I am thrilled to be the final blogger for the Extension Master Gardener Blog, during National Volunteer Week. I have been reading these posts all week long and take great pride in being part is this outstanding group. As the week has progressed with blogs about EMG’s I began to reflect on my own career with the Extension Master Gardeners and how it has progressed to where I am today.
My career started as the horticulturist for the Nebraska State Fair Park. Fresh out of college with lots of new ideas and creativity, the 200-acre park was a little daunting. As the work began in the spring, I found out that
there was this group of people who volunteered in the Parks gardens and were there to help me. That seemed odd to me — why would these people take time to come help in these gardens when they most likely had their own to work in! As I got to know these great people, they taught me about the EMG program. For 9 seasons I was fortunate enough to have a dozen of dedicated EMG’s visit me every week to help plant hundreds of containers full of annual plants, pull more bindweed then imaginable, create gardens to showcase during the State Fair and teach me more about gardening and life then I ever learned in school.
In 2010, the Nebraska State Fairgrounds was relocated to another city. I was not able to move with the Fair and I thought I would lose all of my great garden friends from the EMG program. However, as events progressed, I was able to become a coordinator of this great group of people. Now I have almost 500 garden friends who work in gardens all across the State of Nebraska. As I travel across the state, I am amazed at what the power of volunteerism can do! It has been a privilege to work with the Extension Master Gardener program.
As the National Volunteer Week comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on my past and looking to the future. The Nebraska State Fair Park was a participating EMG program garden we received so much love and support from the volunteers, I will never forget all who were involved with those gardens — they hold a special place in my heart. As a newbie, 200-acres was a daunting task and if not for their support, wisdom, and a few laughs here and there I am not sure I would have accomplished all that I did in those nine growing seasons. Now, in the present, I have contact with many more EMG’s and find that these are the best people in the world to work and garden with. I know I do not say thanks enough to all of the Extension Master Gardeners who support this program. Knowing I get to work with the best volunteers has been a privilege and I continue to look forward to everyday I get to work with the Extension Master Gardener Program.
THANK YOU EMG’s THE BEST VOLUNTEERS!
Terri James, Extension Assistant-Urban Gardening
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension