“More Volunteer Hours Than Ever”
In 2006, Texas Master Gardeners contributed more volunteer hours than ever before. Their activities, projects, and expertise significantly multiple the educational outreach of Texas Cooperative Extension.
Through 115 County Master Gardener programs, 1,075 individuals were trained to become Texas Master Gardener Interns. To gain certification, each Intern must contribute a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer service. In 2006, the corps of Texas Master Gardeners and Interns totaled 5,038. They provided 395,422 hours of volunteer time to Extension educational projects. This volunteer service, equivalent to 195 full-time employees, increases the human capacity of Extension by 15 percent. The economic value of this service translates to a $7.2 million benefit to the State of Texas.
Texas Master Gardeners:
- answer over 4,500 homeowner telephone calls each month that are received by County Extension offices throughout Texas regarding landscape and garden topics
- present over 4,800 presentations each year to over 50,000 thousand Texans through garden clubs, civic group, and community organizations
- publish and broadcast hundreds of news columns, radio shows, and television segments annually through local mass media outlets
- provide expertise and guidance to nearly 500 elementary school gardening programs
- design, install, and maintain over 125 demonstration gardens for the public to view and learn environmentally-sound plant materials and garden practices
- design and maintain 31 Internet websites that are visited each year by thousands of Texans in search of the best gardening information available in their communities
These efforts expand Extension’s capacity to meet the increasing demand for horticultural and environmental information. Texas Master Gardeners have truly become Extension’s “first responders” for gardening advice.
Through dedicated leadership of County Extension Agents and Master Gardeners, the Texas Master Gardener program continues to be the largest Master Gardener program in the United States.