Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Nearly 23,000 Volunteer Hours Contributed to the Community in 2013 by Master Gardeners of Greene County

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
County Program Director - Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909
E-mail: burtond@missouri.edu

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – At the March meeting of the Master Gardeners of Greene County it was announced that members contributed a grand total of 22,936 volunteer hours during 2013.

The value of this volunteer time to the community is estimated at $435,784.

The valuation of volunteer time provides one way to measure the impact individuals make with each hour they dedicate to make a difference.

Every other year, the non-profit organization Independent Sector (IS) calculates a value for each volunteer hour state by state.  According to IS, the national average hourly value of volunteer time is $22.14. The average hourly value in Missouri is placed at $19.

“Using the formula from IS that has become the national standard, we can say the value of the time volunteered in the community by members of the Master Gardeners of Greene County exceeds four-hundred and thirty-five thousand dollars,” said David Burton, country program director for Greene County Extension.

During the year, chapter members use forms to track their volunteer hours on projects approved by leadership of Master Gardeners of Greene County. Those forms are submitted by members to the Greene County Extension office in order to document the necessary number of hours required to retain active membership in the chapter.

This year, chapter secretary Nancy Chambers and Glenn Blake recorded and tabulated the hours from chapter members for reporting locally, to MU Extension, and to the national master gardeners group. The total hours reported in Greene County were submitted by 163 "active" Master Gardeners.

There is still time for any of the 192 "active and emeritus" Master Gardeners who have not yet reported their 2013 hours to do so in order to have a more complete volunteer picture for 2013.

“There are always ongoing discussions of the value of Master Gardener volunteer service to the community with potential donors, the Greene County Commission and others in reference to the continued importance of Greene County Extension,” said Burton. “My hat is off to Patrick Byers, the MU Extension horticulture specialist who provides leadership for the local Master Gardeners, and members of the Master Gardener chapter for such great work.”

There are a number of community projects that generate volunteer hours for Master Gardeners of Greene County. Just a few of the possible projects include: Master Gardener Basic & Advance Training classes, Potting Shed University classes, various community garden classes, Hotline Garden information, assistance with the “Ask a Master Gardener” column, Young Sprouts in the Garden, Master Gardener Demonstration Gardens (at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park), Xeriscape Garden, Lawn & Garden Show with classes, community speakers bureau, Hickory Hills School Greenhouse and Gardens, Springfield Botanical Gardens, community Spring plant sale, and community garden tours.

This year, Master Gardeners had several projects that resulted in large numbers of volunteer hours. For example: volunteers reported 2,620 volunteer hours at the demonstration garden in Nathanael Greene Park, 1,844 volunteer hours operating the Master Gardener Hotline inside the Botanical center, 1,227 volunteer hours maintaining the Xeriscape Garden on South National and 1,467 volunteer hours working in other gardens at the Botanical Center. Other volunteer hours were accumulated doing various other community education and garden projects in the county.

The Master Gardener program is a popular and successful statewide volunteer community-service organization administered through University of Missouri Extension. The organization’s goal is to train gardeners who are willing to share their knowledge with others. Master Gardeners become volunteers of University of Missouri Extension and donate hours for community educational projects in horticulture. Learn more about the Master Gardeners of Greene County online at http://mggreene.org.


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