Kaufman County Master Gardeners met on the evening of December 4 in Forney for 2017’s last meeting, which traditionally is a celebration of the past year’s accomplishments. Over 70 Master Gardeners and their guests attended. Also attending were Judge Bruce Wood, Commissioners Jakie Allen, Terry Barber and wife Kalena, Mike Hunt and wife Alison and Skeet Phillips and wife Leah, County Treasurer Ronnie Oldfield and County Clerk Laura Hughes. Judge Bobby Rich offered the invocation.
After a delicious meal catered by 4-T’s Bar-B-Q and Catering of Forney, County Extension Agent Ralph Davis introduced Master Gardener Dianne Kaufman, who shared our organization’s objectives, some of our history and an overview of 2017’s educational programs and projects. She was followed by Master Gardeners Sandra Stahlman and Lisa Nalls, the co-leaders of the Garden Learning Center project, which has been the organization’s primary demonstration garden. They briefly shared what the garden has been, how the vision for it has changed, what the new plans for it are and what progress has been made.
Eighteen people from the Intern class of 2016 became certified Master Gardeners, having completed at least 50 hours of volunteer service in 2017. Fifty hours per person equals 900 hours, but these dedicated new Master Gardeners actually contributed over 2,750 hours in 2017. The eighteen new interns who completed training this year will have a year to complete their 50 hours of service. With the example of the class of 2016, who knows what they will accomplish.
In 2017, the Kaufman County Master Gardener Association as a whole contributed 6,318.55 total volunteer hours. At the rate of $24.15per hour set by the Texas Comptroller as the value of volunteer time, the group’s volunteer efforts are valued at $152,592.98.
Other awards given were for 10 years of service (Master Gardeners Mary Dean and Michele Reeves), 5 years of service (Master Gardener Dianne Kaufman) and over 100 hours of service in the past year. Twenty three Master Gardeners received this award. Officers for 2018 were also installed. They are Duddly Hargrove, President; Robert Yowell, President-Elect; Jim Burt, Treasurer, Johnnie Hargrove, Secretary and Dianne Kaufman, Educational Enrichment Coordinator.