Buncombe Cooperative Extension Making an Impact – Garden Education Programs Provide Opportunities for Volunteers and Public

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Master Gardeners Learning Garden

Extension Master Gardener Volunteers (EMGVs) provide extensive outreach that far exceeds an individual Agent’s ability to achieve alone. Knowledge, skill, and interests vary and provide vast opportunities to cover many topics. Participants are eager to attend in-person programs, especially post-pandemic, and benefit from learning directly from their gardening peers.

Two Buncombe EMGVs, in leadership positions in The Learning Garden, took anecdotal feedback from 2022 program attendees and the skills of the EMGs and developed a series of programs for 2023 addressing key topics in the garden: Roses, Native Butterflies and Native Plants, Dahlias, Vegetable Gardening, Natural Plant Dyes, Pruning Trees and Shrubs, Gardening for Birds, Pollinators and Bulbs. This included developing the schedule of classes, topic and presenter list, class titles and descriptions, room set up and more.

Nineteen (19) EMGs are presenting a total of 30 sessions as part of 6 series. During the first half of 2023, 308 individuals attended these in-person, hands on classes. Participating EMGs have learned to develop 1.5 hour length programs involving power points, demonstrations and face to face instruction. Interacting with the public, answering questions and working with other EMGs builds a unique skill set that supports the mission of Cooperative Extension and boosts their own personal growth. The attendees in turn are provided a personalize experience that helps them grow as gardeners and associate with a cohort of individuals that have a shared interest in gardening and garden related topics.