PULLMAN, Wash. – When the 3,800 Washington State University Extension Master Gardener volunteers celebrate the 39th anniversary of the program this spring, they’ll have the backing and support of Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire. She has proclaimed May 13 through May 19 as Washington State University Master Gardener Volunteer Week.
“These dedicated volunteer educators use their love of gardening to enhance natural resources and environmental stewardship, improve health and wellness of Washington residents, and create and sustain vibrant communities and urban neighborhoods,” Gregoire said in her proclamation. “The Master Gardener program sets a remarkable example of voluntary community service by returning to Washington citizens over 10 times the funds expended on the program’s maintenance.”
Tonie Fitzgerald, statewide program director, said the WSU Extension Master Gardener Program is larger and stronger than ever.
“Master Gardeners really understand the need for their work to be relevant,” she said. “They’re teaching about protecting water quality and growing food all over the state now.”
Created in Washington State in 1973, the Master Gardener “teach the teacher” model has spread to similar programs in all 50 states. WSU faculty and staff train Certified Master Gardener Volunteers to be community educators about issues of importance in their local communities. Last year, Master Gardener volunteers reported nearly 232,000 hours of service in the state.
More information about WSU Extension’s Master Gardener Program is available at http://mastergardener.wsu.edu/documents/2011MGFullReport.pdf .