How do you fulfill your volunteer hours?

ocbird(9CA)August 28, 2004

I don't like doing plant sales (the major venue for MGs here in orange county) so i volunteered to help a local elementary school start a school garden.

I'm focusing on butterfly and hummingbird plants. Also quick growing vegies to satisfy the kids' need for immediate gratification!

As a bonus, the first grade teacher has asked me to give an occasional botany lesson to her class.

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pawleyscruser(z8 SC)

The are various ways the MGs here fulfill their hours, including:

1) Work at a Plant Problem Clinic. Each week, a table is setup in a central location in a shopping center mall, and MGs are available (10 AM to 2 PM, 1 day wach week, during the growing season)to answer questions, take soil samples for laboratory analysis, etc. Most of the questions relate to ornamentals and turfgrasses, and few to fruits and vegetables. Sometimes, the "commercial guys" (you know who they are) stop by with their questions and problems, as well.

2) Conduct seminars, lectures and workshops. A recent event I participated in was a lecture on "Growing, Harvesting and Cooking with Herbs."

3) Our Grand Strand MG Assn. has several "continuing" projects. We work with 2 local middle schools (and 1 library) to teach kids that age how to create, plant, and maintain gardens. Look at the "Children's Garden" and "Community Gardens" forums on this site for more information on this subject. The kids do the design and labor, we counsel and supervise. Another of our continuing projects is a cooperative project with NOAA, dealing with "phytoplankton research". Contact NOAA in a major metro area to see if this is something you can do there.

4) Work as a volunteer at an Extension Service office, or at a local public garden. Many of the MGs (and non-MGs, as well)here are involved in this activity.

Good Luck and Good Gardening!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2004 at 1:09PM
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I worked as a volunteer for our county fair. One day I worked with judges in the 4-H horticulture section and another day in the open class vegetables. I also helped with a flower and vegetable clinic for 4-H youth a couple weeks prior to the fair to help them know how to choose plants for exhibiting.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2004 at 3:55PM
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Our Penn State Master Gardeners of Greene County have been busy for several years providing education and advice to our community. We rarely do any physical work such as weeding or planting but do present seminars on various subjects, set up and man booths at local festivals and fairs, present a Tiny Tim tomato project at local libraries, answer questions referred to us by the local extension office and are available individually to present programs to local groups such as Mothers of Pre-Schoolers (MOPS). We have presented a lot of classes on composting and have given away a couple hundred composting bins provided for us by the DEP and Penn State. We have worked as a group with an eye to planning enough activities for the new MGs to complete their required hours while the rest of us find that our 20 hours happen without much effort. Our secret has been that we function as a loosely organized group rather than as individuals.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2004 at 4:32PM
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coffeemom(Broward z10)

I'm with you ocbird. I did a large portion of my hours with Girl Scouts. We did landscaping for Kids in Distress. We planted and mulched gardens in front of the group homes.
Later this year we want to do a butterfly garden at a school.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2004 at 8:02PM
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janet_la(z8b Louisiana)

Since I work full time, I fulfill most of my hours working at plant health clinics. Right now, I have to miss all the interesting parts of the plant sale (propagating the plants, etc.), but I do take off work the day before the sale and help set up. I also work at the sale on Saturday. I would love to be able to do more, but until I retire (12 more LONG years, sigh), this will have to do. The continuing education hours aren't as hard to get - some of them are in the evenings. Occasionally, I will take off work for a few hours if there's a particularly interesting class on a week day.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2004 at 8:45PM
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gardenfaerie(z5b Michigan)

Hmm, let's see. I've written articles for the county's master gardener newsletter, staffed information booths at local events, tended and hosted workdays for a native plant demonstration garden, and created and maintained a garden especially for cats at a local shelter. I've also given presentations, although that was before I was in the MG program. Oh, and I maintain a website for a community gardening organization, as well as my own small site with local gardening events. And this is only my first year, whew! ;-)

    Bookmark   August 28, 2004 at 10:46PM
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One of my classmates had a mild heart attack and has been unable to do her part time job for Rural Community Action Ministry, which is a group of churches that buys seeds and helps low-income people grow their own food. So she has been having some of us visit her people for her. Its' not fair really; they all know more about veggies that I do. We also worked on a TV show for local access cable, and some resident gardens at nursing homes, as well as preparing teaching materials for anyone whop wants to fulfill hours by teaching night school.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2004 at 7:03PM
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The thing that takes the most time is being the MG chair for the newspaper. I work with one of the Ag agents and everything go's thru her for accuracy of facts. We turn in 3 to 5 articles a week, the articles are reviewed, edited and appropriate pictures found when none come with the story. There are 5 of us who write regularly, including myself. In all, probably 50 hours a month there. I also like to help with seminars. It's great because I often get edu credits for attending as well as volunteer credits.

Of course, the phone work is ever present and all are required to help with that. I don't mind because as I often have to research the subject for the caller, I learn more. It also gives me ideas for MG articles.

