The Master Gardener Volunteer Program originated in Seattle, Washington in 1972. The Extension Agent in the King County office of the Washington State Extension Service began to train volunteers and utilize their expertise as a new approach to reach out to the gardening public with research-based educational information. It was a great concept that has now spread across the United States, Canada and to other countries.
The Master Gardener program in Ohio has existed since the late 1970s and has consistently grown since then. There are now more than 3000 active Master Gardener volunteers in more than 62 Ohio counties, urban, suburban and rural. The Ohio State University Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program provides thorough horticulture training to interested Ohio residents. Following their training, the volunteers work with county Extension personnel to provide educational services to their communities such as: answering gardening questions from the public, conducting plant clinics, gardening activities with children, senior citizens, or disabled persons, beautifying the community, developing community or demonstration gardens, and other horticultural activities. The initiatives of the program include: integrated pest management, invasive species, backyard and local foods, and environmental horticulture.
Prior to the 2013 Gateway Garden Jubilee held at the Clark County Extension Office, Pamela Bennett, Ohio State University Extension State Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator and Horticulture Educator reached out to Holmes for help with a calendar for the event. “The calendar came about as a result of this year being our last Gateway Garden Jubilee at this site,” Pam shared. “The Gardens will be moving in the near future and we wanted something to commemorate them, as well as to provide a gift to all of our supporters. The calendar was a great way to show seasonal photos of the garden as well as to provide important dates for the program and gardening tips.”
The team at Holmes was excited for the opportunity to work with the Master Gardeners and create something to help them celebrate the Gateway Garden. We met and discussed ideas and examples to make sure the end result was precisely what the Master Gardeners were looking for. Pam gave us her perspective on the creative process. “Working with Holmes made the creative process a lot easier. Our team didn’t think of the details as we were focused on just the pictures for each month. Holmes’ team pointed out all of the other details that we needed to decide in order to make this piece work. I worked with our team to identify photos for the months, edit the gardening tips and dates, as well as made the final decision when it was ready for print.”
The final calendar was obviously a beautiful piece, due to the stunning images of the gardens. “Everyone has commented positively on the calendar,” Pam told us. “It’s well done, colors are fantastic and we haven’t heard a negative comment.”
Once the project was complete and the calendars had been shared at the Jubilee event, we talked to Pam to understand her view of the entire process. She shared, “I have always had a belief that we have to market and promote our problems. Through working with Kevin and the Holmes team, I have an even better understanding of branding and getting the word out about our program.”
To learn more about the Ohio State University Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program, visit http://mastergardener.osu.edu/.