The Florida Master Gardener Program: History, Use, and Trends

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  • 1 Assistant professor, Department of Environmental Horticulture, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0670.
  • | 2 Interim state Master Gardener coordinator, Department of Environmental Horticulture, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0670.
  • | 3 Educational materials designer, Florida Energy Extension Service, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0570.

The Florida Master Gardener program volunteered more than 730,865 service hours to the Florida Cooperative Extension Service from 1991 through 1996, valued as a net in-kind donation of $4,615,395. Started in 1979, this program has grown consistently, affecting Floridians in all walks of life. Agents in 47 counties devoted an average of 29% of their time to capitalize on this volunteer knowledge and expertise. An overview of Florida's Master Gardener program provides a synopsis of the many components that make this volunteer program a success including past trends and current areas of review to prepare the program for the next millennium.

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