Orange County Master Gardener (OCMG) Topics
Mission of the Master Gardener Volunteer Program:
To assist extension agents in providing research based horticultural education to Florida residents.
Orange County's Master Gardener Program: The Master Gardener program is a volunteer based program for those people interested helping others and has been serving the citizens of Orange County since 1981. It involves going through more than 70 hours of education encompassing all areas gardening. In return for this education, we ask that you pledge to donate at least 75 hours of volunteer service during the following year. Most of this time is spent answering homeowners questions on the telephone.
Currently Master Gardeners in Orange County are answering an average of 1000 calls a month. This service is invaluable to residents of the area, because it supplies them with research based information that is readily available.
Master Gardeners volunteer in other ways than just manning the phones. Some help to maintain demonstrations gardens, staff clinics around the county, test soil pH, teach classes, and help run some of the larger programs.
Benefits: Here are some of the benefits of being a Master Gardener:
• continually learning new things about gardening, insects, etc.;
• the opportunity to attend the Annual Master Gardener Continuing Education Conference conducted by University of Florida professors and other Master Gardeners;
• receiving twelve issues of the Orange Country Master Gardener "pH News" Newsletter;
• the opportunity to attend field trips throughout the state; and
• the chance to attend meetings and hear guest speakers.
Classes: The class is usually held September through December on Tuesdays from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the Extension Education Center in Orange and Osceola Counties. If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener Volunteer, please send an e-mail with your snail mail address and telephone number. You will receive an application by e-mail in June. Interviews are held in July.
To become a Master Gardener you would receive approximately seventy hours of training in various areas of horticulture and agree to volunteer seventy-five hours the first year and specific hours each year you wish to remain active. There is currently a charge of $175 for the class. This is not a revenue generating activity as all monies collected are spent on the trainees during classes
The main criteria for choosing volunteers includes: a passion for gardening, desire to help people, a thirst for knowledge, and the availability for volunteering during the weekdays.
For more information e-mail the Master Gardener Coordinator.
The Orange County Master Gardener Advisory Committee (OCMG AC) is formed to provide the Master Gardener Coordinator with feedback and suggestions for improvement of the Orange County Master Gardener program.
All Master Gardeners are welcome to provide feedback and suggestions for improving the Master Gardener Program by submitting comments, suggestions, or concerns in writing and signed to the Master Gardener Coordinator or to the Chairperson of the OCMG AC.