Oregon's Master Gardeners have arrived in the spotlight. In recognition of 20 years of Master Gardener volunteer service helping Oregonians learn more about gardening, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has proclaimed the week of Aug. 11-17 "Master Gardener Week."
The proclamation noted that Master Gardener volunteers gave 90,000 hours of their time during 1995 in 26 Oregon counties to "directly assist, counsel and advise Oregon gardeners" and that this contribution calls for recognition of Master Gardener volunteers by the communities they serve and all Oregon citizens.
Master Gardeners are graduates of the OSU Extension Service Master Gardener Program. They volunteer to help Extension agents answer home gardening questions from the public in exchange for classroom instruction on home horticulture presented by OSU faculty.
"This proclamation by Oregon's governor is high praise for all Master Gardeners and indicative of the hard work they've been doing in helping Oregon gardeners over the past two decades," said Ray McNeilan, home horticulturist with the OSU Extension Service and state coordinator of the OSU Extension Master Gardener Program.
Oregon's Master Gardener Program has grown dramatically since it began in the state in 1976.
"The program started with just a handful of volunteers back then," said McNeilan. "This year we had 3,000 Master Gardeners representing counties all over the state."