Celebrating 40 Years in California!

Jan 16, 2020

Celebrating 40 Years in California!

Jan 16, 2020

When David Gibby founded the very first master gardener program in 1973, he had no way of knowing the tremendous impact master gardener volunteers would make around the world.

Established in 1980, the UC Master Gardener Program has been extending UC research-based information about home gardening and pest management to the public for forty years.

Starting in Riverside and Sacramento Counties the program is now in more than 50 counties across California and functions as a volunteer based public service and outreach program under the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), administered locally by participating UC Cooperative Extension county offices. 


Without the passion of volunteers, local communities, and support from UC academics the UC Master Gardener Program would not have grown into the extensive educational volunteer network it is today. Last year 6,154 active UC Master Gardener volunteers donated 446,237 hours, and 6.8+ million hours have been donated since the program's inception. Our volunteers are the core of the UC Master Gardener Program and are serving in a way that creates positive change for people, communities and our environment.

40 and Counting

Guided by our mission to extend research-based knowledge, the program is currently focused on three primary impact areas: sustainable landscaping, food gardening and community well-being. Through recently implemented statewide program evaluation and data collection efforts the first ever annual report was published in 2019. “The annual report spotlights volunteer and the impacts they are making in their communities every day,” says Missy Gable, statewide Director, “Our volunteers continue to set us apart. With the continued support and commitment from volunteers, UC, and local communities the program will continue to grow and support gardeners across the state.” 

Celebrate with Us!

Join us throughout the year in helping celebrate the 40th year of the UC Master Gardener Program making a difference across California's landscape. This landmark anniversary is being celebrated through the use of the new 40th anniversary logo, events and special recognition throughout the state.

  • Anniversary Logo:
    Members of the UC Master Gardener community are encouraged to use the 40th Anniversary log on social media pages, email signatures, and in printed materials during the year-long celebration.

  • 2020 Statewide Conference:
    Volunteers, University of California Academics, and specials guests will be able to celebrate at the triennial Statewide UC Master Gardener Conference, in Lake Tahoe Sept. 28 – Oct. 2, 2020. Special themed commemorative conference pin, apparel, awards dinner and celebrations are being arranged for the conference.

  • Photo Contest:
    A special photo contest will also be held where everyone can participate and celebrate.

  • State and County Recognition:
    Proclamations at both the state and local levels will call attention to and recognize the achievement of volunteers and their commitment to the mission and community service.

  • #GivingTuesday & Big Dig Day: 
    UC ANR's 2nd annual Big Dig Day will take place this year on Friday June 5, 2020 and focuses on raising funds to support local county programs or projects. Save-the-Date for #GivingTuesday taking place Dec. 1, 2020 and is primarily a social media movement to show support through volunteering or making a gift. 

By Lauren Snowden
Author - Statewide Training Coordinator
By Melissa G. Womack
Contributor - Communications Specialist III