January 2011
Featured Articles

Junior Master Gardener Program Pays Off for Cullman Co. Groups

Congratulations to the JMG groups of Cullman County for being the January JMG group of the month. During the 2009-10 school year, Cynthia Tubbs, Master Gardener and 4-H volunteer, led a group of Master Gardeners into seven classrooms. These Master Gardeners go into each of these seven classrooms once a week and work with the young people using the JMG curriculum. These groups are spread out over three schools: Vinemont Middle School, Vinemont Elementary School and the Cullman County Child Development Center.

 

George the scarecrow and four of the JMG participants.

In January 2010, the Cullman County JMG groups received mini-grants from the Alabama 4-H foundation and Bonnie Plants, Inc. Three grants were awarded, one to each school participating in the JMG program. Vinemont Elementary School has five third grade classes with 92 youth who participate in the JMG program. Funds from the mini-grant went to purchase supplies for the many activities the young people participated in.

"This was a huge task to have five classes participate," Cynthia Tubbs said. "But it all paid off when all 92 youth became certified Junior Master Gardeners."

The classes at Vinemont Elementary School maintained the Junior Master Gardener Flower Garden for their Leadership Service Learning project for the year.

Vinemont Middle School put their mini-grant funds toward building a strong program for the future. Ms. Tubbs purchased the Level 2 teaching guides to begin teaching these young people at a higher level. The Level 2 JMG curriculum is a much more detailed curriculum with a strong science emphasis while still integrating it across all subject matter taught at the middle school level. Vinemont Middle School has two sixth grade classes that participate in the program with a total of 34 students. The young people began planning out the activities they wanted to participate in and followed through with many of them. The service learning and leadership project the young people chose was to evaluate a site to landscape for a pocket park and list the steps needed to make the park a reality.

 

Cynthia Tubbs, Master Gardener and JMG leader, with student hoeing the garden.

 

Cynthia Tubbs (right) and Holly Hirshbrunner are both Master Gardeners. Holly is one of the many Master Gardeners who are helping Cynthia.

 

The final school the Cullman County Master Gardeners work with is the Cullman County Child Development Center. The mini-grant funding was split between three classes with a total of 18 students with disabilities. The students meet once a week and participate in the Level 1 JMG program. These students have various disabilities including being in wheelchairs, blindness and some have severe learning disabilities. The mini-grant funds were used to purchase materials and supplies to perform the Level 1 activities. Ms. Tubbs mentioned, even though these are older students, the Level 1 curriculum allows students with disabilities to learn at their own pace. The students completed their Leadership Service Learning Project by planting flowers at the Center’s sign.

Each year the JMG program in Cullman County continues to grow. The 2010-11 school year will not be any different. Along with groups from Vinemont Elementary, Vinemont Middle and the Child Development Center, Ms. Tubbs has been asked to take on more students at Child Development Center, Garden City Elementary School and high school students at the Career Center. Thank you to Ms. Tubbs and her army of Master Gardener Volunteers for all they do in Cullman County.

Luci Davis is the State Junior Master Gardener Coordinator. For more information on the program, phone (334) 703-7509.