BROOME CO., N.Y. — The 28th Annual Master Gardener Volunteer Graduation and Service Awards ceremony was held by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County (CCE Broome) on December 15, virtually via Zoom. CCE Broome’s Master Gardener Volunteer program recognized four Master Gardener Volunteer training program graduates and honored several long-term volunteers for their dedicated service in 10-year, 15-year, 20- and 25-year categories.
The Master Gardener program has been a CCE Broome County signature program for over 40 years. The intensive training consists of a one-year course of study in plant science, entomology, soil and fertilizers, ornamentals and other horticultural topics. The 2020 graduates are Christine Davies, John Greene, Edie Johnson, and Rita Maddi.
Master Gardeners Mary Matwey and Elaine Gregory were recognized with 25-year service awards. Sue McClain received recognition for her 20 years of service. Rae Marie Bostrom, Richard Ceponis and Gail Kovac received 15-year awards. Marty Cuff, Mary Ann Cuff, Linda Dillenbeck, Teri Holden and Susan Stoddard received 10-year awards. After receiving her 10-year award, Stoddard, a Binghamton City School District retiree and Vestal resident said, “I love being part of the Cutler Botanic Garden. The Master Gardeners are a diverse group and so willing to network and support each other. I’m honored to be part of the group.”
The Master Gardener Volunteer Program is a national program of trained volunteers who work in partnership with their county Cooperative Extension offices to expand garden-based educational outreach by providing home and community gardeners with research-based information and skills. The volunteers teach classes, open to the community, answer questions on the Horticulture Response Hotline, and are available through the Speakers Bureau to speak to interested community groups.
In Broome County, the Master Gardeners Volunteers serve a unique role. Under the supervision of CCE Broome Horticulture Educator, Linda Svoboda, the volunteers are the caretakers of Cutler Botanic Garden. During winter months, the volunteers plan the garden. In spring and summer, they plant and care for the garden and harvest fruits and vegetables.
During 2020, the Master Gardeners contributed over 4,000 hours of service. The Cutler Botanic Garden remained open to the public throughout the pandemic, as a safe space for the public to visit and connect with nature. The dedicated Master Gardeners came regularly—despite the pandemic—to plan, plant and maintain the gardens. Thanks to their commitment, over 800 pounds of fresh produce were donated to area food pantries during the growing season. The Master Gardeners contributed over 4,000 hours of service in 2020 for an estimated economic value of more than $108,000. In addition, the volunteers gave presentations through the Speakers Bureau to garden clubs, civic groups and other organizations throughout New York, reaching 238 participants through 11 presentations.
For more information about CCE Broome County’s Master Gardener Volunteer program, see: http://ccebroomecounty.com/gardening/master-gardener-program
–CCE Broome County
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