Louisiana Master Gardener Program
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Louisiana Master Gardener Program

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The Louisiana Master Gardener program is a service and educational activity offered by the LSU AgCenter. The program is designed to recruit and train volunteers to help meet the educational needs of home gardeners while providing an enjoyable and worthwhile service experience for volunteers.

Master Gardeners are part of the volunteer staff of the LSU AgCenter’s Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service. They provide unbiased, research-based educational assistance and programs on consumer horticulture issues to the gardening public.

The Louisiana Master Gardener program provides invaluable training and educational opportunities. The program is open to all people regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex, religion or national origin. Master Gardener programs are all-volunteer programs sanctioned by land-grant institutions in each state and function as an extension of the college or university. In Louisiana, the program is sponsored by the LSU AgCenter and is directed by the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service.

Experienced and beginning gardeners seeking up-to-date horticultural information can advance their gardening expertise and gain self-satisfaction through volunteer efforts. The volunteer aspect of the Louisiana Master Gardener program allows individuals to dedicate their time and talents to enhancing the quality of life for citizens of their community by using the science and art of horticulture. It allows individuals to put into practice what they know and learn.

Volunteer participants in the Master Gardener program must attend at least 80% of scheduled instruction, pass an open-book examination and volunteer a minimum of 40 hours of service to earn the title of Louisiana Master Gardener.

After completing the specialized course in gardening through a local Cooperative Extension Service office, volunteer efforts assist:

  • Staffing plant question phone lines
  • Giving talks to local groups
  • Introducing children to gardening
  • Presenting information at garden shows and farmers markets
  • Organizing educational programs and conferences
  • Creating and maintaining demonstration gardens

Objectives of the Louisiana Master Gardener program include:

  • To expand the capacity of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service to distribute horticultural information to individuals and groups in the community.
  • To develop and enhance community programs related to horticulture. Depending on community needs, these may include environmental-improvement activities, community and school garden programs and public horticultural events.
  • To enhance 4-H Youth Development programs by complementing co-curricular and extracurricular horticultural programs.
  • To maintain and expand a Louisiana Master Gardener volunteer network under the direction of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service.

  • To represent the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service, LSU AgCenter, in a professional manner.
  • To complete the agreed-upon minimum 40 hours of volunteer time within one year from the end of training.
  • To maintain a written (and photographic) record of volunteer activities and provide the Extension agent with timely documentation, preferably a monthly activity report.
  • To respect civil rights, confidences and clientele information.
  • To provide unbiased, university research-based information.
  • To follow published Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service recommendations.
  • To refer all commercial horticulture calls to an extension agent.
  • To use the Louisiana Master Gardener title only when assisting at LSU AgCenter, Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service-sponsored programs.
  • To wear a Louisiana Master Gardener name badge only at approved activities and events.
  • To adhere to the policies of the Louisiana Master Gardener program.

As a Master Gardener, the volunteer work, as related to horticulture for your local extension office, may consist of a variety of jobs.

Because Master Gardeners bring a wealth of expertise to the program here are some jobs commonly performed by Louisiana Master Gardeners:

  • Create and maintain demonstration gardens or 4-H school gardens.
  • Work at plant health clinics.
  • Conduct home gardening visits.
  • Produce a home horticulture newsletter.
  • Answer telephone calls.
  • Instruct Master Gardeners.
  • Conduct garden tours and contests.
  • Create and maintain youth, community or school gardens.
  • Maintain an office reference library.
  • Compile plant lists for specific areas.
  • Write and design educational materials.
  • Give talks to groups interested in horticulture.
  • Produce educational slide programs.
  • Help with 4-H club meetings and school enrichment programs.
  • Serve on an extension advisory committee.

Master Gardeners should expect the following from the Extension Service employees who receive the volunteer support through consumer horticultural information outreach:

  • Quality educational experience in horticulture.
  • Concise explanation of jobs and opportunities for volunteer service.
  • Staff guidance and support in accomplishment of tasks.
  • Maintenance of accomplishment records.
  • An opportunity to report volunteer service, contacts, program outcomes and impacts, and continuing educational opportunities through the online reporting system.
  • Recognition of outstanding accomplishments.
  • Integration of Master Gardener volunteers as full partners in the accomplishment of extension’s mission to the citizens of the community.
  • Continuous Master Gardener training opportunities.
  • Periodic evaluation of Master Gardener performance.
  • Safe and pleasant learning environment.

The Extension Service, in turn, asks the following from Master Gardeners:

  • Assistance in developing meaningful opportunities for Master Gardeners.
  • Timely notice of needs and support from the extension staff for required tasks.
  • Reporting of accomplishments such as the number of hours involved, contacts made, continuing education hours completed and evaluation of outreach efforts at a specified reporting time (January 1 through December 31 each year).
  • An equal partner of the extension team and conduct that reflects credit on you and the Cooperative Extension Service.
  • Participation in periodic conferences (such as the state LMG conference) with an extension agent to evaluate your accomplishments and extension’s support of Master Gardener tasks.

Last Updated: 11/10/2015 10:10:22 AM
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