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Spotlight on . . . Erin Hoffer, Collin County Master Gardener

Spotlight on Erin Hoffer

By Dawn Oldfield, CCMGA Public Relations Chairperson

Erin shares, “In 2000, I trained as State of Texas Master Composter to help me learn how to deal with Texas soil. That helped some but I was still failing at gardening in Texas - even though I had been a successful gardener in other states and countries. A friend in Oregon was a Master Gardener and suggested trying that. Once I found out that the primary role of a Master Gardener was educational outreach, I was definitely interested and joined the Fall 2002 training class.”

Though she is often behind the scenes, Erin is a familiar figure within CCMGA. Erin says, “Most of the time I’m involved with educational outreach through the Speakers’ Bureau although I do work the Garden Show, plant sales and information desk when my job permits. And I love when I am invited to teach one of the training classes for new Master Gardeners. They are always so enthusiastic about what they’re learning.”

Erin smiles, “I love chatting with people about their gardening challenges and helping them to come up with appropriate and effective solutions that work with their lifestyles. As a former teacher, it makes my heart so happy to empower people with knowledge and skills that help them meet their gardening goals. I love that our answers are science-based and come from the latest research. There are so many websites with “solutions” that are not science-based and that often don’t work. I am so happy when I can point folks to our CCMGA website or TAMU websites or publications so that they have information that will actually help them become successful gardeners.”

“Educational outreach is an integral part of what we do as volunteers. Some of us maintain demonstration gardens so that we can educate people on what and how to grow plants in our area. Some dedicate time to publications or online resources for answering questions that help folks learn more about horticulture. I’m part of a lovely team that develops and delivers presentations on gardening topics. We have the pleasure of interacting with residents who are keenly interested in becoming better gardeners,” Erin adds.

Erin laughs, “My husband says that I get paid to do during the week what I actually love doing for free on the weekends. My favorite CCMGA activity is working the Garden Show booths. It’s just one-on-one teaching to a very enthusiastic audience – and that is the most fun of all.”

As our community grows, so do our educational outreach programs, and the need for more people to become involved in CCMGA. Erin encourages, “If you love interacting with people, love serving the public and love the wonderful world of plants, then becoming a Master Gardener is a great volunteer gig. Gardeners are some of the most generous folks I know because they’re always sharing what they grow. Being a Master Gardener moves it to the next level of service because we also share what we know. “


A note from Dawn: This is the final installment of the “Spotlight” feature for 2022.  During the past twelve months I’ve had the privilege of interviewing amazing Collin County Master Gardeners. They were all unique and interesting, and all shared the same passion for gardening, learning, and sharing research-based knowledge with the community.


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