In every Florida county, community members turn to their local UF/IFAS Extension office for year-round assistance in gardening, youth programming, home management and other needs.
But behind many of these program areas are robust networks of volunteers who offer their time and expertise as 4-H leaders and Master Gardeners. In Levy County, volunteers play an essential role in fulfilling our commitment to the community, and we recognize their service during Volunteer Appreciation Week, April 16-22.
“The hands-on expertise that is so critical to Extension work would be limited without the partnership of local volunteers,” Andra Johnson, dean of UF/IFAS Extension and director of the Florida Cooperative Extension Service, said. “I also applaud the commitment they make to gaining knowledge and sharing it. These are lifelong learners, and they invest that expertise right back into their community.”
“Without our amazing 4-H volunteers, we would not be able to accomplish what we do daily with such a large reach,” Jessica Emerson, 4-H agent at UF/IFAS Extension Levy County, said. “These volunteers dedicate many hours each month to planning and delivering positive youth development within our community through 4-H clubs, programs and activities.”
“Our volunteers are especially hungry for knowledge and growth opportunities that will allow them to continue offering high-end programming to Levy County’s youth,” Emerson said. “I am very grateful for these individuals and look forward to what they will be able to accomplish this next year!”
“Nature Coast Master Gardeners (NCMG), representing Dixie, Gilchrist and Levy counties are specially trained volunteers who utilize UF/IFAS research to address local concerns,” Barbara L. Edmonds, Horticulture P.A., UF/IFAS Extension Levy County, said. “NCMG’s provide a needed service in our rural area, enabling Extension to significantly increase outreach without additional costs.”
“As non-paid volunteers, NCMG’s have self-reported more than 31,200 service hours, since the 2007 inaugural class,” Edmonds said. “They meet with residents, assist with UF research, table Extension booth at festivals, serve as class assistants, work as off-site garden assistant, perform committee work, manage Extension gardens, write articles, conduct youth programs, and much more. I appreciate each NCMG for who they are and thank them for their commitment to keeping current on research, sharing lived life experience, skill and education to help Florida residents.”
Those interested in becoming a volunteer in Levy County may contact the UF/IFAS Extension office at 352-486-5131.