Improving MGprograms overall

sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)April 9, 2005

Elsewhere, I have found some severe criticism of the program in general and serious adverse reaction to the use of the term Master in the program title. There was also a claim the program was held in contempt by people in the Horticultural industry. Since the three programs I have been involved with have been excellent, although nothing alike, and I know MGs who were sent through the program by their employers, I was dismayed to say the least. Have you come across this type of complaint and can anything be done about it? Sandy

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blueheron(z6 PA)

The only place I saw any criticism of the title "master" was here on the GW at the Professional Forum. When we got our own forum, I thought we wouldn't have that problem any more. I think we're beating a dead horse here.

I as a master gardener have no problem with the title and I think there are other more important problems in the world that we should be worrying about than whether the term master is appropriate. Methinks those who object need to get a life.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2005 at 7:56PM
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This is my 6th year as a Master Gardener and the only complaints I've heard were here on Garden Web. Maybe I'm just not travelling in the "right" circles in our area but the garden centers welcome our help in clinics, the botanical garden thinks we rock, and the nurseries often call us for information.

I think that a large part of this is due to our previous agent. He was with our county for many years and was a GREAT communicator who also knew his stuff in horticulture. He made lasting, strong relationships with the green industry here, making sure they were aware of the valuable resource they had in the MGs. Our MG program was mostly taught by him along with some professionals. One thing he always stressed was the relationship we had with both the public and the industry. We are here to be the "grunts" who do tons of research in published works looking for answers to problems. I think this attitude has made the industry people appreciate the work we do without feeling threatened.

Sandy, I've noticed that a lot of the MG groups have demo gardens of their own. That's something we have never done except for a very small "water wise" planting in front of our office and a containerized planting at the county fair with the plants loaned to us by local nurseries. Could the industry feel threatened by those gardens? Perhaps they feel the MGs are encroaching on their territory when they actually "garden" for the public as opposed to merely being sources of information. I don't know if there's any truth to this, just something I thought about. Maybe this begins to feel like competition rather than help and cooperation.

Sandy G.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2005 at 8:35PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

There will always be some of any group that will be an embarrassment to the other members. These will cause most of the negative opinions. Lawyers, doctors, priests, and teachers all have members of their professions who give the profession a bad name. When you hear a negative about Master Gardeners it is usually the result of contact with one of these MGs that give us all a "bad name". Al

    Bookmark   April 12, 2005 at 10:27AM
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There should be a renewed emphasis on current, accurate information. Many, many times I have heard MG's giving "advice" that was just plain wrong or outdated. Much of the "advice" was just an old wives tale that has been endlessly repeated and never was founded upon research based information.

If the GardenWeb is the only place that you have ever heard complaints about MG's, you just haven't been around much. Especially at the land grant universities, although they certainly value what the Master Gardener program does they just cringe at how sloppy so many of them are with the facts. As a professor told me one time, "The most common thing in horticulture is misinformation." Sadly, too many MG's are proving his point.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2005 at 10:37AM
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grimalkin(z5b OH)

I have been an MG for five years and have heard an occassional grumble about the use of the term "Master Gardeners." Specifically, people assume the term "Master" means you pretty much know all there is to know. You wouldn't believe how many times I've made mention that I'm a Master Gardener and the person will respond with "Oh well, then you must know it all!" I have always strived to point out that though there are many Master Gardeners who have an intimate knowledge of one type of plant or another, none of us presumes to know it all.

I work the hotline quite often and make sure people understand that my function is to research our vast resources to find answers and help for the caller. I rarely have answers for callers off the top of my head. Every caller I have communicated this to has understood and I've had no problems in that regard. In fact, they seem happy that I've explained this fact to them and a lot of times will admit to not knowing what a Master Gardener is. I also find that there are many people who think we are employees of the Extension Office and don't realize we are volunteers. Our MG director has always emphasized that educating the public is our number one priority and I always try to keep that in mind.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2005 at 2:29PM
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I think every program could do with improvement.

ALL criticisms need to be identified, quantified, and addressed.

I don't think anyone at an upper level has actually looked at this issue. "If it ain't broke," so the attitude goes, "don't fix it".

After reading a few other posts in this forum (thank you, btw, to whoever proposed this web group), the word "Master" does have its share of controversy. Grimalkin may have hit close to home. Hundreds of new names come to mind and I think a brainstorming session might be a fun exercise but I don't think this forum is where any decision is going to be made.

Speaking of this forum, my assumption is that it is for discussion of all manner of MG-related topics. No one should dismiss ANY postings. I have a life, as does everyone else who comes here, but I do believe that a tiny part of my life can be given to airing my thoughts -- of whatever nature -- in an internet round-table. I also spend time solving several of the world's "important" problems during any given day.

If any one is okay with the status quo of the MG program, be okay. Let others speak their minds, though, without judgement.


    Bookmark   May 14, 2005 at 4:14PM
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Hi Sandy,
My husband and I joined the Wellsley MA horticultural society over a decade ago. (In our humble opinion), the majority of people "running" the program were obnoxious!!!! ( and I'm being polite!).
The words "rude, thoughtless and ungrateful ", often comes to mind. My husband and I are not alone. Nearly evey MG graduate from Wellseley felt the same way. What really burns my tail, is that we worked our butts off for that organization. In return, "they" were often rude and condensending.
I am a MG and very proud of it. Why? Because we worked hard to make every N.E. Garden Show a reallity. There is no way the N.E. Flower Show would even exist without MG's help!!!!!
Often, the flower show was unpleasant. Every MG trainnie often voiced they felt unappreciated. We were simply expected to do as we were told, and accept the crumbs of respect they dropped in our path.
I still get newsletters. I still get invited to their cookouts and graduation parties. (They can shove it!)
Their "thank-you" cook outs are always on a Tuesday from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. I can't think of a more inconvient time for people who live far away .... or work 9-5!!!
They still expect MG's to pay for the hugely exspensive parking when they volenteer for the N.E. Flower Show!
And their "holliday party" is a combo Graduation party....where everyone is expected to bring food and beverage.
What an insult!!!!!
Sorry to vent so long. Sorry for my mis-spelled words ( I see no spell check).

    Bookmark   May 20, 2005 at 6:33AM
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