An Evaluative Study of the Delaware Master Gardener Volunteer Program
Simmer, Laurie Smith
University of Delaware
The concept of a Master Gardener Program originated in Washington State in 1972; today Cooperative Extension supports sister programs in nearly every state. Since the inception of Delaware's Master Gardener Program in the spring of 1986, it has not been evaluated. Master Gardener Programs exist in each of the three counties of Delaware. One of the program's aims is to help fellow Delawareans obtain practical and valuable gardening information through Delaware Cooperative Extension. The primary purpose of this research was to identify the beneficiaries of Delaware's Master Gardener Program and the extent to which the provided information was useful, accurate, and timely. The primary source of information collected for this research endeavor was compiled from the data gathered by the distribution of survey instruments to two specific populations of Delaware Gardeners. Delaware's Gardening Public completed self-administered surveys at Delaware garden centers and nurseries, which allowed the researcher to gather their input. A second population, known users of programs and services provided by trained Delaware Master Gardener Volunteers, completed survey instruments sent to their residences. The combination of responses yielded demographic information as well as data regarding gardeners' use of specific sources of information and gardening characteristics useful to complete this program evaluation. Gathered data are intended to strengthen programming and extend outreach through the Delaware Master Gardener Volunteer Program to Delaware's Gardening Public.
Master gardener program , Delaware , Volunteer management , Cooperative extension , Outreach