Seven Polk County Master Gardeners were recently recognized at the Arkansas Master Gardener Conference in Benton for their years of service. Pictured above are Jessie Schweinle and Dorothy Posel, 10-year members; and Kay Alley, Betty Smith and Kim Hughes, 15-year members. Not pictured are Mickey Davis and Wanda Cogburn, both 15-year members.
Master Gardener programs exist in every state in the US and six Canadian provinces. It is estimated that over 60,000 volunteers contribute hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours.
The Arkansas Master Gardener Program has over 3000 volunteers in 67 counties. These Master Gardeners reported 102,850 education hours and 181,371 service hours last year. Arkansas adopted the Master Gardener program in 1988 in four counties (Garland, Jefferson, Pulaski, and Saline), and it has since expanded to programs in 67 counties.
The focus projects for Master Gardeners in Polk County are the front beds at the Courthouse and the Rose Garden on the east side. Other projects include keeping up the flowerbeds beside the Depot and supervising the Horticulture Department at the county fair.
On the first Saturday in May, you can find the Master Gardeners at the fairgrounds selling plants from their home gardens and flowerbeds.
For more information about the Master Gardener program in Polk County, contact the Extension Service at 211 DeQueen Street in Mena; call 479-394-6018; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.