Dating all the way back to 1997, the Speaker’s Bureau was organized to answer the need in the community for organizations seeking programs on gardening and related subjects. Programs were put together using slides and scripts and more recently, using electronic PowerPoint presentations.
A variety of organizations, especially Garden Clubs, avail themselves of these programs. Small groups of only a few people and large rooms full of people are accommodated and informed.
Master Gardener Specialists
As part of the statewide effort of the Master Garden, specialist training is offered for Master Gardeners willing to devote their time and make a commitment to training others in specific subjects. Smith County has specialists trained in Composting, Propagation, Entomology, Rainwater Harvesting, Vegetable Gardening and in FireWise and WaterWise techniques. These specialists train other Master Gardeners in their county or nearby counties. They also present their programs as part of the Speaker’s Bureau activity.
Habitat for Humanity
Beginning in March 2001, the involvement with HFH included the design of the landscape for the newly built Habitat houses, with an eye to simple, easy care landscapes for new homeowners with little experience in dealing with their own lawn and other plants. Furthermore the new homeowners were given advice on good care habits to maintain their landscape. This successful relationship lasted for several years.
More recently, the involvement with the Habitat homeowners has involved meeting with small groups of them and answering their lawn and garden questions. Advice on improving what they already have is offered as well.
Tip of the Week
Another initiative that dates back to the formation of the program in Smith County are short essays written on a variety of gardening subjects. These “Tips” are published regularly in not only the Tyler daily newspaper, but in other small town newspapers around the county. They can be viewed on the web at East Texas Gardening.
Each year the new class, as a part of their Master Gardener training, is required to write several tips. Those articles, along with others written by other Master Gardeners make up the long list of topics covered by this project.
There many occasions where Master Gardener material is distributed to the public. These events could be at a special day in the Tyler zoo, at a Garden Club event or at a area school, etc. A team of Master Gardeners prepares a table-top exhibit of information and provides handouts to the interested visitor with the goal to provide information for good gardening practices, information on plants and problem solving in the garden.