By Sharon Omahen
University of Georgia
More than $3 million donated last yearLast year, 2,644 Georgia Master Gardeners donated 192,854 hours of their time to help UGA Extension agents help gardeners in their counties. “The federal government estimates volunteer hours to be worth $17.60 per hour,” said Fonseca. “Using this figure, the Master Gardeners’ time is valued at $3.4 million. When you figure in the value of their time and travel, Georgia Master Gardeners donated nearly $4 million last year.” To honor their service to the state, Gov. Sonny Perdue declared March 15 Master Gardener Day in Georgia. "Our Master Gardeners do everything from presenting plant clinics to speaking to garden clubs and writing newspaper articles," said Fonseca. "Master Gardener volunteerism creates a far reaching ripple effect across our state, and once a year we stop to give them a special day of recognition."
Celebrating by continuing to giveAcross the state, Master Gardeners will conduct special programs to celebrate the day, he said. In keeping with their mission, Master Gardeners in Gwinnett, DeKalb, Cobb, Forsyth, Cherokee, Hall and Clarke counties will be giving their expertise at plant clinics in area Home Depot and Lowe’s stores. To see if your county offers the Master Gardener program, call the UGA Extension office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1. To learn more about the program, visit www.georgiamastergardener.com.
(Sharon Omahen is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)