First Master Gardener to Receive Alexandria Environmental Award

First Master Gardener to Receive Alexandria Environmental Award


Joyce Hylton, recipient of Ellen Pickering Environmental Service Award.

Joyce Hylton received the City of Alexandria Ellen Pickering Environmental Service Award Tuesday, May 11 at the virtual City Council Legislative meeting. This award recognizes members of the Alexandria community who demonstrate a commitment to protecting the environment and preserving local natural resources.

Hylton was nominated “as a significantly effective volunteer with Virginia Cooperative Extension.”

Hylton has served as an Extension Master Gardener for 21 years where she has shared environmental landscape practices through two programs a year on Composting Practices, particularly significant in Alexandria’s solid waste reduction efforts. She is also the in-house expert on Turf Management and Weed identification focusing on another area important in Alexandria — the reduction of pesticides and excessive use of fertilizers.

During the challenges posed by the pandemic, she transitioned the Extension Gardener Help Desk from in-person lab-based to an online remote access outreach available to all Alexandrians and is also engaged in training new volunteers in the many functions of the help desk.

The Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award is named in honor of Francis Ellen Pickering, who was a long-time city activist whose lobbying efforts more than 40 years ago helped create the Mount Vernon Trail between Alexandria and Washington, D.C. She was also deeply committed to preserving the City’s waterfront.

Hylton’s nomination summarizes: “Joyce is a stellar example of a passionate, engaged, active and effective educator and resident of Alexandria and well deserving.” This is the first time the award has been presented to a Virginia Extension Master Gardener. The award was presented by the Alexandria Environmental Policy Commission and Alexandria Renew Enterprises.