The following Agriculture and Natural Resources article printed in the 2018 Winter edition of the Oldham County Extension Newsletter and the 2018 Oldham County Extension Report to the People.
Master Gardeners Break Community Service Record Again
Oldham County’s population is just over 65,000, and residential areas make up about one-half of the county. Extension Master Gardener volunteers help address the need for information about growing food and landscaping through a variety of service work in Oldham County.
Master Gardeners must complete a training program and background check in order to begin volunteering. Training consists of 11 classes, each based on Extension curriculum; homework assignments; and a final comprehensive exam. The Master Gardener program is a partnership among the Oldham County Agriculture Agent and Horticulture Assistant, UK Extension Specialists, and local plant experts who teach — plus the participants themselves who agree to learn and contribute volunteer hours.
Oldham County Master Gardeners had another record-breaking volunteer year in 2017-2018. Forty-one Master Gardeners contributed 2,156 volunteer hours to the community, a 17% increase in service hours since last year. This work is valued at over $45,000 based on the Independent Sector’s value of volunteer time in Kentucky.
Highlights of their service include:
- Master Gardeners provide activities and community gardening areas at Friendship Health & Rehab, a facility that offers short-term rehabilitation and long term care of residents.
- Many Master Gardeners volunteer at Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve and Yew Dell Botanical Gardens. Their work enhances the beauty and success of these sites and supports tourism dollars spent in Oldham County. Activities include gardening, greenhouse work, evaluating All-America Selection plant variety trials, leading tours, and assisting with special events.
- Master Gardeners take care of gardens and plant new ones at local churches. They also help their families, friends, and neighbors to become better gardeners. This provides self-reliance skills in growing food and taking care of landscapes.
- Seven Master Gardeners taught programs or helped lead activities to educate adults and youth.
- Master Gardeners maintain the Demonstration Rain Garden, located at the Extension Office. This garden helps demonstrate how a planned rain garden can reduce stormwater runoff.
- Master Gardeners volunteer at numerous other Oldham County locations, including Brownsboro Alliance Trails, used by both hikers and horseback riders.
Master Gardener volunteer activities are ongoing. Each year, the Oldham County Master Gardener Association develops continuing education and volunteer opportunities to inspire continued learning, leadership, and service.
Written by Traci Missun, Oldham County Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent. Edited by Lauren Fernandez, Oldham County Extension Assistant.