Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Welcome New Jefferson County Master Gardeners! by Donna Duffy

Back row: Barb Donahue,  Jack Mellon, Kelli Marko, Mariska Hamstra, Keith Rabin. Front row: Lorrie Redman, Lynn Leventhal, Michelle Loudis, Cherie Luke, Dustin Foster. Not pictured: Audrey Stokes, Brooke Colburn.

On January 15th, twelve individuals were honored as Jefferson County’s newest Master Gardeners. To earn this designation, they went through a comprehensive application process and interview through Jefferson County CSU Extension. Once accepted as an apprentice, these dedicated volunteers completed a minimum of 60 hours of college-level classroom instruction (including lectures, small group activities, and lab activities) focused on home gardening. On top of that, each volunteer contributed at least 50 hours of service in 2014. 

Did you know that there are 105 certified Master Gardeners in Jefferson County? If you are a gardener, you’ve probably interacted with these Master Gardeners around the county – at Farmer’s Markets, on the phone, in the Plant Diagnostic Clinic, leading youth programs, providing educational programs…they seem to be everywhere in the summer months. In fact, during 2014, the Jefferson County Master Gardeners donated 4,586 hours of volunteer service to benefit residents of all ages. These busy volunteers had 9,720 contacts with Jefferson County residents just last year.

In 2014, thirty-two Colorado counties participated in the Colorado Master Gardener volunteer program.  A statewide total of 1,377 CMGs volunteered nearly 60,000 hours to their Colorado communities, engaging approximately 100,000 citizens in 619 different projects. Colorado Master Gardener support is invaluable to horticulture extension programs. Based on the 2013 figure from the Independent Sector’s Value of Volunteer Time, ($25.10/hour for Colorado), our volunteers donated nearly 1.5 million dollars to Colorado! 

To contact a Jefferson County Master Gardener, call the CSU Extension Office at 303-271-6620. We would love to hear from you.