Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension
Iowa State University

Title of Success Story

Master Gardeners from 89 Iowa counties enter over 100,000 hours into a new online reporting system.

Extension Lead(s)
(name, position, counties served, contact information)

Cynthia Haynes and Jennifer Bousselot

Desired Changes
Complete objectives for all that apply

Learning – Increase awareness of Master Gardeners’ hours and activities.
Actions – Adoption of new online hours reporting system by Master Gardeners and coordinators.

Relevance (Maximum 250 characters)
(Issue: Why is it important to address this with education?  What are the desired changes?)

A new online reporting system for Master Gardeners was implemented as counties saw a reduction in county staff/coordinators who often oversee local Master Gardener activities and reporting. The online system allows Master Gardeners to enter their hours directly from their home computers at any time.  The system also allows for county coordinators to easily verify and summarize hours for the Master Gardeners in their county.  Prior to adoption of the online system, summarizing numbers of active Master Gardeners for the state, their hours (both volunteer hours and education hours), and types of activities were not possible.

Response (Maximum 250 characters)
(from Outputs: activities, numbers reached, publications, products)

In 2010 (the first full year of using the online system) Master Gardeners from 89 of the 93 counties with an active Master Gardener program used the online system to report volunteer and education hours.  Master Gardeners from 4 counties (Delaware, Dubuque, Johnson, and Linn) did not report hours via the online reporting system.  At the end of 2010 there were 2573 active Master Gardeners in Iowa with over 100,220 hours reported (82,394 volunteer hours and 17,832 education hours).  In addition, 525 Master Gardener Interns were trained in 2010 and will be using the online system for hours reporting. 

Results – desired changes (Maximum 250 characters)
( specific changes that occurred in Learning, Actions, Conditions)  Describe how outcomes were measured.

Master Gardeners from across Iowa have embraced the online hours reporting system.  Even those Master Gardeners from counties that previously had their own county-based online reporting system have commented on the ease and usefulness of the state-wide system.  Master Gardener coordinators are also pleased with the information summaries provided by the new system.  The coordinators plan to use the information compiled from the system to guide ongoing educational needs for Master Gardeners in their counties.

Public Value (now or future) (Maximum 150 characters)
(Impact:  Who benefits beyond participants and how?  What conditions changed?)

Based on the 2010 estimates, Iowa Master Gardeners contribute over $2 million worth of services to their local communities ($20.85/hour).  Common volunteer activities include (but are not limited to): answering questions and diagnosing plant problems, assisting with community beautification projects, hosting gardening seminars and workshops, and educating youth and adults about the benefits of gardens and gardening.


Global Food Security and Hunger
Ensuring Profitable Producers
Helping Rural Iowans Prosper
Natural Resources and Environmental Stewardship
Climate Change
Sustainable Energy
Food Safety

Fiscal Year


Major Partners or Collaborators

County extension and Master Gardeners



Page last updated: July 8, 2011
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