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Episode 104: An MGV's Perspective

The Master Gardener Volunteer Program is a nationwide educational program, and in New York State, consists of a corps of volunteers who are trained by Cornell Cooperative Extension in the science and art of gardening. Master Gardener Volunteers are volunteers from the community who enjoy gardening and use their horticultural skills and expertise to educate others. In return for their training, Master Gardener Volunteers donate their time teaching the community about their gardening and the environment. Master Gardener Volunteer activities might include offering lectures and workshops at libraries, schools and in the community, answering horticultural inquiries, creating and staffing horticultural booths at shows and fairs, providing advice to the public at farmer’s markets, garden centers and other venues, and Increasing awareness of integrated pest management, water quality and conservation and other environmental issues. Being a Master Gardener Volunteer is both a rewarding and gratifying experience. Master Gardeners add beauty and knowledge to the many lives they touch.

In this episode, Rosemary Armao joins the Nature Calls: Conversations from the Hudson Valley podcast with a perspective on the Master Gardener Volunteer program. As a recent graduate of the training process in Albany County, she provides a candid discussion about the training process as well as what she’s learned being a Master Gardener.

Rosemary Armao, a native of Albany, is an adjunct professor of journalism at UAlbany. She has worked as a reporter and editor at various wire services and newspapers. She has trained journalists and worked on media development projects throughout Eastern Europe and Africa. She is also a former executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors and former president of the Journalism and Women Symposium. She also has her own podcast, Armao on the Brink, which is focused on a discussion of the biggest stories across the globe that are bring society and culture to the brink of an abyss.

As a relatively new Master Gardener, her MGV perspective might be of interest to anyone considering becoming one. She talks about the rigors and rewards of the program during the training as well as ‘post-graduation’. Because she took the classes during the pandemic, the process was modified due to the inability to meet in person during that time period.

She discusses some of the key things she learned as a result of the training which includes leveraging the experience of other gardeners, learning from web sites of land grant universities, reading seed catalogues, and the value of hands-on experience. Rosemary helps to demystify the process of becoming an MGV and as well as what’s involved with volunteering with Cornell Cooperative Extension.

If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener Volunteer, contact your local Cornell Cooperative Extension to ask about the schedule for training classes in your county.

Hosts: Jean Thomas and Teresa Golden

Guest: Rosemary Armao

Photo by:

Production Support: Linda Aydlett, Deven Connelly, Teresa Golden, Xandra Powers and Annie Scibienski



Xandra Powers
Community Horticulture Coordinator
518-828-3346 x106

Last updated January 17, 2024