UC Master Gardener Program
University of California
UC Master Gardener Program

Master Gardeners-Making it Matter!

Every year as the Statewide Master Gardener Coordinator, I am asked to create a report that our adminstration can share with the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA-USDA) on the work of the UC Master Gardener Program.  It includes the number of volunteers, contacts and the like.  I have just completed our report for FY 2010-11 and I find that I am awestruck by your volunteer efforts. 

The volunteer hours you give and the quality of work you do is breathtaking.  I take my hat off to the over 5,468 Certified Master Gardener Volunteers in California. In July 2010, we had 4837 volunteers.  We observe a net increase of 571 Volunteers this year. 

You donated 296,301 total volunteer hours in your role as Master Gardener this year, which is 38,285 more than last year. (and we still have 15 days left in the year.....). Following is a comparison of volunteer hours reported in previous years. 

  • In FY 05-06:   99,321
  • In FY 06-07:  143,663
  • In FY 07-08:  201,096
  • In FY 08-09:  238,439
  • In FY 09-10:  258,016
  • In FY 10-11:  296,301

If you put a current market value on your volunteer hours, it totals almost $7 million dollars in value to the community and the University. 
(see:  http://www.independentsector.org/volunteer_time)

Your volunteer hours equals 142 full time staff assuming a 40 hour work week and 2080 work hours in a year).

In addition to your volunteer hours, the contacts reported this year are quite remarkable.  Last year, we documented only about 600,000 contacts.  This year, because of a little bit of training in how to collect contact data, you were able to document over 3 million face to face contacts

What is more important than just the hours and contacts is the quality of work each and every county program has been delivering to our clientele. At the Statewide Master Gardener Conference in Santa Rosa, we were able to hear five terrific Search for Excellence(SFE) Presentations.  At my table however, as each of the presenters gave their talk, someone would say "well, we do that too!" referring to garden tours, publications, garden guide publications, demonstration gardens, and other types of outreach SFE caliber efforts.  What that says to me is that programs are all working in harmony to extend science-base sustainable landscape information and knowledge in meaningful and impactful ways but are not reporting on it or entering it into a competition.  In any case, your work is really important to the communities in which you work, and to the university because you are the primary outreach arm to our home horticulture clientele.  You bring the university to the people.  I am so proud to be  a part of this remarkable program and again bow before your amazing work.  Great job UC Master Gardeners!!! 

Report Totals for FY 2010-2011

Total Volunteers: 5,468

Total Volunteer Hours:  296,301 at $23.41 per hour =$6,936,406.00

Total Contacts:  3,086,326

Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 2:22 PM


Hi Pamela - what a great story....and VERY effective when quantitatively analyzed and shared in this manner, too!! Pretty impressive, actually, esp when you break it down into $7M and the equivalent of 142 full time staff!!!  
Well done & thanks,  
Bob (Santa Barbara 2011 graduate, YAAY!!)

Posted by Bob Lloyd on June 20, 2011 at 12:07 PM

Your statistics are a result of the great leadership we have in the staff overseeing the Master Gardener Program.  
Thank you ALL for your dedication.  
Sharon, SJC MG

Posted by Sharon R McDonnell on June 28, 2011 at 11:41 AM

Thanks Bob....You and the other MGs are what makes it happen! Best, Pam

Reply by Pamela M. Geisel on June 29, 2011 at 9:24 AM

Hi Sharon: Thank you for your kindness and comment. It is greatly appreciated...and if I may return the compliment-Thank YOU for all your dedication! Best, Pam

Reply by Pamela M. Geisel on June 29, 2011 at 9:25 AM

Impressive. We love what we do but the main reason we enjoy it is the fellowship of other MG's who are go -getters and eager to learn and to share.  
Here's to many more years. Carvill, MG '94

Posted by Carvill Veech on July 6, 2011 at 7:22 PM

Thanks Carvill...we are a friendly bunch of characters aren't we? Thanks for your kind words. Best, Pam

Posted by Pamela M. Geisel on July 8, 2011 at 8:35 AM

Great work Pam!  
Indeed, those stats are impressive. The irony is the actual totals are still probably double that amount, as many MG's feel guilty writing down all their volunteer time, or tend to underestimate their hours, especially when sharing their expertise outside of the traditional exhibits and seminars. When a quasi-governmental agency gives back more than it receives, perhaps Jerry Brown's office and congressional representatives ought to see these figures too.

Posted by Robin Y Rivet on July 8, 2011 at 2:29 PM

Hi Robin: Thanks so much and for the great suggestions. While these are not "impacts" per se, they are significant outcomes from the work that we all do as part of our role in outrech and extension. Thanks again.

Reply by Pamela M. Geisel on July 11, 2011 at 9:25 AM

WOW! Here in Alameda County we knew the need was going up and we knew we were striving to meet it, but we had no idea how successful we had been.  
Kudos to all the MG programs across the state for all their fabulous work!  
And thanks to you Pam for holding it all together!  

Posted by Birgitt Evans on July 19, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Hi Birgitt: Thanks for your kind words. It is people like you that make it happen! Best, Pam

Posted by Pamela M. Geisel on July 20, 2011 at 9:25 AM

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