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Celebrating National Volunteer Week with Master Gardeners

MG Volunteer with childrenThe highest reward for a person’s work is not what they get for it, but what they become because of it. –John Ruskin

The Presidential Proclamation of National Volunteer week has been designated as April 15 through April 21, 2012.

The Florida Master Gardener Program is celebrating National Volunteer Week with events, such as appreciation luncheons, like Collier and Suwanee counties, and breakfasts, like Charlotte County held last week at a local culinary school.

Duval County Extension is “Celebrating People in Action” with an awards ceremony this week, including Master Gardeners Thomas R. Bruton, Debbie Claxton (Urban Gardening), Linda Cunningham (Master Food & Nutrition Educator), and Christine Lepo-McAteer (Canning program).

An especially fun way you can see Master Gardener volunteers in action is at Epcot, where the International Flower and Garden Festival is going on now through May 20. Last year, nearly 400 Master Gardeners volunteered at the festival. We’ve played a role in the festival ever since it started nineteen years ago.

And it’s not just one yearly event that our volunteers are working. In 2011, more than 4,200 Florida Master Gardener volunteers gave 355,388 hours of their time!

Just a few ways Master Gardener volunteers share their time:

  • Answering questions via, e-mail, telephone, and office visits
  • Working in community gardens
  • Doing demonstrations and appearing at exhibits
  • Horticultural therapy
  • Plant clinics
  • Working with youth organizations (4-H, Junior Master Gardeners, etc.)

Perhaps you’d like to celebrate National Volunteer Week, too? Then come join us! The Florida Master Gardener Program recruits individuals who are interested in gardening and enjoy sharing what they learn with others. Participants complete a 50-hour (or longer) training course sponsored by the University of Florida and local county Extension offices.

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