BELL COUNTY RECEIVES TEXAS MASTER GARDENER ASSOCIATION AWARDS
The Bell County Master Gardener Association received a 2016 First Place Award as the Outstanding Master Gardener Association from the Texas Master Gardener Association during the State Conference awards luncheon at Galveston on May 1st. The award was given in the large county category which is made up of associations with 100-199 dues paying certified Master Gardeners
The Outstanding Association award recognized Bell County Master Gardeners’ many contributions to the community, reflected in large part by the 11,813 service hours performed by its 142 active members in 2016. These hours, at the Department of Labor rate of $25.11 per volunteer hour in Texas, returned to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service $296,624.43 in manpower hours. The association was also recognized for it 5,513 contacts with Bell County citizens through its outreach programs and projects.
Additionally, Bell County received First Place recognition in the State Association’s Projects category for its involvement with the Fort Hood Community Gardens. These two gardens, both on-base, were originally designed by Master Gardeners in conjunction with the Fort Hood Community Services Manager and are in the Comanche III and Montague housing communities.
The project was recognized for its contacts with over 935 Fort Hood families who were taught by Master Gardeners to plan, grow and harvest edible vegetables. These vegetables were shared with over 600 families from the Comanche III garden, and over 325 families in Montague Village.
Bell County’s Master Gardeners received a 2nd place award in the Junior Master Gardener/ Youth division from the State Association for a Learn, Grow, Eat, Go program taught in the fall of 2016 as an elective course to St. Mary’s Catholic School 5th graders. The award recognized Bell County for the 30 minute, 3 times weekly classes which were attended by 14 students. The students were taught garden planning, sowing seeds and transplants, irrigation and journaling, as well as how to read, evaluate and prepare new recipes.