OUR ASSOCIATION’S HISTORY
1991- It all began in the summer of 1991. A small group of Bedford Area Master Gardener volunteers began meeting monthly.
1992- Officers were elected and Bedford Area Master Gardeners Association (BAMGA) was formally established.
BAMGA follows guidelines established by the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE)/Virginia Tech Master Gardeners Program for the mission of its organization, as well as continuing education of its members (BAMGA offers members a wide range of service opportunities to facilitate accumulation of volunteer and continuing education hours required annually in order to maintain their Master Gardener certification).
BAMGA initiated information booths at the Farmer’s Market and local festivals such as Farm Day, Centerfest, and Sedalia Center functions to provide research or Q&A assistance regarding plant, tree, gardening or related insect problems. New festivals and functions continue to be added or changed as the community grows.
Educational service projects were established at Claytor Nature Center, Wharton Gardens, Poplar Forest and other area facilities. A Greenline “hot line” service function was added at the VCE office, where Master Gardener volunteers research and respond to questions from area citizens regarding plant, tree or gardening related matters. This service is now called “Help Desk”.
The group continued to grow slowly, adding new members who completed the Master Gardener Training Program offered in surrounding cities. In the Fall of 2001, BAMGA organized Bedford’s first Training Program, held at the Bedford County Extension Office. Each year since that time, BAMGA has hosted a Master Gardener Training Program, with each class adding more new Master Gardener Volunteers to the organization.
BAMGA volunteers are very active in the Bedford, VA community. They offer a year-round community Help Desk, educational gardening seminars, plant sales, newsletter, community speakers and more.
2010: BAMGA began offering Master Gardener Training through a unique computer-based, self-paced, independent study format with hands-on labs.
Master Gardener College, offering Continuing Education Units (CEU)-credit hours, is held each Spring at Virginia Tech and has been attended by a number of BAMGA members. Partial and full scholarships are offered by BAMGA, subsidized by profits from the BAMGA-sponsored Spring and Fall Plant Sales (where plants grown from seed or donated from member gardens are offered for sale to the public).
Master Gardener Volunteers of all ages and scope of talent and interest are added every year to the very active and growing Bedford Area Master Gardeners Association.
Source: excerpts from the BAMGA Handbook, 2014
Extension Volunteer Master Gardeners are an invaluable asset to the local Extension program. This is particularly evident in Bedford County where residential growth is expanding rapidly. The development of a local training program for new volunteers and the dedication of veteran Master Gardeners have facilitated a rapid expansion of this group over the past several years. As a result, volunteer contributions to enhance the local Extension program are substantial.
The Bedford Extension Office provides on-going educational support and management oversight to this valuable volunteer group.
Read more about Virginia’s Volunteer Master Gardeners and Virginia Cooperative Extension programs
-BEDFORD EXTENSION MASTER GARDENERS-
Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. An equal opportunity affirmative action employer. If you are a person with a disability and desire assistance or accommodation, please notify Scott Baker at the Bedford Extension Office at 540-586-7675 (TDD number 800-828-1120) during business hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.