified arborists in Nassau County and has served the University of Florida/IFAS Nassau County Extension for the past five years in Environmental Horticulture to local homeowners.

In addition, she works in Commercial Horticulture with county employees, landscape maintenance professionals and pesticide applicators. She manages 35 Master Gardener volunteers on local projects such as the Nassau County Demonstration Garden, plant clinics and monthly education programs.

Jordi is involved with youth programming such Ag in the Classroom, Ag Literacy, 4-H summer camps and developed an At-Risk Youth program for 16-18 year olds at Nassau Halfway House.

She initiated a bi-weekly newspaper column for local newspapers, including the News-Leader, titled "Garden Talk" and also produces a monthly e-magazine article called "Garden Zone" for Amelia Island E-Magazine.

As a certified arborist, she has formulated quarterly programs for training certified arborists called Arborist Certification Education (ACE) and "ACE Lunch & Learns" in cooperation with urban forestry professionals in surrounding counties.

Jordi has been an active Education Board member and committee participant for the Florida Chapter of International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). She has been a member of NACAA and FACAA since 2001, serving on several committees for the Florida National meeting in 2004. She served as mid-year chair for FACAA in 2006.

Story created Aug 19, 2006 - 11:27:38 PDT.


Becky Jordi

Nassau County Horticulture Agent III Rebecca Jordi takes part in a discussion with youths during a recent summer day camp.
Lil Spinks/For the News-Leader