What it means to be a Master Gardener
As horticulturally trained volunteers, Master Gardeners extend research-based information through demonstration and educational programs using horticulture best practices, strengthening communities and families throughout Arkansas.
Master Gardeners serve their community by answering questions, researching specific problems, planting educational and therapeutic gardens, providing public speakers, and much more.
What are the benefits?
It is often said that the Master Gardener Program is more than "just a horticulture class." It is. It's much more. As a Master Gardener, you are afforded many of the resources of the University of Arkansas. Master Gardener programs exist in every state in the US and six Canadian provinces. It is estimated that over 60,000 volunteers contribute hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours.
Photo by Pat Robbins, Master Gardener and member of The Learning Fields at Chaffee Crossing
River Valley Master Gardener Mary Watts, the chairperson of the Miss Laura's Visitor Center Sanctioned Project, tends the pansy bed.
The Officers' Garden at the Fort Smith National Historic site is another Sanctioned Project of the River Valley Master Gardeners.
"The Arkansas Master Gardener program is one of the strongest volunteer programs in Arkansas. People of all ages and backgrounds, both men and women, come together with one thing in common — a love of gardening. This connection quickly unites them into a force to be reckoned with — and the results are pretty amazing."
Janet B. Carson, an extension horticulture specialist for the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service described the program in 2018, the 30th anniversary of the Arkansas Master Gardener Program.