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  • 15 Mar 2017 6:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Notice to WCMGA Membership and 2017 Intern class

    March 15, 2017

    RE: summary of certification requirements (hours, process, etc.)

    For the Intern class:

    • ·      WCMG interns must complete the 40 hours of education (the master gardener class) and 40 hours of volunteer service the 1st year of the program
    • o   intern:  term used to classify new TEMGs in the process of completing the class and/or earning initial certification hours
    • o   Of the 40 Volunteer hours required to initially certify, all hours must be earned on WCMGA sponsored projects
    • o   Interns may enter up to 10 hours of continued education units (CEUs) to satisfy part of the initial 40-hour requirement (per Amy … WCMGA monthly meetings, Volunteer Gardener, library classes, horticulture workshops/programs, etc.)
    • o   Please enter volunteer hours under ‘My Volunteer Hours’ and educational hours under ‘My Education Hours’

    For Association Membership:

    • ·      For continued certification, WCMGs report 25 community volunteer hours and 8 educational hours.
    • o   Of the 25 volunteer hours, 20 must be earned on WCMGA sponsored projects. The remaining 5 hors can be earned on any non-WCMGA sponsored project, other than your own garden (or your neighbors, or your mothers, etc.)
    • o   Hours must either be (1) self-reported onto the TEMG website or (2) given to the Certification Liaison (Jan Gibson … wcmg.certification@gmail.com) in order to be certified.
    • o   Please enter volunteer hours under ‘My Volunteer Hours’ and educational hours under ‘My Education Hours’


    Everyone is encouraged to earn (AND REPORT) hours beyond certification on WCMGA sponsored projects. Volunteer assistance AND LEADERSHIP must be consistent for continued sustenance and maintenance of ongoing WCMGA projects. If there is no project leader or volunteer help, the project will go away.

    Volunteering on projects:

    • ·      Volunteers working on projects must be interns, Master Gardeners, MG friends or spouse’s friends. All volunteers must have dues paid up to date to earn hours, with exception of interns who’s fee is paid in 1st year class cost.
    • ·      Members with unpaid dues will not receive hours earned and will not receive the discount card.
    • ·      Volunteers working on projects where kids are or can be involved must have the Level 2 forms signed per UT Extension requirement.

    WCMGA President

    Jack Melnick

  • 07 Mar 2017 11:23 AM | Anonymous member

    The WCMGA Jr Gardener Camp 2017 is June 6 - 9. 

    Kids going into 1st - 6th grade are in for a week of fun and learning as we discover WEATHERTOPIA!

    Campers will learn:

    how weather affects our environment

    hands-on experiments and crafts

    great local speakers to explain weather phenomenom

    Spots are going quickly!
    To Register, please contact us at jrgardenercamp@gmail.com
    LOCATION: Williamson County Ag Expo Park
    DATES: June 6-9, 2017
    HOURS: 9:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m 

    COST: $50

  • 04 Mar 2016 9:58 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Rick Hoos

    “The mission of the Williamson County Master Gardeners Association, Inc is to enhance and improve the quality of life in our community through expanded horticultural educational opportunity and volunteerism.”

    There is a moral to the following story.  If you’re easily bored or just impatient, please skip to the end, conveniently labeled for you as “Moral of the story.”

    I’ve been a gardener since my father-in-law planted squash seeds in our backyard when I was still a neurology resident in Boston.  The witch-hunting trials had been over in New England for some time, but discovering the difference between home-grown and store-bought vegetables still seemed supernatural, and I was hooked.  I discovered the WCMGA at the Williamson County Fair about 10 years ago. Physicians never really stop going to school, and it seemed very natural to sign up for the winter course, which was in the evening that year.  I was still very busy practicing neurology, but I managed to get to most of the classes, mostly on time (I thought traffic was bad then; it is MUCH worse now!).  The information was useful, even if I never had time to review it, and the people were friendly.  There was some mention of volunteering, and maybe even certification, which I ignored.  My work days were still 12-14 hours, and getting my own garden in and taken care of was a real challenge; I certainly had no time to go work in some OTHER garden! 

    After a big wreck in 2008, I never resumed the full schedule I had had previously, and I slowed down even more in the years before I retired in 2012.  Five years ago, I took the course again, this time with better focus.  I also had the time to volunteer, and found that to be surprisingly rewarding, although it was initially not in an official WCMGA project.  In any case, I became certified, joined the association and began learning more about it.  Looking back, I think I still saw the WCMGA as a garden club, and little more.  

    Now, for anyone who had been paying attention, when reading the mission statement above (I mean REALLY reading it and absorbing it), the information would not have come as a surprise.  As noted, after being in school all my life, I thought the “expanded horticultural educational opportunity” was all for me!  As my own volunteer activities increased, my horizon expanded to see that volunteerism, “expanding the horticultural educational opportunities” FOR and “improving the quality of life” IN our community were the actual core of our mission.  It was kind of like the religious conversion wherein the convert learns that helping others IS how they are going to help themselves....

    This mission has been the core of the state extension Master Gardener programs since the founding in Washington state over 30 years ago, even when that focus hasn’t always been clear.  Our interests and activities overlap with the traditional garden club, but our raison d’etre has always been helping our communities, while gaining, sharpening and sharing our own skills.  

    For most of this group, I probably don’t have to enumerate the personal benefits of volunteering.  If you’re not sure, try this: double down on your volunteering for a while.  Do that conscientiously, and see how it makes you feel, about yourself, about our projects, about your community, about your fellow volunteers,  and about your place in the universe.  You might even, if you’re so inclined, call the benefits “spiritual.”  

