Alachua County Master Gardeners: Spirit of Gainesville nominee


Published: Monday, September 9, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 2:10 p.m.

Perhaps you have heard of us; most likely not!

Facts

Category: Community Service

About Alachua County Master Gardeners

Occupation: Gardening Group

Years in Gainesville: 20

We are Master Gardeners. We are behind the scenes in making Gainesville a more pleasing place in which to live. Alachua County has 128 currently active Master Gardeners. We generate over 13,000 work hours of community service per year, and reach over 18,000 people. We are trained by our leader Wendy Wilber, UF/IFAS.

What do we do? Currently we are manning the Master Gardener hot line Monday thru Friday 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. – 4 p.m at the UF/IFAS Alachua County Extension Service. We endeavor to find a solution to horticultural questions. When we can’t find the answer, we find the IFAS authority on the subject and get back to the caller.

Did you go to UF? The Wilmot Gardens on campus (behind the cancer center on corner of Gayle Lemerand Rd. and Mowry Drive is coordinated by our Master Gardener of the year.

We work on UF Campus and Wilmot with vets in the area of therapeutic horticulture. There is a new greenhouse being constructed at Wilmot to extend the therapeutic horticulture program even further. Wilmot is also planted and tended by Master Gardeners.

The VA Honor Garden program is in yet another location is run and maintained by Master Gardeners. We do air potato round up. We are currently re-doing the Florida Friendly demonstration garden in Westside Park. The Master Gardeners have been instrumental in the creation of the Crisis Center’s Survivors of Suicides garden at the City of Gainesville Cofrin Park.

We have a plant sale every year to help fund out community service projects. We maintain several areas at the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. We work the spring festival there. Several master gardeners serve as docent and tour guides at the botanical gardens. Tours can even be arranged in Spanish.

Perhaps way up on the list is the School Garden program. We currently have volunteers working in 11 Elementary schools and one middle school in the community. One is going in this school term at Wiles Elementary School under the leadership of a Master Gardener.

This is but a small list of my knowledge base because I am still learning. So if you are aware of us now, kiss a Master Gardener. The community has benefited from us for years. Let’s begin to publicize and recognize one of the most labor intensive community oriented resources we have; Alachua County Master Gardeners.

Nominated by Diane Dewey

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