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Allyson Shabel and Jim Richason at an E-waste drive.

ALABAMA A&M UNIVERSITY, Ala. – Allyson Shabel, an Alabama Extension at Alabama A&M University (AAMU) urban regional agent, recently received the Early-Career Service Award and the Distinguished Team Award from the Extension Professionals’ Organization (ESP) Epsilon Sigma Phi. These awards are given to outstanding winners each year.

About the 2020 Winners

Shabel received the Early-Career Service Award for working with diverse audiences in the areas of home grounds and forestry, wildlife and natural resources. She coordinated 14 e-waste drives and 12 drug take back programs during the past six years. As a result, these initiatives diverted 45,450 pounds of electronic and 1,148 pounds of pharmaceutical waste from public landfills.

Shabel also worked with local schools, youth groups and senior centers to install nine raised bed gardens. These gardens produced 3,817 pounds of fresh vegetables in Morgan and Lawrence counties. Community gardens are used to teach and to supply fresh produce for at-risk and underserved populations.

In addition, Shabel and other members of the Alabama Extension beekeeping team were honored with the Distinguished Team Award for implementing the Stay-at-Home Beekeeping Series to vulnerable COVID-19 audiences. The series has garnered international attention with more than 5,000 registrants. Other team members include Auburn staffers Jack Rowe, an Alabama Extension regional agent and Geoff Williams, an Auburn University assistant professor of entomology. Phillip Carter, a retired urban regional Extension agent from Houston County, also lent his expertise to the team.

“Extension events and projects are possible because of passionate citizens, groups, and organizations. Working together makes us stronger and Morgan and Lawrence counties better places to live,” Shabel said.

Alabama Extension products and programs continue to win national awards from various professional organizations.

About the ESP Awards

The ESP Epsilon Sigma Phi Early Career Award pays tribute to a new “Extension professional who has exhibited the potential for leadership and excellence in Extension program planning, delivery, evaluation, and/or administration during the first 10 years of their career.”

The Distinguished Service Award recognizes outstanding team efforts for responding to critical local, state, regional, or national issues. The ESP is one of the oldest and largest organizations of Extension professionals in the country.


Contact Kimberly Sinclair-Holmes at (256) 372-4941 or email ksh0035@aces.edu for more information about Alabama Extension programs at AAMU.

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