Master Gardener – 2004 – 2014
Bunny Williams, a Dallas County Master Gardener (DCMG) for 10 years, has an impressive volunteer record of 11,058 hours. Asked to serve on Dallas County Master Gardener Association, Inc. (DCMGA) Board in her first year as a Certified Master Gardener, she declined but was called to service as an Alternate Director to TMGA and would later serve as a Director to TMGA. In 2007, she was asked to serve on the Board and served as President for 2.5 years, working with 436 Master Gardeners in 2010.
With her gardening heritage, she concentrated on vegetables, roses and canned many of the vegetables. A debilitating illness in 1995 brought her into contact with a doctor and nutritionist that encouraged her to grow herbs for culinary, aroma therapy and medicinal reasons. Learning the distinctive character of many herbs plus the therapeutic use of these herbs, her gardening knowledge began to expand. Her culinary skills changed dramatically as she infused herbs into recipes. In 2004 she applied to the Master Gardener School. Bunny has always credited going through the MG program with reinvigorating her life. Working with speakers and others, her interest and knowledge continued to grow. Currently, she is expanding her horticultural knowledge by going through Flower Show Judging School and working with other non-profit groups.
Bunny’s proud to have contributed to improving the Master Gardener program and enhancing the MG volunteer experience. She always gives credit to those who’ve done the work, not seeking it for herself. She says that no one MG is responsible for all of the good results done in our name; it’s the successful collaboration between MGs. This collaborative effort is demonstrated between MGs and between the strong community partnerships that the MG program builds as a volunteer arm of Extension.
She is credited with the resurgence of the Speakers Bureau by increasing annual talks from 37 to 260+ (2004 through 2007). At the beginning of her Intern year work with Speakers Bureau ignited Bunny’s enthusiasm. Development of a 5 year business plan for Speakers Bureau was drawn by communicating directly with speakers, the public and Extension. This would determine where their best efforts would produce best results. Thanks to tremendous efforts made by speakers through continuing input, program development grew dramatically. Spring 2005, training for Speakers Bureau was introduced and continues today, bringing new generations of speakers into the program. She was the major contributor for TMGA Educational Award for Speakers Bureau, 1st place: 2007. Speakers Bureau has creative speakers using research based information to present innovative programs.
When asked which “dirt” project she favored, it was difficult to favor one over another because they all have so much to commend them. With her husband’s death in 2008 memorial donations from MGs and family were put into a DCMGA fund. After a couple of years a project appeared that would be a wonderful home for Ed’s memory. This would be at Texas Discovery Gardens in the Master Gardeners Garden where a large architectural butterfly bench was commissioned. The joy that this bench and other benches donated by fellow MGs has given visitors is phenomenal. It’s now a favorite place for all ages to be photographed.
When asked about her contributions, she says they are all intertwined with the work of fellow MGs. It’s been said that she’s given structure to the MG program, but it was always about understanding clearly how things work. Serving on DCMGA Board, she continued work for Speakers Bureau and helped develop/expand positions to enhance DCMG efforts, including:
- Developing brochures for speakers, for Community Projects and DCMGs;
- Securing donations for original and newer replacement computer/projector equipment for speakers;
- Moving speakers to digital presentation formats;
- Defining Community Projects as sustainable long term projects;
- Introducing Leadership Manual (containing job descriptions & positions/functions for DCMG program): 2008;
- Developing weekly digital Volunteer Opportunities;
- Writing Standards & Practices for DCMGA and for DCMGs;
- Developing Board Organizational and Association Organization Charts;
- Introducing Strategic Planning with Board and CEA: 2009; Long Range Planning with Board and CEA: 2010
Her reasons for being in Master Gardeners didn’t include seeking personal recognition. Getting to know wonderful Master Gardeners in the state is the best reward! Attracted by the powerful bond between fellow Master Gardeners, she volunteered to mentor Interns and serve on Hospitality Committee. Master Gardener friendships and support continue to be important and meaningful.
Awards & Recognition Received – earned all-volunteer hours pin levels currently available:
- Intern of the Year: 2005
- DCMGA Volunteer of the Year: 2006
- TMGA Volunteer of Year, 2nd place: 2006
- Gold Star (100+ hours per year): Since inception
- Shooting Star for Exemplary Service: 2013
- “Dirty Dozen”, top twelve MGs yearly: Since inception
- Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service recognition for reaching 5,000 volunteer hours: 2009
- The President’s Call to Service Award: 2009 & 2013 (National)
Positions at county and state level:
- Speakers Bureau, Chair: 2006 – 2007
- Hospitality Committee member, from inception: 2006 – 2014
- TMGA Alternate Director: 2006 – 2008; TMGA Director 2009 – 2010
- Speakers Bureau Advisor: 2007 – 2014
- DCMGA Board, Vice President – Projects: 2007
- DCMGA Board, 1st Vice President – Education Outreach: 2008
- DCMGA Board, President: 2008 – 2010
- DCMGA Board, Past President: 2011 – 2014
- DCMGA President, oversaw State Master Gardener Convention: 2010
- Vision Committee, Chair: 2012 – 2014
- TMGA Master Gardener Emerita: 2014