Extension Impact In Our Communities: Master Gardeners Sharing Time and Talent
Source: UADA Flickr; 2018 Arkansas Master Gardener's Project of the Year Pinnacle Mountain State Park
Around the state of Arkansas, Master Gardeners volunteer their time, energy and expertise making their communities nicer places to live and visit.
The Arkansas Master Gardeners program is a partnership between the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture's Cooperative Extension Service and gardeners from around the state. The Cooperative Extension Service provides ongoing training to the Master Gardeners and in return they use their knowledge, skills and abilities to enrich their communities. They maintain beautification projects in public spaces, teach the public about gardening, sell plants, and participate in other volunteer activities.
In many counties in Arkansas, Master Gardeners bring beauty to the spaces that people inhabit by planning, planting and maintaining decorative gardens. Some of their gardens are located near schools, libraries and office buildings. For example, Arkansas County Master Gardeners help maintain the landscape at Easter Seals Arkansas’ Grand Prairie Development Center in Stuttgart.
Master Gardeners also maintain gardens in parks, cemeteries, and other open spaces. One example is Ed Leamon Park in Fairfield Bay where the Van Buren County Master Gardeners maintain various gardens, like The Rose Garden, which draw tourists into the park.
Source: UADA Flickr; Master Gardeners Plant Sale
Perhaps the most vital way that the Arkansas Master Gardeners serve their communities is by passing on their gardening knowledge. In many counties they hold education events in coordination with various groups and organizations. They partner with schools, jails, seniors’ organizations, local governments, and more to hold educational events.
For instance, in 2019 the Madison County Master Gardeners partnered with a local high school’s gardening club to help create new gardens and beautification projects at the school. Master Gardeners even teach at events where education is not the main draw, like the many Master Gardener Plant Sales conducted across the state. Having a conversation with a Master Gardener over a table of seedlings is guaranteed to be instructive.
If you would like to learn more about the Arkansas Master Gardeners program, including how to become one, check out their web page.