All MG's are required to work the Spring Festival and Fall Gathering, although not all do. Poppy 8-)

    Bookmark   August 31, 2004 at 5:52AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

The reason most of us(some will not admit it)take the master garden program is to further our own knowledge of gardening. Our payment is the hours we devote to the public though all the outreach to various sectors of the public. My original county master gardener program has a policy of awarding a life membership to members acumulating 1000 hours. This relieves that member of having to make their minimum hours each year to stay in the program. As members get older and perhaps can no longer drive at night, they can still do those things they do best, and contribute their experience to the overall program. Al

    Bookmark   August 31, 2004 at 10:03AM
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billie_ann(6b PA)

I fulfill my hours by helping with the Q & A booth at the local Grange Fair and the Philadelphia Flower Show Q & A booth, helping with seminars,weeding the "Gardeners Select Garden", working at our annual plant sale, teaching hypertufa and leaf casting classes to area garden clubs and nature centers, tour guide for garden and pond tours. There are many other volunteer opportunities available no matter what your experience or interests. Billie

    Bookmark   August 31, 2004 at 4:20PM
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tahlequahgardens(Zone 7a OK)

sadly I have moved away. There is no master gardeners program here. I truly miss it.


    Bookmark   September 1, 2004 at 12:04AM
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shmoopy_MI(z5 MI)

I give my time at the Veteran's Hospital at the Greenhouse and grounds. We also have an Arboretum with different gardens to maintain including a new childrens garden. The Arboretum also has a Greenhouse that you can volunteer at. The MG volunteers take care of many gardens around the city. Many more choices to fulfill your hours.


    Bookmark   September 1, 2004 at 12:24AM
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napapen(ca 15)

Just a little correction - I just completed my 1000 hrs and thought I would not need to keep track anymore but to stay active you still need 12 hrs continuing education and 24 volunteer. I always go over the education hours without a problem even tho I find some of the topics dull.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2004 at 11:46AM
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mesquiteent(z6b WestTX)

Going to the MG meetings. Work days at our local compost facility, Vietnam Memorial, a church, a few municipal parks. Sell plants at the MG booth at the county fair.

My husband and I work at a local Home and Garden show every year, and we get credit for that. We also drive 40 minutes each way to go to our meetings and work days, and we get credit for the travel time.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2004 at 3:29PM
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billie_ann(6b PA)

MesquiteEnt, Now there's something that no ones mentioned, credit for travel time, meetings, prep work. We can do that here in my corner of Pennsylvania. I can't figure out how some people think that 20 hours (minimum) is a lot of time when you can count that travel and prep time. Billie

    Bookmark   September 2, 2004 at 8:16PM
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pfmastin(8 N. Carolina)

I enjoy more of the "hands on" work rather than public speaking so I am the curator of the perennial border and herb garden in our learning gardens are our county arboretum. I have done a few programs...Landscaping for Birds, Composting and How to Make a Rainbarrel, but it's not my favorite thing to do.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2004 at 8:59PM
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andie_rathbone(Tyler, TX - 7B)

I'm coordinator for the MG calendar & just assumed the responsibility for the 2005 Sptring Garden Tour, so that's my hours & then some. I also like to work the plnt sales & help out in the gardens.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2004 at 12:00AM
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hdprice(z5 MI)

This is my first year. We didn't have the MG Program in my county, so I went to the class in Muskegon county. I needed 40 hours total to get certified. Just finished up. Worked mostly on the Hotline and the Monet Garden.

Midwest Michigan

Here is a link that might be useful: Muskegon MG Monet Garden

    Bookmark   September 8, 2004 at 11:00PM
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Our area is in the Chesapeake Bay watershed so a lot of our work is dealing with preventing pollution of the bay & it's tributaries. We have a program called "Grass Roots" that the public seems to really like. For a nominal fee ($15.00 this year) a MG will come to your home and take a soil sample of your lawn areas and measure the area in grass to be sure of the square feet involved. We evaluate the lawn for them for overall conditions and weeds and they get back specific recommendations for fertilizer and lime and other actions to improve their lawn without adding to the pollution problem.

We also have a very busy Help Line and conduct clinics at local garden centers many times a year. Our state and local fairs usually have displays set up by the MGs and there are several other projects underway at different times of the year. We stay pretty busy and nobody has any trouble getting the hours they need plus as many more as they want to give.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2004 at 3:00PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

As with many other requirement the 1000 hour priveliges vary with the county. My qualifations were from the Monterey Bay Master Gardeners not the Napa county MGs. Although I live in Napa county the Sonoma county MGs are only half the distance and at my age that is important. I make the trip back to the coast once or twice a year to teach a day for the new class of MGs. In Sonoma county I do four or five workshops a year but I am not interested in hours accumulation. Al

    Bookmark   September 13, 2004 at 9:30PM
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The Denver MG's have many different volunteer options, but my favorite has been working with Habitat for Humanity. We plan the landscapes, and supervise the plantings by volunteers. (Actually we end up doing lots of the planting, too!)

    Bookmark   September 14, 2004 at 12:31PM
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