At the NC Extension Master Gardener Conference held at the DoubleTree Biltmore Hotel, in Asheville, on Wednesday, May 23 the Cabarrus Master Gardener Volunteers were tapped as 2st place winners in the Youth Programs Category of the Search for Excellence Awards according to Mitch Hagler, Cabarrus MGV representative who accepted the award on behalf of their association.
Mitch said this prestigious honor was bestowed on the Cabarrus Master Gardener Volunteers for their combined efforts teaching 6th graders. Each year during the Cabarrus County Fair in early September, thousands of sixth graders get an educational experience that might last a lifetime. They participate in the Agribusiness Day event at the Cabarrus Arena and visit informational stations set up by volunteers of the Cabarrus County Master Gardeners Volunteer Association to learn about planting plants, identifying plants, using recycled materials to build a bird feeder, what materials go into composting and why this is so important to the environment and to the economy.
The Master Gardeners Association has been inviting students to participate for the past six years. Students get hands-on instruction at each of these stations and have plenty of time to get their questions answered.
Master Gardeners use a show-tell-and do format. They show students how to plant a plant and explain how to keep it alive after they take it home and then they let each student plant a pansy in a biodegradable pot. They also teach students to identify—by touching and tasting— a variety of fruits and vegetables that they may be unfamiliar with. At another station students learn how to use recycled materials to make a bird feeder and the importance of recycling to the environment and to the economy. At the compost station students see the materials that go into a compost pile and the results of that waste material after it has decomposed.
Master Gardeners support the mission of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension by educating residents about safe, effective, and sustainable gardening practices that grow healthy people, gardens, landscapes and communities. Their vision is a healthier world through environmental stewardship.
The Cabarrus County Master Gardeners Volunteer Association also sponsors an annual Herb and Plan Festival in mid-April that draws over 5,000 visitors who come to learn about gardening related topics and to purchase plants that grow well in this area.
If you would like more information about the Agribusiness Day event, any other activities of the Master Gardeners or the Cooperative Extension Program, please contact horticultural agent David Goforth at DJGoforth@cabarruscounty.us or call 704/920-3320.