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88 WORKSHOP 12 (Abstr. 685) Junior Master Gardener Programs Tuesday, 25 July, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

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The Kentucy Master Gardener Program is administered through the Cooperative Extension Service of the Univ. of Kentucky with assistance from the Kentucky State Univ. Land Grant Program. Master Gardener Programs in Kentucky were originally established in urban areas of the state, but have more recently expanded to rural areas as well. Master Gardener Programs are currently active in over 25 Kentucky counties. Individual Master Gardener programs are under the direction of a county extension agent (or group of agents if the program involves multiple counties) who is assisted by two, part-time state co-coordinators (extension horticulture specialists). The county agents are responsible for Master Gardener recruitment, training, and volunteer management. A required “core content” for Master Gardener training includes a total of 24 hours of instruction in basic plant science and an orientation to Cooperative Extension. State extension specialists have compiled an extensive training manual that covers the required topics as well as additional subject areas. To become certified Master Gardeners, trainees must complete assigned homework, pass a comprehensive final exam, and complete at least one hour of volunteer service for each hour of formal instruction. The county agents determine requirements for continued certification and agents may also offer advanced Master Gardener training. This poster will provide details regarding Master Gardener recruitment, training, and retention in Kentucky.

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The authors wish to thank and recognize the sponsor of this research, the North Central Region–Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program. Junior Master Gardener, JMG, and associated logos are registered service marks of the Texas

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A total of 51 Extension agents were surveyed in the North Carolina Master Gardener program. Thirty-five (68%) agents returned the survey. The highest benefits from participation in the Master Gardener program were expanded outreach of the county office and increased community support. The top three program barriers are limited time, financial resources, and the recruiting/supporting of volunteers. The majority (60% agreed) of agents felt the Master Gardener program was a cutting-edge program and the Master Gardener Association (67.7% agreed) should continue to be supported. The three significant programming thrusts at the county level were new clientele, increased number of volunteers, and volunteer input into the local program. Significant features from the state level were the production of support materials, administrative support, and the N.C. Master Gardener Manual. Future changes/improvements to the Master Gardener program should be done through in-service training, completion of the teaching modules project, and more agent sharing sessions. Most agents (58.8%) have been in the Master Gardener program for 5 years or less, with 42.9% possessing horticulture undergraduate degrees. At least 100 median hours per agent were freed up by Master Gardeners answering phone calls and conducting workshops. The estimated savings to homeowners per county was a $20,000 median.

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The Davis County Master Gardener program is unique in several ways. The program includes 3 years of training and volunteer service. The first year's training, taught each year, covers general gardening principles, while the two advance classes, offered in alternate years, focus on fruit and vegetables and ornamentals and landscape design. The program is also unique in that it is based at the Utah State University Botanical Gardens. In addition to working with horticulture extension programs, Master Gardeners can get hands-on experience working in the gardens. Many specialize and become local resident experts in particular gardening areas.

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accurate information about horticultural topics, trends, and research. To this end, the Extension Master Gardener (MG) program has become an established nationwide framework for participants to increase their own horticultural knowledge while simultaneously

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) organized the workshop. The panelists invited to share their expertise were Kerry Smith, Dr. Esther McGinnis, and Dr. Lucy Bradley. Kerry Smith, Alabama Cooperative Extension System Home Grounds team coleader and the Master Gardener Program State

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The Master Gardener Program in the state of Wisconsin is growing rapidly and has been in existence since the late 1970s. There are several aspects of our program(s) that make us unique. First, we are one of the very few states to service all counties within the state, not just our heavily metropolitan areas. Second, we have two major program types along with some unique county programming. We have the basic Master Gardener Program, which covers the major aspects of horticulture—this gives the learner 36 h of training with an expectation of 36 h of volunteer work in return. We now offer the general program in districts (extension has six clusters of counties in Wisconsin)—such that the counties within a district (usually around 16) will have the chance to offer the course at least once every 3 years. That is because the general course is offered once a week (3 h in the evening) for 12 weeks; and thus the basic course is offer spring and fall. If some of the counties within a particular district do not choose to participate, then other counties around the state can take part. Most of the 12 programs are high quality 2-h video productions followed by a 1-h ETN program, which is like a big conference call—everyone has an interactive session with the specialist who developed the video. The specialized program is a series of four 36-h (six 6-h days) training over a 4-year period, which covers flowers, fruit, vegetables, and turf, along with trees and shrubs. This program is offered in our four largest metropolitan areas and is still done all by live lecture. Finally, we require update training for our MGs if they want to continue to be members in good standing (wallet-size cards are issued). This involves 10 h of specified educational opportunities and 10 volunteer hours per year. We also have a day-long educational conference each spring as well as cooperating with Iowa and Minnesota to offer a 2-1/2 day workshop on the alternating years of the international conference. This is hands-on training, held usually the end of June, and rotates among the three states. We now have a stong MG association which has nonprofit status and is an integral partner with us here at the university. Not only do MGs receive members in good standing cards annually, they also receive certificates for 150, 250, 500, 750, and 1000 h of service as well as a 10-year certificate.

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Limited budgets and downsizing have threatened the delivery of technological and educational information by the cooperative extension service. As such trends continue, volunteers become more important. Background factors, influence of specific individuals, attitudes toward the value of the program, and personal benefits received influence a person's decision to become a Master Gardener volunteer. In this study, individuals who were older than 50 and had children and parents who were former volunteers in an extension program were more likely to become Master Gardener volunteers, as were individuals who felt that the Master Gardener program benefited the community and themselves. Specific individuals, such as garden club members, other Master Gardeners, a neighbor, or persons holding leadership positions in the community, might also influence an individual's decision to volunteer.

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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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