DATE: January 2, 2014
MEDIA CONTACT: Michael Mills
BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – “Who ya gonna call?” In Broward County, the answer appears to be the Parks and Recreation Division’s Extension Education Section, whose Florida Master Gardeners are well known for answering the public’s inquiries. Last year the Master Gardeners joined Extension staff in solving nearly 64,000 resident problems – 57,207 inquiries by email, 5,782 by telephone, and 1,740 walk-ins. They also assisted staff in conducting 436 educational programs for 42,623 residents, bringing the overall total of residents assisted to more than 108,000, a new record.
Another record was set by the Master Gardeners, who donated 36,314 hours of public service over the course of the year. That number was no doubt enhanced by the establishment and use of Master Gardener Public Service Centers at six of our park sites: C.B. Smith Park, Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium, Hillsboro Pineland Natural Area, Plantation Heritage Park, Tradewinds Park & Stables, and T.Y. (Topeekeegee Yugnee) Park. These centers opened in June 2013 to provide volunteer assistance answering inquiries about residential landscaping, integrated pest management, and other topics.
Based on the current private-sector value of volunteer time, which in Florida is $18.85/hour, these Master Gardener efforts are equivalent to $684,519 in value, and represents the work that would have been performed by 17.5 full-time employees. In addition, this work has been achieved with a 95 percent satisfaction rating among users served.
Research-based landscaping and integrated pest management information provided by Master Gardeners resulted in substantial natural resource and monetary savings through reductions in fertilizer, pesticide, and water use. For additional statistics on these savings and other information on the Florida Master Gardener program, call Extension Education at 954-357-5270, or email MasterGardener@Broward.org.
Recreation. Preservation. Education.
Founded in February 1956 and accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies, Broward County Parks and Recreation Division manages almost 6,500 acres, encompassing nearly 50 regional parks and nature centers, neighborhood parks, and natural areas at various stages of development. Facilities include water parks, campgrounds, a target range, a stadium, a skate park, an observatory, mountain bike trails, an educational farm with stables, and a velodrome and other sports facilities. Hours and fees vary by location. For more information, visit Broward.org/Parks.
Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations in order to participate in programs, services, and activities must contact the Special Populations Section at 954-357-8170 or TTY 954-537-2844 at least five (5) business days prior to the scheduled meeting or event.