URI Master Gardener Program

Cooperative Extension

2018 URI Master Gardener Impact Report

The Master Gardener Program creates a more informed public, enabling people to be better stewards of their private property for the benefit of human health and environmental quality. This program reached over 30,000 individuals in 2017 with science-based information and resources, disseminated by  614 trained volunteer educators who contributed 47,452 service hours ($1,153,995 value). 
The 2017 year-end survey of Master Gardener Program clients indicated knowledge gain, attitude and behavior change among the 431 respondents (17% response rate). 89% of clients indicated that they learned something new from their interaction with URI Master Gardeners. This year, we were most successful in encouraging people to reduce the amount of harmful pesticides applied in residential garden settings by adopting the steps of Integrated Pest Management. The top three behaviors that were newly adopted or increased included: 
  1. Seeking research-based (university/extension) answers to gardening questions (47%)
  2. Identifying plant problems before taking action (44%)
  3. Using alternative to pesticides whenever possible (32%)

Client Surveys

  • “I yielded better crops this year. I sowed different veggies this year. I hope to use my compost pile this spring. I hope to have my soil tested again, follow through with the master gardeners recommendations.”
  • “Learned more about value of rain gardens in protecting clean bay water, more about drought tolerant harbor grasses, designs of soft structures in protecting water line, and more.”
  • “The URI Master Gardeners Hotline is my go-to source for gardening issues. They have always been very helpful and thorough in answering my questions and providing excellent information and additional resources. As a result of going to the soil testing at Roger Williams Park, I began using lime on my lawn and found a significant improvement. I was very pleased with their assistance and again additional information.”
  • “I bought poinsettia plants from East Farm that are still thriving. I got information about how to winter over a large Rosemary plant.”
  • “Made me feel like part of a community that works toward a positive future goal. It gets me outside connecting with others. It motivates me to want to do more in my garden.”
  • “I attended a very informative lecture about the gypsy moth and other insect pests.”
  • “I learned about your free seed program last year, and ordered seeds for my church garden. The seeds helped us grow more plants on a small budget. Since then, I’ve signed up for your newsletters and really appreciate the information in them.”
  • “I had my soil tested in the fall and have started to follow suggestions. By doing so I was able to speak with other volunteers and staff and this made my decision to apply to the URI Master Gardener Program.”
The testimonials indicated success in meeting our educational and behavior change goals related to the program’s current land stewardship focus area.  

Goal 1: Increased Biodiversity through Pollinator and Habitat Enhancement
  • “Made my yard & garden more friendly to bees & butterflies, provides pollinators for veggies.”
  • “I learned more about native plants, beneficials, invasive plant removal guides, etc.”
  • “I was able to send photos of plants in my backyard and they helped me identify native, non native and invasive plants and between garden plants and weeds.”
Goal 2: Improved Soil Health and Composting
  • “I needed a soil test which was performed immediately in my presence. Results answered a lot of questions and gave me ideas. Well done.”
  • “I had a really informative, enjoyable conversation with the master gardener when I had my soil tested. I definitely want to use more URI resources and gain more knowledge. Thank you!”
  • “I learned more about composting and uses of biochar.”
Goal 3: Reduce pesticide use / adoption of Integrated Pest Management
  • “I sent photos of a vine that I feared was poison ivy. The master gardener helped me determine that it was unlikely to be poison ivy. He sent me a link to a guide showing rather subtle differences between my vine and the poisonous one. This gave me confidence to carefully dispose of it myself, rather than using Roundup.”
  • “Right place, right plant.”
  • “The Master gardener researched and identified an uncommon weed taking over my lawn.  He was persistent, professional, and helped me solve my lawn problem.  We communicated by phone and by e-mail.  What a great service the Master Gardener Program is!”
Goal 4: Water Quality Improvement
  • “Learned more about value of rain gardens in protecting clean bay water, more about drought tolerant harbor grasses, designs of soft structures in protecting water line, and more”
Goal 5: Serving as research-based resource
  • “I work for a school where we get seeds each year to educate our campus community and work with student groups to help get the word out. A student of mine and I also attended one of the growing seminars when we came to grab our seeds. We have also visited the gardens and greenhouses a few times throughout the year and have enjoyed our interactions and being able to ask questions.”
Think Big We Do

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