the early 1970s, things were tough in Washington State. Following
significant growth in the Seattle area, the Boeing Corporation was
laying off more than 60 thousand workers. The economic ripples were
felt throughout the state. Those who didn't leave for jobs in other
states hunkered down and tried to pay their mortgages, feed their
families and find other work.
Having more time than money, many urbanites turned to raising their
own food to help get by. And, they turned to WSU Extension offices
wouldn't be a Master Gardeners' event without some 'show and
tell.' Retired WSU extension horticulturist Dr. Ray Maleike,
a long-time Master Gardener instructor, leads one of three
tours that were part of the day's festivities.
In the King and Pierce counties area, agents David Gibby and Bill
Scheer were swamped with requests for plant information. They tried
using the media to get more information to people, only to find
that it made more people aware of what extension had to offer.
they brainstormed how to meet the demand, they struck on the concept
of recruiting and training volunteers to serve the urban audience.
That was the seed that grew into the original Master Gardeners program,
which has since been replicated in other states and nations.
early 1973, the first trainings were held in King and Pierce counties,
and later another class was trained in Spokane.
gardening icon Ed Hume receives an award for his contributions
to the program from state Master Gardener coordinator Rod
Tinnemore. Tinnemore also declared Hume an honorary Master
Founders' Day events were held in Tacoma and Spokane on July
20 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Master Gardeners'
program and to honor its founders and early leaders.
Tacoma, Gibby and Scheer were joined by several other Master Gardener
pioneers to be honored at a banquet attended by 125 people, including
a few of the true 'stars' of the gardening world. Here are a few
founders and early leaders of the Master Gardeners' program show
off their awards. From left to right: Sharon Collman, Dave Gibby,
Arlen Davison, Bill Scheer and Sharon Wesenberg (for Bernie Wesenberg,