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- Author or Editor: Mary Hockenberry Meyer x
Nearly 300 Master Gardeners (MGs) who stopped volunteering were surveyed as to why they did not continue in the program. The fivequestion survey was mailed to people who had not turned in volunteer hours for the previous two years. Forty-seven percent or 131 useable surveys were returned and tabulated. A majority of the respondents, 73 (56%), indicated “no time” as the primary reason for not volunteering. Illness or personal reasons accounted for 30 responses (23%), and 20 people (15%) indicated they were disappointed in the program. Eighty-one percent rated the program as excellent or good; 79% indicated they would recommend the program to others.
Development of a new children's horticulture curriculum, the Junior Master Gardener program, from Texas A&M Univ. has lead to several youth projects in Minnesota. In Chisago County, Minn., Master Gardeners have instructed 4-H leaders who taught weekly sessions to elementary age children. Older teens have been leaders in this project as well. In Hennepin County, Minn., the program has been used by teachers and Master Gardeners in a formal classroom setting. Additional programs in Anoka, Rice, Winona, and Washington Counties, Minn., have used this curriculum. Leaders say the strengths of the program are the extensive and detailed list of projects, the impact on the local community when children do the service component, and children's learning of the scientific concepts that are the basis of the program. Cost of the materials and distribution are negative features. Further program examples will be highlighted and detailed at this workshop.
Several traditional print extension resources have been published on program evaluation, including Evaluating Impact of Extension Programs, by R. Rennekamp, P. Warner, and R. Maurer, 1996, Univ. of Kentucky; and Evaluation for Accountability, by B. Sawer, 1992, Oregon State Univ. Additional resources from other agencies, such as the Minnesota Department of Human Services' publication Measuring the Difference Volunteers Make can aid in the evaluation of extension programs. New reporting methods are now being used to present information and program evaluation such as Minnesota Impacts http://www3.extension.umn.edu/mnimpacts/index.asp, and Oregon Invests. This workshop session will define terms important in evaluation reporting, suggest resources to use, and propose a method of reporting evaluation information of similar projects in environmental horticulture programs throughout the United States.