Editor's Note: The Master Gardeners of the Ozarks have produced far reaching effects on their environment and the public in 2014. This content is re-published from the Master Gardeners of the Ozarks Annual Report for 2014, produced and written by our mentor and advisor, Tim Schnakenberg with Missouri Extension. You can download the PDF version of this report here:
Gardening has become an important activity of many Southwest Missourians. Gardening is an excellent way to beautify our landscape and provide a healthy activity for the homeowner. It also is a huge industry in our region and impacts water quality. To help address the general horticulture and gardening needs of the public, a thriving Master Gardener program is present in Stone and Taney Counties. Master Gardeners are University of Missouri trained volunteers who assist with organized horticulture education programs for the gardening public. As of December 31, there were 110 Master Gardeners in the Master Gardeners of the Ozarks chapter. Of these there are 63 who reside in Stone County, 40 residing in Taney County, three in Barry County, two in Christian County and two who reside in Boone County, Arkansas.
Master Gardener Total Impact
The Master Gardeners of the Ozarks continues to grow in number and expand in the variety of projects that are done each year. A total of 4,487 hours were reported in 2014 by seventy-two Master Gardeners who served the entire year and reported. They reported making 938 contacts with persons in the community in 2014. The first-year Master Gardeners are required to provide 30 hours of service and seasoned Master Gardeners are only required to provide 20 hours. This year the Master Gardeners each averaged 62 hours of service each. According to the latest figures from the Independent Sector organization, the hourly wage for Missouri volunteer hours currently is $18.80. If you put a value on the education and service hours provided to the community, the value totals $84,355 worth of volunteer time! Tim Schnakenberg served as advisor for the Master Gardener activities in this area.
Organization and Structure
The Master Gardeners were lead this year by Mike Flinn, president, Jim Enyart, vice-president, Colleen Walpert and Elaine Fischer, co-secretaries, and Bill Greet, treasurer. The Master Gardeners met monthly, alternating between locations in Stone and Taney County and the executive committee met frequently between meetings. A special committee was organized in 2014, headed by RJ Jacob, to provide $1,266 in competitive grant funds for Master Gardener projects. As a result funds were distributed in early 2014 that provided a boost to four projects within the organization.
Master Gardener Training in Hollister for 2014
A Master Gardener training was offered in Holliser this year. There was 30 hours of instruction provided for nineteen participants. A graduation ceremony was conducted at the December Master Gardener holiday meeting in Branson.
Master Gardener Radio Show on KRZK
KRZK Radio in Branson hosted a new Master Gardener radio show each Saturday morning. The show features a gardening topic presented by two different Master Gardeners each week and is hosted by Josh Grisham. Sandra Reames coordinates this valuable service to the community.
Members attending the January master gardener monthly meeting. The master gardener program has built an army of volunteers who do great educational programming in our communities.
"An Evening in the Herb Garden" was a special program offered at the Taney County Extension Center's demonstration garden. The program featured discussions and demonstrations related to growing and using herbs in food preparation.
Garden Tour Featured a Variety of Gardens in South Stone and Taney Counties
Master Gardeners offered their sixth garden tour in June at select locations in south Stone and Taney Counties. Chaired by Louise Mansfield, this tour brought together 116 participants with about fifteen volunteers who worked the tour sites. As a result of this effort, a great amount of education took place for each participant and over $1,400 was raised for future scholarships.
Gardening Workshops Bring in Large Crowds
The gardening public continues to turn to the Spring and Fall Gardening Workshops for reliable advice on gardening in the Ozarks. Over 200 came out in Branson in March and nearly 100 came to Kimberling City in September. Topics included composting, flower gardening, insects in the garden, cooking demonstrations, poisonous plants, straw bale gardening, organic weed control and fall planting of bulbs.
Education and Improved Landscapes Drives Most Master Gardener Projects
Some of the ongoing projects that made a significant impact in local communities included landscaping at Bonniebrook Gallery, Museum and Homestead, Stonebridge Heritage Garden landscaping, Table Rock Project Office landscaping, Shell Knob Senior Center landscaping, Kimberling Area Library Children's Garden, Taney County Extension Center demonstration gardens,
Stone County courthouse landscaping and Ozarks Lake Country Senior Center. There are many more smaller projects that are too innumerable to cover, but combined they make a startling impact throughout our region.
Master Gardener Scholarship Offered to College Student Education is the primary function of Master Gardeners and many proceeds from educational events go toward scholarships for college students majoring in horticulture or a similar field.
Elaine Fischer coordinated this effort. For 2014 the recipient was Ryan Logue who received a $1,000 scholarship. Ryan is a student at College of the Ozarks.
Monthly Educational Events Offered in 2014
Three regularly scheduled monthly events are offered during the growing season in Taney, Barry and Stone Counties for the gardening public. These programs provide ongoing, free to the public educational opportunities. The program at the Kimberling Area Library in Kimbering City has been going on for several years. It is coordinated by Kathryn Kufahl. This is the second year for the Brown Bag Lunch program was offered at the Taney County Extension Center in Forsyth. This program is coordinated by a dedicated team of volunteers in Taney County. This was the first year for a new series of programs in Cassville called the Front Porch Conversations with Garden People.
Coordinated by Kenny Redmon and Charlie Phaneuf, the program brought in speakers on a variety of topics. Attendance has been great at all programs.