Thank You, Extension Master Gardeners
by Dennis Patton, horticulture agent
How do you recognize a group of individuals that give so much to their community in just a few words? Sometimes saying thank you for all you do can never capture everything that volunteers do for their community. Volunteers are the unsung heroes of our community. They touch all of us in one way or another. Oftentimes we never know it.
The Johnson County Extension Master Gardener (EMG) volunteers are one such group that has given so much to help improve the quality of life in Johnson County, helping to make it one of the top twenty-five counties in the nation to live. Their efforts may never show up in the statistics that merit this ranking, but their efforts should be noticed.
EMG volunteers are your friends and neighbors that share two common bonds. One is the love of gardening, and two is the desire to give back to their community. It is these bonds that has helped propel the Johnson County program into one of the premier Extension programs in the country.
What is an EMG?
An EMG is a volunteer that is required to learn and then give back. Each volunteer participates in about fifty hours of intensive education in the area of horticulture. Classes are taught by K-State extension specialists and local extension agents. Once trained the volunteers are then required to volunteer at least forty hours in Extension programs that benefit the community.
What do they do?
EMGs educate the public through a number of activities and projects. Highlights of projects include:
- Gardening Hotline, answer lawn and garden questions
- Speakers Bureau
- Demonstration gardens
- Youth education
- Horticulture therapy
- and so much more
How do they help make the county a great place to live?
Through these outreach projects they help connect you to research-based information so you can manage your lawns, gardens and landscapes for maximum beauty, while helping you balance inputs and outputs of a healthy, clean environment. EMGs have the right stuff to help you make wise decisions when it comes to management practices. Extension and EMGs are the information source to help learn and grow.
What are the results?
During 2017, the nearly 500 trained EMGs
- Donated over 51,000 hours of service helping to make Johnson County a better place to live.
- That service is equivalent to 25 full-time employees,
- The dollar equivalent in-kind value was $1.2 million given back to the county in service.
- This group also reached over 50,000 people and provided over two tons of fresh produce to those in need from their demonstration gardens.
Thank you never seems like enough. But during this month of volunteer recognition we say a well-deserved thanks to our EMG volunteers. They strive to make a difference as they quietly go about their way, providing service so we all can continue to call home one of the best places in the country to live.