The Okaloosa County Master Gardener publication, The Compost Pile, won the Award of Excellence for the best newsletter in the state during the 35th Master Gardeners Continued Training Conference. 

The Compost Pile is a monthly newsletter intended to educate, inform and sometimes provide a laugh. The newsletter is available to Master Gardeners, residents and anyone with an internet connection and an interest in horticulture.

It features articles each month on what is happening in the garden, suggested gardening chores, wildlife happenings, and new features at the native plant trail at the Crestview Extension office, and feature articles about gardening tools and equipment.

Margaret Stewart of Crestview has been The Compost Pile’s editor for seven years. She typesets each edition, proofreads it and handles cover design, graphics and editing. She writes the article titled "The Last Word" in each issue. 

Karen Harper of Shalimar is co-editor and she checks the links in each edition and provides a monthly detailed article on a topic — everything from what the term organic really means to how to choose a pair of garden gloves. 

Bob Bayer of Crestview writes a monthly update for the native plant trail located at the county Extension Office in Crestview. 

Lee Vanderpool of Fort Walton Beach writes for the Master Gardener nursery in Fort Walton Beach, and Scott Berry of Niceville supplies the jokes, because every garden needs laughter. 

Dave Gordon and Ed Smith of Fort Walton Beach, and Alene Ogle are all contributing columnists. 

All master gardeners were encouraged to submit material, a lot of which may be seen in photographs featured in the "In Our Yards" section. 

There are also member-submitted recipes.

The public is welcome to read this newsletter — see www.ocmga.org and click on The Compost Pile.