The WVU Extension Master Gardener Program provides people interested in gardening with the opportunity to expand their knowledge and sharpen their skills by taking part in basic and advanced training programs that provide in-depth training in various aspects of horticulture.
Basic training is offered in 44 of the 55 West Virginia counties through the county Extension offices.
The advanced training or certification program continues in its second year as part of the WVEMG Association's annual conference.
The state-wide membership has increased for estimated 200 new members statewide bringing the total number of active MG members to 1,400. In 2015 we added 235 new MG Trainees; they have completed the training and have 2016 to complete their volunteer requirements to become certified Extension Master Gardeners. Reported volunteer numbers for 2015 were received from 21 counties. West Virginia Extension Master Gardeners contributed 26,796 hours in 440 projects. The total economic contribution of WVUE Master Gardener Program was $618,184 to West Virginia’s economy.
Members of the Greenbrier Master Gardener Association have assumed a leadership role in the development and maintenance of demonstration garden at the West Virginia State Fair in Fairlea, West Virginia. Every August, Master Gardeners from around the state travel to the fairgrounds to volunteer in the garden and provide on-site assistance by providing tours showing the displays and answering questions during the West Virginia State Fair.
Master Gardener presence during the 2015 State Fair was a great success. Newly completed cement garden path was accessible to the handicapped and families with the small children and children in strollers. That addition that started in 2014 and was completed in 2015, has been a huge success based on many touching comments received by people that were able to get into the garden thanks to the implemented garden improvements. Over a ten-day period we had a constant flow of people averaging at 20-25 per hour with significantly higher numbers during the weekend.
In 2007, the West Virginia University Building was dedicated at the fairgrounds. This building, adjacent to the gardens, provides a perfect site for exhibits, demonstrations and classes by WVU Extension Service faculty and volunteers. Both the new garden and WVU building are very active during the W.Va. State Fair.