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Summary

The Georgia Master Gardener Program, continuously active for 41 years under the direction of Extension in more than 60 counties across the state, continues to train volunteers to assist agents in Extension educational program delivery. Master Gardener Extension Volunteers (MGEVs) augment the County Extension Agents' efforts to help fulfill the mission of Extension of providing quality, relevant outreach and continuing education programs and services to local citizens. In 2019, 25 counties recruited and trained 324 new volunteers to assist Cooperative Extension in educational delivery. More than 2,300 MGEVs returned 179,788 volunteer hours at a value of $4,340,082 to the University of Georgia and their communities. This is roughly equivalent to 86 full-time staff. As a result of educational activities offered by MGEVs, Georgians are able to make environmentally sound gardening decisions. Because MGEVs work with Georgians to answer questions and solve problems, insects and diseases can be treated with appropriate controls, plant choices can be made to enhance landscapes and property values, individuals can grow their own fruits and vegetables, and youth gain exposure to the joy and wonder of gardening. As a result of MGEV efforts, agents are able to devote time to developing targeted educational programs that address local issues and needs. MGEVs ultimately help Extension achieve its mission of helping Georgians become healthier, more productive, financially independent and environmentally responsible.

Situation

In many Georgia counties, Extension Agents are too few in number to handle the vast number of garden-related information requests that Extension offices receive. Requests for information about gardening come through telephone, email and walk-in clientele. Numerous requests also come in for off-site presentations to community groups and displays at educational events. Most offices only have only one agent in the Agriculture and Natural Resources program area; some have none. The Georgia Master Gardener Program, continuously active for 41 years under the direction of Extension in more than 60 counties across the state, continues to train volunteers to assist agents in Extension educational program delivery. Master Gardener Extension Volunteers (MGEVs) augment the County Extension Agents' efforts to help fulfill the mission of Extension of providing quality, relevant outreach and continuing education programs and services to local citizens.

Response

In 2019, 25 counties recruited and trained 324 new volunteers to assist Cooperative Extension in educational delivery. More than 2,300 MGEVs returned 179,788 volunteer hours at a value of $4,340,082 to the University of Georgia and their communities. This is roughly equivalent to 86 full-time staff. Averaging 78 hours of service per active volunteer, or a little more than 1.5 hours per volunteer per week, these enthusiastic volunteers answered thousands of telephone calls, giving guidance to homeowners on a wide range of horticultural topics from turf problems to pest identification, and planting home vegetable gardens. MGEVs also designed and maintained gardens and public landscapes used as outdoor classrooms for demonstrating the latest in sustainable gardening practices. MGEVs were often seen as the public faces of Cooperative Extension in their communities, reaching out to educate 240,243 Georgians at fairs and plant clinics and through civic club presentations and home garden visits.

Impact

As a result of educational activities offered by MGEVs, Georgians are able to make environmentally sound gardening decisions. Because MGEVs work with Georgians to answer questions and solve problems, insects and diseases can be treated with appropriate controls, plant choices can be made to enhance landscapes and property values, individuals can grow their own fruits and vegetables, and youth gain exposure to the joy and wonder of gardening. As a result of MGEV efforts, agents are able to devote time to developing targeted educational programs that address local issues and needs. MGEVs ultimately help Extension achieve its mission of helping Georgians become healthier, more productive, financially independent and environmentally responsible.

State Issue

Urban Agriculture

Details

  • Year: 2020
  • Geographic Scope: State
  • County: Spalding
  • Location: Georgia Station, Griffin
  • Program Areas:
    • Agriculture & Natural Resources

Author

  • Dorn, Sheri T

Collaborator(s)

CAES Collaborator(s)

  • Adams, Beverly
  • Bauske, Ellen M.
  • Bembry, Joelette
  • Braman, Susan K
  • Brissey, Courtney L
  • Brodd, Sarah Smith
  • Burch, Katherine Claxton
  • Burke, Paula
  • Burkett, Teresa
  • Burnsed, Joel
  • Butcher, Stephanie Ray
  • Chappell, Matthew
  • Chen, Yanyu
  • Cook, Mack Jefferson
  • Crumsey, Brandon
  • Daly, Timothy
  • Daniel, David
  • Davis, Timothy Scott
  • Dawson, Joshua
  • Eason, Nathaniel Paul
  • Fielder, J. Keith
  • Fritz, Kim
  • Fuder, Joshua G
  • Gardner, Donald M.
  • Gates, Roger N
  • Hancock, Frank H
  • Hensley, Kathryn W
  • Holloway, Alicia
  • Hutcheson, B. Wade
  • Kelly, Karol
  • Kolich, Heather Noelle
  • Lemon, Renae
  • Livingston, Kevin
  • MacAllister, Clark
  • Machek, Sharon K
  • Macie, Jule-Lynne
  • Maddy, Brian
  • Mansour, Karen
  • Martinez, Alfredo
  • Mattee, Melissa
  • McCullough, Patrick E
  • Meeks, Charlotte Leslie Mote
  • Mickler, Keith D.
  • Morgan, James L.
  • Murphy, James Thomas
  • Patrick, Steven R.
  • Peiffer, Gary R.
  • Pennisi, Svoboda Vladimirova
  • Pittman, Gregory
  • Pugliese, Paul
  • Randle, Anne
  • Ray, Lucy
  • Sawyer, Sarah
  • Scaduto, John Joseph
  • Sheffield, Mary Carol
  • Smith, Amy
  • Stallings, Kendra
  • Tedrow, Amanda
  • Toal, Kimberly Jackson
  • Vaughn, Edwin Campbell
  • Waltz, Freddie Clinton
  • Warren, Jessica
  • Westerfield, Robert
  • Williams, Jacob Paul
  • Williams, Tripp
  • Willingham, Julia Ferguson
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