The Hawaii Island Master Gardener Program is based at the CTAHR Komohana Extension Complex and its primary purpose is to assist with gardening questions by homeowners. But many of you have also met these dedicated Master Gardener’s at workshops, the CTAHR annual open house and at plant sales. They provide the public with gardening information to improve and enjoy the caring of our plants. It is another aspect to improving the quality of life on our island and as a part of sustainable agriculture.
Becoming a Master Gardener – Volunteer Requirements
The Master Gardener Program (MGP) is a volunteer program that first began in 1972 in Washington State. Currently, it has spread throughout our nation and Canada with more than 1,000 programs and volunteers. The overall MGP focuses on learning about being a responsible gardener that includes scientific knowledge based information. An interested person must attend a series of Master Gardener classes and pass a written exam. Once this is accomplished – the “new” Master Gardener trainee is required to volunteer at least 40-hrs within the year at Extension Service office in their community.
Those who continue beyond the year receive additional training and dedicate their time to further volunteer more hours – providing the community a valuable asset for those seeking gardening information. The MGP also provides a time to malama aina, having fun with other fellow gardeners and providing a service for community members. It is truly a grassroots effort with practicing sustainable agriculture at home.
Does your plant look wilted and you can’t figure out what it needs or infested with a bug you are not familiar with? Contact the Hawaii Island Master Gardener Helpline at 808-981-5199 on Monday, Tuesday or Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. You may also call and leave a message and a friendly Master Gardener will return your call with reliable gardening advice. They may also refer you to a CTAHR Extension Agent or an upcoming workshop that can help with your garden to sustain itself.
For further info on the Master Gardener Program in East Hawaii, contact CTAHR Extension Agent Andrew Kawabata at 808-981-5199 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In West Hawaii, contact Ty McDonald at 808-322-4884 or via email at email@example.com. Additional information on the Master Gardener’s Program can also be viewed at www.ctahr.hawaii.edu.
Photos by Nancy Hosticka