Master Gardeners OT

Kenneth Hixson
Tue, 28 Jul 2009 13:38:30 PDT
> As follow up to the comment about Master Gardeners...if they are to be 
> utilized as I suggest, they would require training from good ecologists 
> to know how to monitor for real invasive plant problems, as opposed to 
> weeds.  My suggestion to utilize Master Gardeners had a two fold 
> purpose.  Extension funding has been in jeopardy for several years and 
> this would be a good reason to maintain extension funding, while 
> reducing the need to create and fund a new beaurocracy within the 
> Federal Government....

I love the concept of Master Gardeners, and I like your ideas.  The
problem is, in my area (western Oregon), the state extension service
funding has been cut, and cut again, and again, and...
Numerous programs have been eliminated, experienced people forced to
find other work.  The Master Gardener program still exists, and they
are allowed to use existing facilities--office space, telephones,
computers, but are expected to provide most of their own financing,
which so far they manage to do by such things as plant sales.  Master
Gardeners get 45 hours of training and are expected to donate a similar
amount of time to the program.  Some people do persevere, but many
simply can't cope with that type of environment, and don't remain long
enough to become really knowledgeable.  I do think of trying to become
a Master Gardener, but I don't want to be part of that either.

At the present time, relying on Master Gardeners, or other volunteers
with inadequate funding, is a good idea that is unlikely to work.
Sorry, I wish it were otherwise, I'd welcome more expertise.

New federal bureaucracies funnel off the money that otherwise would be
spent to support local programs like Master Gardeners.  Priorities have
become centralized far away, not locally where needed.  I wish there
were some incentive to do things differently, but so far it hasn't
appeared.  To me, this, and the proposed "white paper" regulations, are
all part of a larger problem that isn't being addressed.


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