Master Gardener Minute

October - December 2002

Rich Wrage , Boone county extension education director


Responding to consumer horticulture questions is a major part of most Iowa State University (ISU) County Extension offices. The problem lies in being able to satisfy the clients numerous and diverse horticultural questions. Utilizing Master Gardeners is part of the solution, but recruiting and keeping Master Gardeners active is another challenge.


Boone County ISU Extension is always looking for ways to educate the public on horticulture topics. The Boone County Master Gardeners were looking for ways to involve recent MG graduates (interns), to market the MG program, to publicize the accomplishments of the Master Gardeners, to recruit students for the MG program and to do this with little or no resources. In Boone County we established a one-minute radio spot on KWBG radio in Boone educating the public on a timely topic in an informative and fun manner. Often these spots will mention a demonstration plot operated by the Boone County Master Gardeners. These spots air twice a day, at 8:33 AM and at 2:33 PM. Master Gardener interns record these at the radio station. All of the current Master Gardeners are invited to write the scripts and many have contributed. These written scripts are then submitted to the local newspapers for print. Three of the four newspapers in Boone County regularly carry the Master Gardener Minute as a news release at no cost. Approximately 78 newspaper articles have been printed. KWBG has donated the radio airtime valued at $12 per minute. The programs first aired in January 2002 and has been aired 262 times through August 2002. This amounts to a $3,144 grant from KWBG. I believe it fulfills each of the goals established. It educates the public, involves Master Gardeners, publicizes Master Gardener accomplishments, markets the Extension Master Gardener program, serves as a recruiting tool for the MG program and does it at little or no cost.


Many clients have mentioned that they have heard the MG Minutes. Several listeners said thay they planned to make changes in their gardens due to what they learned from the MG Minutes. The Boone County Master Gardener minutes have educated many clients on horticultural topics and have sparked new interest in the ISU Master Gardener Program.

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