SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – Ohio Master Gardener volunteers love plants and teaching others about gardening. So much so that they spent over 151,000 hours last year leading beautification projects, giving horticultural presentations and raising gardening awareness. Their volunteer efforts resulted in $3.3 million worth of community service contributions throughout Ohio.
The contributions of Master Gardener volunteers will be celebrated during Master Gardener Volunteer Program Week, May 17-24. This year's theme is "Master Gardener Volunteers Give Back," and activities and programs will be held throughout Ohio's counties emphasizing that theme.
"The purpose of Master Gardener Volunteer Program Week is to recognize the outstanding MGV programs in the state and the work that our volunteers are doing in their communities," said Pam Bennett, Ohio State University Extension statewide Master Gardener Volunteer coordinator. "Each county will celebrate the week by selecting a program, new or ongoing, that best emphasizes this year's theme."
Master Gardener Volunteer Program Week, which began in 2008, honors the hard work and dedication of master gardener volunteers throughout Ohio and recognizes OSU Extension's efforts in promoting the Master Gardener volunteer program. The program provides leadership and educational development to individuals interested in gardening and giving back to their communities.
"The grassroots efforts taking place in the counties are deserving of the Master Gardener Volunteer Program Week recognition. Volunteers are quietly making a difference in their communities focusing on community gardens, beautification projects, best management practices in the landscape, and many more activities," said Bennett. "Volunteers often do their projects with little or no funding; therefore, partnerships are a large component of each program in each county."
The Master Gardener volunteer program began in Ohio in the 1970s. The program provides intensive training in horticulture to interested individuals who then volunteer their time assisting with educational programs and activities for Ohio residents through their local OSU Extension county office. More than 3,500 Master Gardeners volunteer their time and services in 67 Ohio counties.
The volunteers participate in a variety of activities, including conducting educational programs for consumers on best gardening practices; developing demonstration gardens highlighting best management practices; conducting research on plant varieties recommended for Ohio; working with neighbors in a community garden setting; teaching people how to plant, maintain and harvest a vegetable garden in the city; and continuing to provide outreach for OSU Extension.
Contact your local OSU Extension county office for information on events, programs and activities in celebration of Master Gardener Volunteer Program Week.
To find more activities and events during Master Gardener Volunteer Program Week, or to learn more about the OSU Extension Master Gardener volunteer program, log on to http://mastergardener.osu.edu, or contact Pam Bennett at (937) 328-4607 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.