The Galveston County Master Gardener program celebrates its 19th year of operation in 2000, being one of the first three counties to initiate the program. Dr. George Meador, County Extension Agent, started the first class in 1981 and served as Master Gardener Program Coordinator to 1989 upon his retirement. Dr. William M. Johnson has served as our Master Gardener Program Coordinator since then.
History & Background of the Association
In 1986, Sam Scarcella approached Carolyn Goode Murphy and Helen Mabe (all members of the 1986 Master Gardener class) to enlist their help in organizing an association of the Master Gardeners in the county. In June 1986, they sent a letter to all the graduates of the program inviting them to a meeting in July at the Nessler Center in Texas City. These three people also served as the officers of the Association for 1986, 1987 & 1988.
Now, fourteen years later, hundreds have had the exceptional experience of taking the Master Gardener Course. A dedicated group of volunteers has emerged to make significant contributions to our communities.
Master Gardeners are working at Moody Gardens on Galveston Island, Armand Bayou in Houston, Heritage Park in Friendswood, Challenger 7 Community Vegetable Garden in Webster and H.I.S. Ministries Demonstration Vegetable Garden in Santa Fe. We have a Cylinder Gardening program in five schools. Three Master Gardeners contribute regular columns to local newspapers and another Master Gardener designed and planted the new landscape for the Police Officers' Memorial in Galveston. Another Master Gardener developed a garden for the Hitchcock Senior Citizen Center and secured the funding, materials and volunteers to assist with this project and the construction of a raised bed garden at the local nursing home. A group of Master Gardeners have been involved with Enabling Gardens at various sites, including Moody Gardens and Harbor View Nursing Home in League City and several hospitals.
We have conducted a variety of seminars, clinics and workshops at the Galveston County Extension Office. Master Gardener volunteers also staffed information booths at a variety of public events such as the Galveston Home & Garden Show, Earth Day programs and other horticultural programs such as the Heritage Festival and the Oleander Fest.
And, we assist the Galveston County Extension faculty in addressing the thousands of telephone calls received annually from area clientele on horticulture and horticulture-related problems. Master Gardener volunteers are also developing the Horticulture Demonstration Gardens at the County Extension Office.
The Association continues to grow as a vital volunteer-based organization. We serve not only the 250,000 people in thirteen distinct communities in Galveston County, but also our clientele covers a much broader area encompassing southern Harris County, western Chambers County, and eastern Brazoria County. We are an integral part of the volunteer "muscle and face" of the County Extension Office through public speaking, plant clinics, classes for adults and children, horticulture shows, and individual gardening projects.
During the early years of the Association, membership ranged from 9 to 14 individuals. Since that time, the Association has significantly grown in membership which now totals 250 Master Gardeners. An inclusive philosophy and positive team-building efforts have dramatically enhanced our active membership and our esprit de corps. We diligently work hard at nourishing a real team spirit by appreciating our differences and combining our strengths and this has enhanced our ability to provide quality educational programs for the benefit of our communities. In 1999, Master Gardeners contributed 16,363 hours of volunteer time to our communities. A motto of the Galveston County Master Gardener Association is "Knowledge not shared is knowledge lost forever" - it's more than an expression to us!
All digital photographs are the property of the Galveston County Master Gardener Association, Inc. (GCMGA) © 2002-2012 GCMGA - All Rights Reserved.