Have you ever wondered just how far flung the Extension Master Gardener (EMG) program is? Found yourself wondering how many of us there actually are? Curious about the different things we do?
Mary Wilson, MSU Extension State Coordinator of the Master Gardener program, recently shared the following statistics, compiled in 2015 from data collected in 2014. It should make each and every one of us proud.
With 83,389 members, Extension Master Gardener is one of the largest volunteer organizations in the country.
The average EMG volunteers an average of 60 hours a year. In 2014, we logged 5,293,130 hours.
The national estimated value of those hours? $122,112,509.
On average, each state trains nearly 400 Extension Master Gardeners each year. That’s 14,256 or so joining us every year.
As a general rule, each Extension Master Gardener has over 40 hours of training before becoming certified. That’s 629,327 hours in the classroom.
We are asked to log our contacts with the people in our community. In 2014, we had 1,047,037 direct contacts.
We do a lot of media outreach, as well. 51,051,383 articles or interviews, to be exact.
We like to learn, to the tune of 981,603 continuing education credits earned.
Extension Master Gardeners have created 2,026 community gardens, and it’s estimated that there are nearly 6,000 community gardens nationally that involve EMG’s.
Those gardens translate into 846,431 pounds of produce donated. That’s with only 15 states reporting. It’s estimated nationwide that EMG’s donate 1,382 tons of fresh produce to food banks and pantries yearly.
Eleven states reported having 1,001 community gardens with youth involved. It is estimated that there are over 4,400 community gardens with Extension Master Gardeners working alongside youth.
And think about this for a minute: there are Extension Master Gardener programs in 49 states, and only 38 of them reported data for this study. Therefore, the overall national impact of the program must be significantly higher, and that is pretty amazing. We’re a good organization, people, and we’re doing good stuff. Hats off to all of us, and here’s to keeping up the good work in 2017!