Sunday, June 14, 2009

It's not just about growing flowers.....

From left to right: Orlando Sentinel garden columnist Tom MacCubbin shovels up the dirt on gardening year-round in Central Florida. Tom MacCubbin is an urban horticulturist emeritus with the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service. Maxine Thomas receiving certificate at MSG graduation and Resident Horticulturist and Master Gardener Coordinator, Dr. Al Ferrer of the Seminole County Extension Service.

June 9, 2009
Congratulations to the 2009 graduating class of Master Gardeners, Seminole County Florida.

Master Gardeners are not a garden club..............Master Gardeners are a public service. The Florida Master Gardener Program is a volunteer-driven program that benefits UF/IFAS Extension and the citizens of Florida. The program relies on dedicated volunteers who have an interest in gardening and in giving back to their communities.

Goal: To increase the availability of horticultural information for the community and to improve the quality of life for the residents of Seminole County through horticultural volunteer activities.

The 2009 graduating class of The Master Gardeners program of Seminole County, Florida, a non-profit, educational organization that operates under the auspices of University of Florida Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS). This class is an amazing mix of knowledge and interests.

I was a member of this program and attended class each Tuesday from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm for 15 weeks, in addition to several outside trips, in order to be given the title of Florida Master Gardener.

But these classes are just the beginning. The learning really gets going with interactions between fellow MGS and the public.

Each graduate is now responsible to do 100 hours of community service in the first year and 45 hours per year thereafter in addition to obtaining CE credit hours to maintain certification.

The position of Master Gardener is more valuable to the community in today's market then ever before due to employee cut-backs in this hard hit economy. Each new Master Gardener will need to provide service and might want to consider working the Help Desk, by taking phone calls at the extension office, Soil testing, working clinics, helping with classes, working in county demonstration gardens, working with children by helping with school &/or 4-H projects, interviews on TV/Radio, writing newsletters & bulletins and providing research based information and provide practical advice.

Personally, I have learned that now I know a little about a lot of topics with much more to go. I am looking forward to growth of knowledge while personal friendships flourish.

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