    But there are also some very physical benefits of being a WCMGA volunteer.  We could start with the discount card you just received, which will pay for your dues in very few visits to our local retailers.  Benefits continue all year with our educational meetings and publications, (discounted) trips and the cameraderie of bonding with fellow volunteers.  It becomes difficult to distinguish between the corporeal and non-corporeal benefits, as it should.  

    The UT Extension offices, state and local, on whom we depend for foundation,  organization, support, facilities and guidance, are happy to provide all those things, in return for just one thing:  our volunteer hours (we keep all of our dues and funds raised).  Most of that is the work, most of which directly benefits both us and our communities.  The other little part is reporting those hours.  (That is so they can in turn tell the next bureaucratic level just how much good the Master Gardeners across the state have been doing, which seems fair enough.) We are indeed a service organization.

    Moral of the story
    On the spanking new website, courtesy of a lot of hard work by Sadira Ebert, you will find MANY items of interest.  Among them are instructions on how to use the site, and a button which will take you directly, without passing GO, without drama, without finger-dancing, to the state site where you can report your hours.  Easy-peasy.

    There will be lots more to explore, but that site in general and that button in particular are going to be important.  Because from now on, earning and reporting those hours will be the crucial step for you to reap all those benefits.  To get the card, to get the discounts and the rest, you’ll need to be certified.  To be a certified Master Gardener in 2017, you’ll need 25 REPORTED volunteer hours, and 8 REPORTED hours of continuing education in 2016 (and your dues, of course).  Education hours can come from attending meetings, reading books, attending (or giving) talks, even watching Volunteer Gardener on TV (which you should be doing anyway!!).  Volunteer hours can come from projects, helping out at the meetings, answering the phone in the office and even from non-WCMGA-associated activities aligned with our goals.  Probably anything you think is educational or horticultural volunteering IS; just check with Amy.

    YES, exceptions will be made for good reason!  Check with Amy or any board member to start the process.  Stay certified for 10 years and you become a life member.  Spouse or significant other?  Pay your dues to become a “friend” of the association, and come to all the meetings (but don’t vote).

    Questions?  Email wcmgainc@gmail.com or ask at a meeting.

  • 19 Feb 2016 1:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We're working on a new website to attract garden lovers and future volunteers.  As a new Master Gardener (Class of 2015) and member of the association, I was unaware of all the beautification projects and educational programs we offer to our county.   It gives me great pride that I am part of such an organization. We volunteered over 8,000 hours in 2015; our community should know the value we bring to our county.   Our website is the opportunity we have to share our why,  what we do, and who we are.

    I also was unaware of a Spring garden sale.  Who doesn't love a sale?  Okay, I hate shopping but I do love to buy anything garden related.  I'm one to look at seed catalogs all throughout winter and spring.  Come late February, I'm at the Williamson County Co-op and nurseries buying composts for my garden beds and everything else I didn't purchase.

    Goals for the website:

    • Increase public awareness of who we are and what we do in the community
    • Drive traffic to our website and membership engagement
    • House a central location for important information and resources
    • Improve entering volunteer and continued education hours
    • Engage the community on our events and fundraising efforts
    • Showcase our capabilities with photos and videos from our projects and programs
    Have a Members Only section:
    • Increase member networking and collaboration
    • Directory with secure membership information
    • Get to know our members and their passions
    • Forum to brainstorm and discuss projects, programs, field trips, and questions

    I'd love to get your feedback on what members would like to see on the website and how we can engage our volunteers. 

    Sadira Ebert

    2016 Board Member

  • 26 Jan 2016 11:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    A few years back I studied a form of Tai Chi from a 91 year old sifu (teacher).  Sifu Share Lew would tell his students many stories to teach his lessons.  He would tell us that trees become ALIVE when the sun rises and when it sets.  He also showed us a form of exercise to receive the tree's energy. It was supposed to be good for improving lung energy.  This was important to me because in Traditional Chinese Medicine improving lung energy improves allergies and boy- was I suffering from Tennessee allergies.  

    I'm not sure if we really can get energy from the trees but that fable has forever changed me.  I have more of an appreciation for trees since hearing Sifu's stories.  I always think of my sifu practicing Tai Chi in front of a tree doing his exercises.  You might see me doing the same; and especially during the spring.  

    Okay, why am I talking about trees and why are you getting this email? Please see the communication below which we received from UTIA as a potential project available in the end of February.  If you feel moved to participate or want to lead, please reply back and place the subject of the email as Trees.

    Goal: Planting 50,000 Trees Across Tennessee 
    What we would do: Plant 200 trees in our county
    How: Receive Bare Root Seedling (Up to 200 trees in our county)
    When: February 27, 2016
    Why: "Trees help reduce pollution by filtering stormwater runoff before it reaches our beautiful streams. By keeping our rivers and streams clean, we are ensuring clean drinking water and safe water recreation." 

    Communication from UTIA

    Please see below an opportunity for free trees for a state-wide tree planting effort through the Tennessee Environmental Council.  I participated in this last year, and their goal is to plant 50,000 trees across Tennessee on Feb 27th.  They are providing free bare root seedlings to volunteers, and seeking county-level "distribution centers."  Volunteers (anyone) can register to pick up free trees to plant and volunteer county-level centers are eligible for an additional 200 trees.  


    Please pass this along to counties who may be interested or have a need for bare root seedlings.  Agents can direct questions my way of course, or contact the fine folks at TEC for more details.


    Event website: http://tectn.org/50ktreeday/?utm_source=50K+Recruitment&utm_campaign=End+of+Year&utm_medium=email 





    Andrea Ludwig, PhD

    Assistant Professor

    Department of Biosystems Engineering & Soil Science

    304 BESS Office Bldg, 2506 E J Chapman Dr.

    Knoxville, TN 37996


    865-974-7238 Office

    aludwig@utk.edu | ag.tennessee.edu/watersheds


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