National Extension Master Gardener Week

— Written By and last updated by Elisabeth Purser
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50 years ago the Extension Master Gardener℠ program began at Washington State University. The Co-Founder & WSU Urban Horticulturalist, David Gibby, believed in the power of volunteers. What began with 300 volunteers in Washington state has grown to over 84,000 volunteers showing up in communities across the country! Say thanks to a Master Gardener volunteer – it’s National Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Week.

Co-founder & Commercial Horticulturist, Bill Scheer, saw the power of volunteers in his home country of Germany and pressed WSU administration to pursue the Extension Master Gardener program. Fifty years later, the need for science-based gardening information is more pressing than ever with our evolving climate, communities and needs.

The Extension Master Gardener program is deeply rooted in serving locally. Once established at WSU, Co-Founder & Ornamental Horticulturist, Bernie Wesenberg, hit the road to share this program nationally… and it stuck. The program has a presence in all 50 states and three countries. Regardless of the state, you’ll find Master Gardener volunteers at farmers markets, school gardens and classrooms, community gardens, leading wildflower hikes, educational gardens, contributing fresh produce to food pantries, and staffing email/phone/helpdesks ready to tackle your tough gardening questions!

EMG Co-Founder, Sharon Collman, noted Master Gardener volunteers are fantastic and never stop learning. Powered by state land-grant institutions, volunteers are dedicated to learning science-based horticulture practices provided by Extension faculty in their home states. Collman, a WSU Professor Emeritus, went on to say,  “It’s so very inspiring to work with  these people.”

Master Gardener volunteers connect with tens of millions of people each year. Rolling up their sleeves to empower local communities through horticulture… one person, one question, one garden at a time!

The Union County Extension Master Gardener volunteers are a part of this great program and give freely of their time to serve the residents of Union County by hosting educational programs and answering your gardening questions. Please congratulate them on the 50th anniversary of the program and thank them for their service when you see them.