From time to time, I hear about Tulsa County Master Gardeners. Can you inform me about what they do and how to join that organization? Rhonda B., Tulsa
Even though the Tulsa County Master Gardeners have been around since 1983, many in the community are not familiar with our organization, mission and activities. Numbering just more than 400, these Master Gardeners are volunteer educators trained by Oklahoma State University whose mission is to provide OSU Extension research-based horticultural information to local home gardeners and the community.
Education is our primary mission. As such, you will find us around town at various venues, such as the HBA Spring Home & Garden Show, in K-5 classrooms and in senior living centers. As an example of our outreach, in 2018, we were in 87 different schools and 754 classrooms teaching a variety of science-based classes to almost 18,000 elementary school students throughout Tulsa County. Additionally, each year we host an Insect Adventure on the fairgrounds for more than 1,000 elementary school students, helping them gain a respect for the wonderful variety of insects with which we share this planet and the many benefits they provide. On the other end of the age spectrum, we were also in 30 assisted living centers interacting with about 400 seniors to provide a little horticultural therapy, which brightens their day, as well as ours.
Another way we fulfill that mission is by staffing a Horticultural Diagnostic Center at the Tulsa County OSU Extension office from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday. Here, you can find Master Gardeners on hand to answer your questions via phone, email or in person. And while there, located just outside, you will find our beautiful Master Gardener maintained Demonstration Instructional Garden (DIG) containing more than 200 annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees.
We also teach a variety of classes in the spring and fall called the “Lunch and Learn” series at the Central Library downtown, as well as yearly Urban Gardener classes at the Extension Office that include topics such as plant biology, soil chemistry, growing fruits and vegetables, lawn care, trees and shrubs, flowers and container gardening.
Other activities include providing educational booths at various festivals around town or, in May, you may have visited one of our homes on the Master Gardener Garden Tour. Partnering with Habitat for Humanity, we make sure these new homeowners don’t just get a house but also a beautifully landscaped yard. In an effort to help beautify Tulsa, the Master Gardeners spend hours planting and maintaining beautiful flowers in planters along Brookside and in the Blue Dome district.
So now that you know what a Tulsa Master Gardener does, are you interested in becoming one yourself? At 1 p.m. Aug. 7 and 10 a.m. Aug. 14, you may attend a presentation at the OSU Extension Office (4116 E. 15th St.) where you can learn about the requirements to become a Tulsa Master Gardener and fill out an application. This enrollment only occurs once a year, so if you have an interest, be sure to attend one of these presentations.
For answers to all your gardening questions, call the Tulsa Master Gardeners Help Line at 918-746-3701, drop by our Diagnostic Center at 4116 E. 15th St., or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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