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Anoka County Master Gardeners document impact of their education efforts

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Master Gardener

In 2010, University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners in Anoka County wanted to have a more definitive picture of how much their classes and services affect changes in garden practices by people attending their educational sessions. They conducted an electronic survey of people attending their horticulture day, "Walk in the Garden" classes and diagnostic clinics.

The educational sessions that were evaluated all provided information and recommendations about best practices in home garden and landscape care. There were special themes about environmental impacts that encouraged reduction of water use and reduced chemical usage through practices of integrated pest management (IPM).

An E-survey was sent to 176 individuals. The response rate was 45 percent. Assessment of the survey results showed the following positive impacts:

  • 11% completed a soil test
  • 19% started composting
  • 20% reduced watering from the prior year
  • 26% reduced overhead watering
  • 27% reduced late afternoon/evening watering
  • 21% installed a rain barrel
  • 24% used less pesticides
  • 22% used less fertilizer
  • 40% planted more vegetables than in the previous year
  • 17% removed invasive/noxious weeds from their property
  • 24% changed practices of how they cared for trees
The results of this survey demonstrate that the educational effort of University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener volunteers makes an impact.

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