OSU honors 28 Master Gardeners for their volunteer work

Oregon's Master Gardener program has given two Douglas County residents its highest statewide awards this year in recognition of their volunteer work. 

Additionally, program leaders handed out county-level awards to 26 individuals for their service to their communities and the program.

The annual awards are sponsored by the Oregon State University Extension Service's Master Gardener program and the Oregon Master Gardener Association, a nonprofit that supports the program.

The Master Gardener program offers courses on home horticulture in 30 of Oregon's 36 counties as well as online. Graduates, known as Master Gardeners, are then expected to share their new knowledge with others by volunteering to answer questions or teach at Extension offices, farmers markets, workshops and community gardens.

Last year, the more than 4,000 active Master Gardeners in Oregon had 204,000 interactions with the public, said Gail Langellotto, who heads the program. Their 181,000 hours of volunteer service were the equivalent of 87 full-time staff, she added. Master Gardeners also gave food banks more than 10,000 pounds of fresh produce harvested from community and demonstration gardens that they manage, she said.