FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FEBRUARY 6, 2020

Junior Master Gardener National Leader Training Celebrates 20 Years

COLLEGE STATION, TX - The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Junior Master Gardener program will celebrate its 20-year anniversary during the National Leader Training Program in College Station Feb. 24-26. The two and a half-day training will be held at the Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center, 177 Joe Routt Blvd.

The program is designed to equip attendees to effectively teach Junior Master Gardener classes and groups through garden-based learning projects and empower leaders to host workshops for other teachers and leaders in the community. Participants will also learn how to integrate and align lessons and gardening with academic standards. Continuing professional education hours will be available through the Texas Education Agency. 

To register for the conference, visit 2020 JMG National Leader Training AgriLife Register. The cost is $420 until Feb. 9, and late registration will be $480. Conference registration includes meals, snacks, materials and supplies, and access to JMG lessons and training resources.

This year’s conference will have dynamic keynote speakers and concurrent sessions featuring tracks of Junior Master Gardener Garden-based Curricula, Effective Program Implementation and Leadership in Growing and Sustaining Your JMG Program.

Participants will be able to choose the sessions they would like to attend. 

“This is the first year we will be having concurrent sessions, so we will have speakers coming from all over the U.S.,” said Lisa Whittlesey, AgriLife Extension program specialist and International Junior Master Gardener program coordinator.

During the conference, two local youth groups will be awarded their JMG Certificates for completing Learn, Grow, Eat & Go. Their demonstration gardens will be on display within the Leach Teaching Gardens, and they will also provide tours of the gardens. 

Also, the first Junior Master Gardener class leader and past president for Texas’ Master Gardeners, Marva Beck, will be giving a presentation to celebrate the anniversary.

“The JMG National Leader training has proved to be a valuable tool for teachers and volunteers that allows them to jump-start implementation of successful JMG community programs,” Whittlesey said. “We believe in ‘learning by doing,’ and the conference is set up as an interactive experience for educators to model and use the garden to educate, inspire, and reach children. We love seeing attendees learn and share with each other.”

The conference will offer tours of the Leach Teaching Gardens and discussions on innovative efforts to connect agriculture, nutrition, Extension and research by Susan Ballabina, Ph.D., deputy vice chancellor of Texas A&M AgriLife, and Jeff Hyde, Ph.D., director of AgriLife Extension.  

Participants will learn how to: 

  • Utilize all curricula resources, breakout sessions.
  • Implement best practices, project-based learning, managing students/groups.
  • Access group/class registration, recognition – and certification options.
  • Involve local county AgriLife Extension agents, volunteers and parents in your programming.
  • Reach into schools, after school programs and clubs.
  • Prepare/lead JMG teacher training workshop events.
  • Generate funding to support programs.
  • Build sustainability through community collaborations and partnerships.
  • Utilize program resources, marketing materials.
  • Develop custom implementation plans.

As part of the 20th-anniversary celebration, an endowment fund in partnership with the Texas A&M Foundation has been launched to start a program excellence endowment for the Junior Master Gardener program. Funds raised will begin building the endowment, and the interest from the endowment will support the training and development of resources to support program growth and local implementation. Visit the website to read more on how to give to JMG

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Contact: Laura Muntean

Laura.muntean@ag.tamu.edu