The payback of volunteer time required for Master Gardeners finishing the class is set at 40 hours. This equals the hours of training received. The district Extension agent can help you find a volunteer activity that meets your talents and needs.
Use a volunteer timesheet to record hours. Once complete, return the form to the Extension office.
One of the backbones of the Cooperative Extension is the volunteers. These individuals work for years making a difference in the community and so often are not recognized for their efforts. The Tanana District started a new program modeled after the International Master Gardener Awards Program "Search for Excellence". Search for Excellence is a recognition program of MG volunteers throughout the United States and Canada. Its goal is to:
- Thank our volunteer for all their efforts
- Build an awareness of the wonderful things volunteers are doing
- Build recognition for the MG program
- Help new volunteers understand what volunteering means
Volunteer of the year
The awards program has seven categories in which Master Gardeners can demonstrate their outstanding contributions. The categories include: youth programs, demonstration garden, hands-on programs, community service, innovative projects, horticultural therapy and general accomplishments. Annually 7 volunteers in the Tanana District are recognized for their outstanding contributions to their community.
Volunteering in the Fairbanks Area
Master Gardeners are required to complete 40 hours of community service to receive a diploma. You can volunteer anywhere throughout the community doing garden related activities. A couple of the most popular places to volunteer throughout the community are listed below, along with the volunteer application forms. You are welcome to fill out volunteer applications even if you are not enrolled in the Master Gardener program. Click for the Tanana District volunteer application and time sheet.
✿ Denali Center Greenthumb Program
The residents at Denali Center have a weekly Greenthumb gardening group. Residents enjoy planting seeds, transplanting houseplants, arranging flowers and easy gardening projects. They also have indoor planters in which to start bulbs. They are looking for two or three Master Gardeners interested in helping. Volunteers should be able to commit to two hours per week. Denali Center is a residential nursing home facility in Fairbanks. The majority of the population is elderly. Master Gardener volunteers help to design and implement a gardening program for residents. The goal of the program is to work with residents and involve them in planting and caring for plants throughout the growing season. Contact Carol Switzer at 907-458-5107 or Carol.Switzer@bannerhealth.com.
✿ Fairbanks North Star Borough Animal Shelter
Volunteers are needed to help with the FNSB Animal Shelter landscaping project. In the middle of May, volunteers meet to plant and design. In late May, volunteers are needed to plant baskets, boxes and trees. Help is also needed with summer watering. For more information, contact Suzanne Summerville at email@example.com.
✿ Golden Heart Plaza and Riverwalk Gardens
Festival Fairbanks, a nonprofit community service organization, has been the “caretaker” of Golden Heart Plaza and Riverwalk Gardens. Master Gardeners donate one day to planting annuals or pruning and shaping trees and perennial shrubs in the park. Contact Michelle Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
✿ Hospice of the Tanana Valley
Master Gardeners donate plants for the annual plant sale and help with publicity. Proceeds from the sale help pay for programs for families with terminally ill members. Contact Kathy Bond at 907-474-0311.
✿ Walt Babula Children’s Garden at UAF Georgeson Botanical Garden
Establishing the children’s garden will require the talent and energy of many skilled and semi-skilled volunteers. You can help plant seeds and provide general labor at the garden. Call George Wilson at 907-479-0738 or Jan Hanscom at 907-474-6921.
✿ Demonstration Garden and Booth Sitting at Tanana Valley State Fair
Master Gardeners have had extensive volunteer activities at the fairgrounds, including serving as judging superintendents in berries, fruits,vegetables, flowers and grains; display consultants; and grounds beautification. They have also spent hundreds of hours at public information booths. Everyone will be asked to sit one session at the fair booth. Since 1991, gardeners have designed and planted a display vegetable garden, “A Typical Fairbanks Garden,” which is part of an educational display and used for tours at the fair in August. Contact Michele Hébert at email@example.com.
✿ Weeks Field Community Park
Master Gardeners have been instrumental in developing and caring for a botanical park adjacent to the Noel Wien Library. To volunteer, contact Joan Robson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
✿ Annual Master Gardener Tour and Barbecue
More than 50 individuals attend the midsummer Master Gardener educational garden tour. This tour provides the community with a look at the premier gardens of Fairbanks and to see methods that do work. Contact Emily Reiter, president of the Master Gardeners of the Tanana Valley, at 907-479-0803 or email@example.com.
✿ Kids’ After School Gardening Program
Anyone interested in working with children in a gardening class should call Becky Hammer at 907-488-1809 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Kids meet after school Wednesday in April and May from 3:15-4:30 p.m. at Joy Elementary School. About four fun activities are planned per session.
✿ Pioneer Park Gardeners
The Master Gardener Association has established several beds at Pioneer Park, including a historical vegetable garden. Help is needed in planting and caring for the plantings. Contact Emily Reiter, president of the Master Gardeners of the Tanana Valley, at 907-479-0803 or email@example.com.
✿ UAF Georgeson Botanical Garden
Activities include planting seeds, transplanting, maintaining the garden, harvesting vegetables, building a rock wall, working in the gift shop and fund raising. Check out the list of jobs at
http://georgesonbg.org/volunteer/, or contact the volunteer coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 907-474-6921. Click for the GBG volunteer application and description of jobs.
✿ Flower Bed Planting at UAF
Master Gardeners instruct and assist other community members in planting flowers. Planting is the last week in May. Contact Michele Hébert for information at email@example.com or 907-474-2423.
✿ Other Activity Ideas
❒ Assist with plantings at Fairbanks Pioneer’s Home
❒ Write articles for the Master Gardener Update newsletter
❒ Homeowner site visits
❒ Plant flowers at the downtown bus stop
❒ Judge gardens in the 4-H garden tour
❒ Start a 4-H gardening club
❒ Help plan garden activities at a local elementary school