Master Gardener volunteers from across the state are making plans for an exciting week in October designated as “Celebrate Master Gardener Week!” The dates are October 11-17 and will celebrate the 27th Birthday of Arkansas Master Gardeners.
The Master Gardeners’ volunteers work under the umbrella of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service and have the benefits of the best training available for a hobby they appreciate and enjoy and the satisfaction of volunteering so that others may experience their efforts.
The Arkansas Master Gardener Program has over 3,000 volunteers in 70 counties (from 2014 reporting numbers). These Master Gardeners reported 102,850 education hours and 181,371 service hours. Arkansas adopted the Master Gardener program in 1988 in four counties (Garland, Jefferson, Pulaski, and Saline), and it has since expanded to programs in 67 counties.
Arkansas Master Gardeners receive training in many areas of horticulture related subjects in classes held during the year. Teachers and leaders are University of Arkansas and Extension staff and professionals as well as local resource people and Master Gardeners. In return for the outstanding training, those who are accepted into the classes agree to volunteer by working in their communities on sanctioned projects. The University of Arkansas Master Gardeners sponsor events in a wide range of activities including educational seminars and workshops, youth gardening programs, plant therapy work with hospitals and nursing homes, community beautification projects all helping to disseminate horticulture information. Annual plant sales are a great way to educate the public on the right plant for the right location.
Janet Carson, Cooperative Extension Horticulture Specialist, is the coordinator of the state Master Gardener program. She is the official Ambassador for Master Gardeners both in our state and across the country in speaking, writing, leading horticulture study trips, and traveling to meet with and support the Master Gardeners.
Our local chapter, the Van Buren County Master Gardeners, will be having a Garage Sale at Ed Leamon Park on Friday, October 16 (8 a.m. – 4 p.m.) & Saturday, October 17 (8 a.m. – 2 p.m.). We will have a little bit of everything (except clothing and large appliances) with a focus on gardening and horticulture items. Come and find a treasure! Proceeds will go to the local Master Gardener general fund.
During “Celebrate Master Gardener Week,” we invite you to visit the projects in your area and talk to Master Gardeners about their work and the program. If you are interested in signing up for the classes, contact your local Cooperative Extension Office for more information. For more about the program, please go to the website – http://www.uaex.edu/yard-garden/master-gardeners/default.aspx or go to our state extension website – www.uaex.edu – click on Yard and Garden, then Master Gardeners.