In 1971, two Washington State Extension Agents, David Gibby and Bill Scheer, explored the novel concept of recruiting and training volunteers to assist in Extension programming. The initial response was tremendous and so began a now national Extension program that educates volunteer-minded people.
The Alabama Master Gardener program started when Cornell Extension Master Gardener, Mary Lou McNabb, shared her love of the program with Madison County Extension Agent Gary Murray. Along with a couple of Extension Specialists, they organized the first Alabama Master Gardener training series in Huntsville.
Since 1981, Alabama Master Gardeners have been important volunteers with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. They have hosted displays and information booths at county fairs, offered educational programs, assisted botanical gardens, worked with historic properties, implemented civic beautification projects, partnered with local schools, donated fresh produce to charity, supported scholarships in secondary education, and much more.