Greetings to SDSU Extension Master Gardeners and interns all over the state. It has been my pleasure to work with you all as the Interim State Coordinator for the last six months. I have enjoyed getting reacquainted with old friends and meeting new Master Gardeners and Interns, particularly the 64 individuals from 27 different communities that are actively involved with the training this spring and summer. It is my sincere hope that you will find being a Master Gardener rewarding and fulfilling as you learn to hone your gardening skills, build your knowledge and then pass that information along to gardeners and future gardeners in communities around the state. Know that you are making an impact in the lives of the people you help and in the relationships you build with each other through horticulture and gardening.
Currently I have been kept busy with Master Gardener training but that will be coming to an end soon as the latest class of Interns embark on completing their 50 hours of volunteer service. It is my wish that all current Master Gardeners and Interns from previous training make them welcome and help to get them involved with local groups and projects. My other major project is to work to improve the record keeping process for Master Gardeners. Presently each person is asked to keep track of the time they spend serving others and related preparation time for those activities. Most people are keeping them as paper records or perhaps entering them via Excel. I am working with the staff of iGrow to develop an online reporting format so that individuals will be able to log in and record their hours and contacts as they have time to do so. Hopefully this will be an easier method of recording hours and contacts and also make the data more accessible by me as the coordinator and for you as a Master Gardener. I know that much of what so many of you do goes unreported. I hope if this is an easy process that we will be able to move toward resolving that problem. A Master Gardener community is also being developed on iGrow. It will be the central clearing house for Master Gardener information to supplement postings to the SDSU Extension Master Gardener Facebook page and information sent out through the Listserv. One other major endeavor is to fill the vacancy in the SDSU Extension Horticulture Specialist & South Dakota Master Gardener Program Interim Coordinator position. So far we have had very few applicants and those that applied were not deemed qualified for the position. I will be trying to contact Horticulture Departments across the country in a variety of formats including potentially doing some informal interviews of candidates at the annual meeting of the American Society for Horticultural Science in New Orleans, the first part of August. In the meantime, please keep in touch and let me know how I can assist you as a Master Gardener or Intern.
David F. Graper, SDSU Extension Horticulture Specialist & South Dakota Master Gardener Program Interim Coordinator