About Albuquerque Master Gardeners
Who they are
Master Gardeners are community volunteers trained in basic horticulture by the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service and other specialists. Master Gardeners donate their time advising local gardeners and citizens about horticulture problems and efforts.
To become a Master Gardener, a person needs to have a combination of volunteer and gardening experience, preferably in the local area. They must attend a minimum of 40 hours of classes and must complete 40 hours of volunteer service by October 31 of the year that they are certified and must complete additional training and additional volunteer service each year to continue to be certified.
They also become members of the Albuquerque Council of Garden Clubs because the Albuquerque Area Extension Master Gardeners Organization is a member of the Garden Council. As members of Council, Master Gardeners also contribute to many of the activities of the Council at the Garden Center and pay dues to the Council through the treasurer of the Master Gardener organization.
What Master Gardeners Do
Master Gardeners do many things. Perhaps the most interesting to the Master Gardener and to the public are the ways in which they serve the public. It is by this service that Master Gardeners earn the 40 hours of service credit that are required to maintain their status as Master Gardener and be able to proudly display their Master Gardener badge and/or their tee shirt.
The Hotline is open from February 1st to October 31st. MG volunteers answer questions from the public using the official recommendations of New Mexico State University as published in the Extension Service bulletins. The bulletins are from research based data and reflect sound scientific principles. The phones are functional from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM weekdays. The number to call for this service is 292-7144. Calls that are made to this number when there is no one at the Hotline phones are referred to the Bernalillo County Extension Office or to the home phone of a Master Gardener.
In the Master Gardener 4-H seeds program, Master Gardener volunteers present demonstrations on how to grow plants from seeds for third grade students in Albuquerque schools and schools in the surrounding communities, both public and parochial. Teachers of any third grade class may request this service. Children in those classes are also told about the 4-H programs that are available for them.
Home visits to help people who have gardening problems that cannot be solved with a phone call are made by experienced Master Gardeners. Such visits are arranged by calling the Hotline which will decide whether the visit is necessary and then make the arrangements for it if it is necessary.
To have a speaker on a gardening topic, clubs and groups that wish may call the Garden Center at 296-6020 and request a speakers list or some names from that list that they may call. Many of those speakers are also Master Gardeners.
In addition to the above services, Master Gardeners earn service hours for many of the jobs they perform for the operation of the organization. These include chairing meetings, keeping internal records, providing refreshments, doing publicity, correcting and recording test scores.
Master Gardeners are also publishers of "Down to Earth". Marie Stewart, Editor