- Author: Pamela M. Geisel
Every year as the Statewide Master Gardener Coordinator, I am asked to create a report that our adminstration can share with the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA-USDA) on the work of the UC Master Gardener Program. It includes the number of volunteers, contacts and the like. I have just completed our report for FY 2010-11 and I find that I am awestruck by the volunteer efforts of Master Gardeners.
The volunteer hours they give and the quality of work they do is breathtaking. I take my hat off to the over 5,468 Certified Master Gardener Volunteers in California. In July 2010, we had 4837 volunteers. We observe a net increase of 571 Volunteers this year.
Master Gardeners donated 296,301 total volunteer hours this year, which is 38,285 more than last year. (and we still have 15 days left in the year.....). Following is a comparison of volunteer hours reported in previous years.
- In FY 05-06: 99,321
- In FY 06-07: 143,663
- In FY 07-08: 201,096
- In FY 08-09: 238,439
- In FY 09-10: 258,016
- In FY 10-11: 296,301
If you put a current market value on their volunteer hours, it totals almost $7 million dollars in value to the community and the University.
Master Gardener volunteer hours equals 142 full time staff assuming a 40 hour work week and 2080 work hours in a year).
In addition to their volunteer hours, the contacts reported this year are quite remarkable. Last year, we documented only about 600,000 contacts. This year, because of a little bit of training in how to collect contact data, they were able to document over 3 million face to face contacts.
What is more important than just the hours and contacts is the quality of work each and every county program has been delivering to our clientele. At the Statewide Master Gardener Conference in Santa Rosa, we were able to hear five terrific Search for Excellence(SFE) Presentations. At my table however, as each of the presenters gave their talk, someone would say "well, we do that too!" referring to garden tours, publications, garden guides, demonstration gardens, and other types of outreach SFE caliber efforts. What that says to me is that programs are all working in harmony to extend science-base sustainable landscape information and knowledge in meaningful and impactful ways but are not reporting on it or entering it into a competition. In any case, their work is really important to the communities in which they work, and to the university because they are the primary outreach arm to our home horticulture clientele. They bring the university to the people. I am so proud to be a part of this remarkable program and again bow before the amazing work of UC Master Gardeners!
Report Totals for FY 2010-2011
Total Volunteers: 5,468
Total Volunteer Hours: 296,301 at $23.41 per hour =$6,936,406.00
Total Contacts: 3,086,326