Planning for the Future
The Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteer (MGEV) Program connects UGA Extension, plant enthusiasts, and communities across the state. MGEVs share UGA Extension consumer horticulture programming about selection and care of plants for ornamental value, recreation, and home food production. Master Gardeners teach community members how to use plants and gardening to improve their environment, personal health, and quality of life.
In 2019, the Georgia MGEV Program celebrated its 40th year! You can catch a glimpse of the depth and breadth of our volunteers and programming in our 2019 annual report. We are proud of the many accomplishments of the program, including the continual engagement of individuals as volunteers, the agents and program assistants who coordinate the programs locally, and the relationships with our many partners and stakeholders.
Looking forward to the next 40 years is exciting! We are experiencing a renewed and heightened interest in plants and gardening as consumers realize the economic, environmental, community, and personal benefits that come from growing and tending plants, both indoors and out (see a new UGA Extension publication, Consumer Horticulture: Connecting People and Plants). We want to position the Georgia MGEV Program to support Extension programming to the fullest.
Hence, the Georgia MGEV Program is undertaking a strategic planning project to direct and shape the program for the next 5 to 10 years. It is important to listen to the many individuals and organizations that play a part in the future of the Georgia MGEV Program. In the interest of keeping everyone healthy and safe, we will be utilizing virtual listening processes to gather the information essential to plan development.
The strategic planning process involved listening, writing, and evaluating. It was critical to listen to the many individuals and organizations that play a part in the future of the Georgia MGEV Program. We used three stages of listening to hear from our various stakeholders, including online surveys, facilitated discussions via Zoom, and phone calls and interviews. A SWOT analysis (assessment of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and strengths) was used to explore four program pillars, including:
- Promotion - How we tell the public about the program and its accomplishments, how we brand the program within UGA Extension
- Training - How individuals are prepared to be a Georgia MGEV, including the basic training (42 hours), continuing education (6 hours annually), and Advanced Training (optional, UGA-approved, 6-hour increments)
- Programming - How MGEVs transfer the research-based information from UGA and other universities to the public, what MGEVs do to educate the public about plants and gardening
- Accountability - How we ensure that we are successful at our educational mission and are good stewards of our program resources (including funds raised in the name of the program)
Once the data was gathered and analyzed by the Strategic Planning Team, the plan was written. It identified five strategic priorities, including Program Coordination, Volunteer Engagement, Marketing/Promotion, Technology, and Training. During the August 2021 Program Update Day, the State Program Office shared the plan and state-level goals with agents and program assistants and engaged them in identifying county-level actions for addressing the priorities in the next five years. Click the button below to read the full plan.
Many thanks to our Strategic Planning Team for providing direction to the project:
- Paul Pugliese, Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent and County Extension Coordinator, Bartow County
- Joel Burnsed, Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent and County Extension Coordinator, Walton County
- Tim Daly, Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent, Gwinnett County
- Kathy Hensley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Program Assistant, Bibb County
- Cynthia McCrary, Program Assistant, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Fayette County
- Sheri Dorn, State Coordinator, Georgia MGEV Program, and Extension Specialist, Consumer Ornamental Plants
with additional guidance from the MGEV Advisory Panel, including:
- Keith Mickler, Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent and County Extension Coordinator, Floyd County
- Tripp Williams, Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent and County Extension Coordinator, Columbia County
- George Jeburk, MGEV, Henry County, and current GMGA President
- Dale Senko, MGEV, Coweta County
- Marc Teffeau, MGEV, Cherokee County
- Patricia Adsit, MGEV, Walton County
- Phillip Williams, MGEV, Richmond County, and GMGA President-elect