NMSU Master Gardener Program names New State Coordinator

Kelly White’s love of gardening and her skills as a program coordinator and teacher are being called upon in her new role with the New Mexico Master Gardener program.

White joined New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service in November as the statewide coordinator of the 15-county Master Gardener programs. She will assist county agricultural agents in providing uniform curriculum to the volunteer Master Gardeners.

Master Gardeners help the county agricultural agent to meet the high demand for urban horticulture and gardening advice.

“In 1995, I took the Master Gardener training and served as a volunteer in Bernalillo County for six years,” White said. “It was personally gratifying to learn the scientific aspect of horticulture, and then work with people who loved their plants, but didn’t know why there were health issues with the plants.”

White has a wide array of professional experience from being a high school teacher to coordinating a train-the-trainer program for an international non-profit organization. She will draw on her knowledge of designing curriculum to standardize the Master Gardener training.

“Each county’s Master Gardener program has different training and volunteering requirements,” said Natalie Goldberg, Extension Plant Science department head, who oversees the program. “Kelly has been given the task of developing consistency across the state.”

“There are wonderful Master Gardener programs in the individual counties and they are all a little different,” said White. “Standardizing the requirements will allow a person moving from one county to another to be able to continue their volunteering without the need for additional training.”

Besides providing horticulture advice through a hotline telephone service, each county Master Gardener program has service projects they do in their communities.

“The local groups are doing some very exciting projects,” said White. “I want to establish a way the individual groups can share their project ideas with other counties.”

Author:   Jane Moorman – NMSU