ALABAMA A&M and AUBURN UNIVERSITIES
For more information,
contact Donna Reynolds, Extension Assistant Editor
AUBURN, SEPT. 4---What is a "Master Gardener?" It's an individual who learns about the art and science of horticulture and shares that information with others.
Master Gardeners in Alabama are a diverse group of individuals with a common interest in learning more about gardening, says MaryBeth Musgrove, Extension horticulture associate with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
The only requirements for becoming a Master Gardener are an interest in learning about gardening and horticulture, having the time to attend an intensive training course on all areas of horticulture, and a willingness to share what you learn with others.
Today, more than ever, home gardeners are becoming active Master Gardener volunteers, joining as partners with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, to meet the growing interest in landscape and gardening products and information.
According to the National Gardening Association, recent surveys report gardening remains the number one leisure time activity in America. Growth of the green industry over the past 20 years indicates this is a trend that will continue to grow.
Master Gardener volunteers play an important role in themission of Cooperative Extension in Alabama, says Musgrove. As the Alabama landscape changes from predominately rural agriculture to rural-urban interfacing, county Extension agents are overwhelmed with requests for home gardening and landscaping information. Master Gardeners not only become better gardeners and environmental stewards, but also share their knowledge with others in their sphere of influence.
What is so special about Master Gardeners? Could you get the same gardening information from television, books or gardening magazines? No one could argue, there are lots of popular gardening books, magazines and television shows that tell you everything you ever wanted to know about gardening. However, here are a few reasons Master Gardeners are making a valuable difference in their communities.
Master Gardeners also are ambassadors of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and thereby an important outreach branch of the land-grant university mission. They are trained and certified in research-based, cutting-edge horticultural practices.
To find out if your county sponsors a Master Gardener volunteer program, contact your county Extension office under the county government section of your telephone directory.