I'm having a hard time wrapping my head
around the idea that the Master Gardener program and 4-H program may go away.
In the proposed County budget the UCCE budget is cut by 36 %. In a small
department, unfortunately, severe cuts result in personnel cuts. The
Master Gardener Coordinator and the 4-H Coordinator positions will be cut to
Both coordinators oversee very active volunteer programs; I will mostly address the Master Gardener program as that is what I am familiar with. Jennifer Baumbach oversees 88 volunteers who help spread research based horticultural information to the community. We fulfill our mission in various ways: newspaper columns, blogs, library lecture series, speaking at garden clubs, hotline, booths at farmer's markets and fairs, community workshops and plant exchanges.
Besides basic how to information on gardening; how to improve your soil or how to grow orchids, we also offer information on several issues important in these troubling times. We've given many talks on Integrated Pest Management or how to get rid of your pest with the least environmental damage, or how to choose drought tolerant plants so we can conserve our precious resources. Lately people have been very interested in information on growing their own food, for both the health and financial benefits.
Requests for speakers and demonstrations are way up.
Which makes it even more sad that our program may be crippled. I doubt the
program can subsist with a half-time coordinator. It just doesn't make sense to
me to get rid of volunteers in these hard times. We've been told that for each
one dollar invested in UCCE five dollars of work is done because of our
extensive use of volunteers.
Please contact your County Supervisor at 675 Texas Street, Suite 6500, Fairfield, CA 94533. If you don't know who your supervisor is, please follow this link to who represents you http://www.solanocounty.com/depts/rov/elected_n_appointed_officials/districtlookup.asp
Please ask them to eliminate personnel cuts at UCCE and save the Master
Karen Metz, Master Gardener