Monday, April 16, 2012

It's National Volunteer Week!

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Dear Oregon Master Gardeners,

All this week, the National Extension Master Gardener Blog will be celebrating National Volunteer Week and the great work of Master Gardener volunteers.

Here in Oregon, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank all of the Master Gardeners who volunteer their time and talents to make our communities a better place to live.

The preliminary numbers for our impact in 2011 (I still need to double check all entries to ensure accuracy) are:
  • There were 4,009 active Master Gardener volunteers in 2011.  Of these, 765 (19%) were new trainees, and 3,245 (81%) were veterans who had been active as a Master Gardener for one year or more.
  • In Oregon, Master Gardeners donated over 181,000 hours of volunteer service to Oregon State University Extension, in support of sustainable home and community gardening programs.
  • Together, we made over 200,000 contacts!  That's over 200,000 people who attended a Master-gardener led class, called into the Master Gardener plant clinic hotline, talked with us at a Farmer's Market, worked with us in a school garden, or otherwise benefited from the research-based advice of a Master Gardener volunteer.
  • Master Gardeners were featured on the television 170 times, interviewed on the radio over 270 times, and featured in the newspaper 407 times.  This greatly extends the outreach and education provided by Master Gardeners, well beyond the 200,000 person to person contacts in 2011.
  • Nearly 11,000 pounds of produce were donated from Master Gardener demonstration, community and private gardens to local food banks and food pantries.  This value includes only documented pounds of produce, and is thus likely an underestimate of what was actually donated. 
Oregon Master Gardeners are volunteering in schools, in prisons and in hospitals.  We deliver classes in community gardens, private home orchards, farmer's markets and classrooms.  We teach people to rely less on pesticides, and more on cultural, physical and biological pest control methods.  We bear witness to kids getting excited about their first gardening success.  We re-assure adults that we all have plants that die-off, vegetables that don't bear fruit, and pests that we just can't seem to keep at bay.

Master Gardener 10 Minute University-Edible, Beautiful Plants from Clackamas County on Vimeo.  10-Minute University is an award-winning program of the Oregon State University Master Gardeners in Clackamas County.

Thus, on this day, and every day - I hope that Oregon Master Gardeners know that you make a real and positive difference in this world - as well as in my world.

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