Proposed by: Norma Samuel

Presenter: Samuel, N., Extension Agent Iii, Horticulture, , Ocala, FL 34470

Harnessing Volunteer Skills to Build an Effective Master Gardener Program
Samuel, N.R.*1
1. Horticulture/Extension Agent, University of Florida, Ocala, FL, 34470
Master Gardener (MG) volunteers have diverse backgrounds with varying skill sets. These skills can be harnessed by empowering volunteers to build an effective MG Program. The purpose of this workshop session is to teach participants how to identify and utilize MG skills by assigning meaningful tasks. The University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension Marion County has 110 active MGs. MGs serving on the board are assigned directorship positions. Each active MG serves on a committee. MGs take full leadership for planning and implementation of activities assigned. Examples of activities that are volunteer-led in the MG program are: an annual Spring Festival that has over 8,000 attendees; maintenance of a 1,000 square foot greenhouse and half-acre propagation area, the plants from which generate approximately $7,000 each year; and local coordination of the first ever statewide MG Leadership Conference. One MG indicated she feels “a sense of ownership in the MG program” and another indicated that she has “been able to accomplish much more than she would have ever imagined being able to do in her retirement years.” The Marion County MG program serves as a model in the state of Florida and has received numerous state MG awards and received an international MG award in 2013.

All Accepted Proposals