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Re: Need some advice

> is...how do I convince the Steering  Committee
> of our County Master Gardener Program that this
> would be something worthwhile for us to commit

You don't. The MGs shouldn't 'commit' to such a program.  The commitment
should be that of the church members.  The motto of the MGs is "Helping Others
Grow" - not doing it for them.  This is how I would go about it:

When you say "for US to commit to", I assume that means you are a MG yourself.
 MGs are more inclined toward giving their time to a fellow MGs pet project,
so you are ahead of the game.  Gather a few other MGs you know and a core
group of parishoners and hash out a basic plan of what you'd like to
accomplish.  You take this to the CES Hort Ed, agent, whatever he/she is
called there, and ask for assistance.  Know what type of aid you are asking
for.  Do you need someone to draw up the landscape plan?  do you need someone
to instruct parishoners on how to plant?  Do you want a workshop to show
members the basics?
Do you want a series of lectures for your maintenance group on how to properly
maintain the gardens?

One of our MGs grows all the plants for her church grounds and groups of
parishoners sign up to tend certain sections.  she's been doing this for years
and it looks fantastic.  There's always some church volunteer who doesn't keep
his/her section maintained as well as the others, but I suppose they find a
way to deal with it.

Another church here received assistance form our MGs and Tree Stewards by way
of instructing them how to plant a lot of new trees for their grounds.  They
helped plant the first couple, explaining all the nuances, but then the
parishoners were on their own.  They can always call and ask questions, but we
don't do the whole job for them.

Some of the elderly that would benefit from your project and are still able to
get around might very well be thrilled to be included in the project.  The
elementary students could also be enticed to contribute.

> like a project that would qualify for Master
> Gardener volunteer hours

Any assistance described above from MGs should definitely be considered for
volunteers hours.  They would be here.  Also, each of these types of aid would
be short term, so you'd be more likely to find MGs willing to give a single
lecture or help with a workshop, than to promise ongoing commitment.


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