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Friends of the Gardens Program

By December 31, 2023Beet 2024 01 January

Friends of the Gardens Program Description

This program will consist of:

  1. JCMGA Volunteer Coordinator(s)
    1. Act as the contact person between the GEMS and the Friends of the Gardens participants
    2. Vital to have communication between the JCMGA Volunteer Coordinator, the GEMS, and the Friends of the Gardens participants.
    3. The JCMGA Coordinator will check in with the participants to see how everything is going. This will be done after the first month of volunteering, the 3rd month of volunteering and at the end of November.
    4. Will develop a basic checklist for new volunteers including what needs to be completed.
    5. Establish a schedule with the GEMs to the group of volunteers through the Demonstration Gardens each week. The week before a GEM is leading volunteers, check with that GEM to be sure they are still available to lead volunteers.
    6. For incoming volunteers, the coordinator will give them an overview of what volunteering will look like including the day of the week and hours volunteering occurs. Let them know they will need to attend an orientation before they begin volunteering. Orientations will most likely just be 1-2 new volunteers at a time and can be held whenever convenient, they don’t have to be on the main workday.
    7. Will make sure that all required OSU forms – including the Code of Conduct Form – is signed before working in the gardens.
    8. For existing volunteers, email them a weekly reminder of the upcoming volunteer day. Include any specific notes about the day like the weather or a cancellation of the day.
    9. Will record each participant’s volunteer hours
    10. TBD — Grace Florjancic will be acting Volunteer Coordinator until we have one.


  1. MG Program Coordinators Role: the OSU side of paperwork.
  2. The MG Program Coordinator would be responsible for ensuring all Friends of the Gardens have their waivers signed before they begin working in the gardens.
  3. The coordinator will have contact information and emergency contact information for these volunteers.
  4. While establishing the Friends of the Gardens program, Grace is willing to help with coordinating orientation days for the new volunteers, promotion of the program, and working with MGs interested in becoming the Friends of the Gardens coordinator to show ways of keeping organized and scheduling.



  1. GEMs
    1. GEMS would email their volunteers to update them on the Demonstration Garden work that is planned to be done and work reminders.
    2. GEMS would let us know specifically what they would want Friends of the Gardens participants to do.



  1. Friends of the Gardens
    1. Participants will be non-member volunteers who work with GEMS in the Demonstration Gardens.
    2. Friends of the Gardens participants would work on Wednesday’s from 9:00 – 12:00 p.m. with GEMs as they are already working in the gardens that day. Participants could start the first week of April and end the last week of November. An average of 5 Friends of the Gardens volunteers in the garden for 3 hours each week in this time period would equate to an additional 480 hours of volunteering in the gardens.
    3. We feel that participants may want to work in a specific garden – because of individual interests. They would also have the opportunity to move around to other gardens at a later date as long as GEMS involved agree.
    4. Volunteers will check-in and sign out in the office. This way we can keep track of their hours.
    5. To ensure the safety of our volunteers, there should be limits on the tools they have access to. Anything powered like a blower or mower should be handled by a MG.
    6. Anything that needs to be sprayed should be handled by a MG, even if that spray is safe for human contact.
    7. Required to attend an Orientation before working in our Demonstration Gardens.
  • Structure of the day
  • Tool safety
  • Proper gardening attire
  • Importance of being up to date on tetanus shots
  • Check practicum orientation lesson for other items which should be included

Benefits of Program

We see these individuals as ambassadors for JCMGA and SOREC.  They are a way to make us more visible in the community.

In keeping to one segment of volunteering, Demonstration Garden maintenance, would simplify the work in coordinating volunteers, keeping the volunteer group together as a unit to build comradery, and it is what most non-MGs are interested in doing.

One main benefit of having non-MG volunteers in the gardens is that they can start working in the gardens earlier than students can. There are many big-ticket items like leaf removal and pruning that occur in mid spring while the students are still in class. Another benefit is that currently GEMs often have trouble keeping up with the work involved with garden maintenance but with more volunteers it will lighten their workload.


Targeted Audience

Our targeted audience are those individuals who are interested in gardening but not a Master Gardener.

The minimum age will be 10 years old and accompanied by an adult.  All waiver forms would have to be signed by the guardian.

The minimum age for someone to volunteer without a parent/guardian is 16 years old.  Guardian would have to sign the waivers.

No maximum age limit.  Volunteers will supervise their needs – such as drinking water, taking breaks, sitting in the shade


More information in the February Garden Beet.