"Our mission is to educate the public on gardening and gardening techniques," said Dave Rusk, president of the Hall County Master Gardeners.
"We sponsor events, which are not only to educate the public but to raise money so we can give back to the community and the various projects."
Just this year alone the Master Gardeners have worked on projects at the library, the senior center and an educational garden at the Hall County Board of Education
.They have also expanded the Junior Master Gardeners program into elementary schools across Hall County.Rusk
said there are about 150 members in the Hall County Master Gardeners
."In fact, last year we had the most volunteer hours of any group in the state, over 16,000 volunteer hours," he
So how exactly do you become a Master Gardener?
"To become a Master Gardener there is a 50-hour course that a person must take," Rusk
"The first year, 25 of which will be at the extension office helping answer the phones and so forth," Rusk
"The four we're having have not spoken at other symposiums; we hope it's new information," Rusk
As president of the Hall County Master Gardeners
, it's Rusk's job to get the community involved with horticulture - but he
didn't always know that's what the organization was about.
"I have always been fascinated with gardening since I was a kid and actually majored in agriculture," he
said."When I heard about the Master Gardener program I didn't know what it was.I didn't know it was a volunteer organization.Once I got into it I realized it was a community volunteer organization; I got caught up in that and have been vice president and president."Rusk became a Master Gardener in 2003 and has been an important part of the group ever since.
And while he
home garden isn't the most beautiful specimen, he's
proud of his
"Mine is not a pretty garden, but it has a lot of plants," he