Tim is the Agronomy Specialist/County Program Director
Stone County Extension Center, University of Missouri Extension

Tim Schnakenberg - Stone County Extension Agent"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 86 active Master Gardeners in the Master Gardeners of the Ozarks group. Of these there are 52 who reside in Stone County, 29 residing in Taney County, one in Christian County and four who live in Barry County.

Master Gardener Total Impact:

The Master Gardeners of the Ozarks had a very eventful year in 2009. A total of 4,414 hours were reported in 2009 by sixty-eight Master Gardeners who served the entire year and reported. They reported making 5,525 contacts with persons in the community in 2009. 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 65 hours of service. According to the latest figures from the Independent Sector organization, the hourly wage for Missouri volunteer hours currently is $17.76. If you put a value on the education and service hours provided to the community, the value totals over $78,000 worth of volunteer time!