On April 8, 2019, we gathered at the State Botanical Garden to celebrate the Georgia MGEV Program. We were able to gather and celebrate in such a lovely location thanks to the great generosity of the State Botanical Garden. We are grateful to Dr. Jennifer Cruse-Sanders, director of the State Botanical Garden, for her sponsorship of our event, and to the SBG staff who led tours in the garden, in spite of the rain! We also appreciate warm comments from Dr. Sam Pardue, Dean of UGA’s College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences and Dr. McCann, Assistant Dean of Extension. We are thankful for the strong college leadership and continued support of the MGEV program. We appreciate the greetings and well wishes from Mr. George Jeburk, the president of GMGA. We thoroughly enjoyed Dr. David Gibby’s recount of the Master Gardener program beginning in 1972. It was a delightful day.
Our success is the result of so many people. Thank you to all of you who are agents and coordinators of local MGEV programs. We cannot have local programs without you and your leadership. You are a critical link between UGA’s consumer horticulture information, MGEVs, and the public. We recognize and appreciate Extension agents who provided leadership for Georgia’s first training class, as well as former State Coordinators. We cannot train the thousands of Master Gardeners who have come through the program without the support of Extension specialists who help write publications and book chapters as well as teach classes. Each has influenced our program and its direction.
Georgia’s Master Gardener history includes so many volunteers spread among more than 65 counties all over the state. We celebrate and appreciate each one for their contributions to the Georgia MGEV Program. Their energy and enthusiasm for plants and people is vital to our success. If you don’t believe me about that last point, be sure to check out the 2018 Annual Report!
This year, we celebrate 40 years of a vibrant volunteer program in which garden enthusiasts partner with UGA Extension to deliver research-based information to the public. We celebrate 40 years of working together to grow communities all across Georgia through sound horticultural practices, protecting our natural resources and the greater environment, and reaping the numerous health, community, social, economic, and environmental benefits attributed to gardening.
Master Gardeners began in the 1970s, answering phones and staffing plant clinics in shopping malls. Through the years, we have expanded the many ways Master Gardeners respond to the public demand for gardening and horticulture information. We’ve perfected the plant clinic, the speaker’s bureau, and the county fair exhibit. We’ve reached out to share the garden with special populations, such as children, those with accessibility considerations, incarcerated individuals, and even at-risk youth. What’s next for Extension Master Gardeners as we look to the next 5, 10, 15 years?
We have the pleasure of connecting a world of people with plants, maybe even meeting them online, and drawing them to our demonstration gardens, workshops, tours. Ours is a challenging job, but heh! Someone has to do it, right?
I can’t express enough my gratitude to each you for your part in our mission of assisting Extension in providing unbiased horticultural information through volunteer community service and consumer horticulture programming. Here’s to another great 40 years!