The Extension Master Gardener (EMG) program is a vital contributor to Tennessee Extension residential and consumer horticulture education and outreach. In 2014, 2,480 volunteers statewide completed service and education requirements to achieve or maintain certified EMG status. These volunteers, led by Tennessee Extension agent county coordinators, contributed over 178,800 hours of service while recording over 30,300 hours of continuing education. These totals illustrate both the contributions of EMG volunteers to horticulture outreach and their desire for education to enhance their own knowledge and skill. Understanding the most needed areas of training for EMG volunteers to support their education and outreach to residents is critical to the growth and impact of the program. Therefore, a study was undertaken in 2015 to survey both EMG volunteers and coordinators to determine educational needs for volunteers as well as the preferred training delivery methods. Respondents consistently rated horticultural training in edible and ornamental crops as well as pest and disease management as high priorities. Similarly, hands-on and in-person presentations and printed materials were rated as highly important training methods. Results indicate potential training priorities for the future but also suggest a need to explore differences between coordinator and volunteer perspectives in some areas.
Bumgarner, N. R.,
Donaldson, J. L.
(2017). Assessing the Tennessee Extension Master Gardener Program Using Both County Coordinator and Extension Volunteer Perspectives.
Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 5(3), 10.
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