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Our Beginnings

In 1971 two Washington State Extension Agents, David Gibby and Bill Scheer, started separate assignments in the Seattle and Tacoma metropolitan areas. Focused on consumer and commercial horticulture, they realized public demand for information about plant problems was so intense that they needed a team of people to educate the public.

The two agents met to explore the novel concept of recruiting and training volunteers to serve the consumer horticulture audience. The initial response was tremendous and so began a now national program that educates volunteer-minded people who want to share their knowledge. It’s a win-win situation

Current Status

The 2013 Alabama Master Gardener training classes were offered in 22 locations; training 435 new participants from 36 counties. A total of 209,974 volunteers (veteran and intern) reported volunteer hours in 2013.

The total time volunteered in 2013 equaled a dollar value of $3,779,532

Master Gardener Interns gain new knowledge from the high quality training classes we offer and the classes are the first step in gaining their support of our mission.

Master Gardeners were asked what they might do as a result of participating in the training program.

  • 78% will use a soil test to avoid over-fertilizing their yard.
  • 79% will use their knowledge of pest life cycles to optimize pest management techniques.