PURDUE EXTENSION ADVISOR LARRY CAPLAN WINS NATIONAL AWARD 

Larry Caplan

SWIMGA’S Purdue Extension Advisor, Larry Caplan, was recently recognized with a Distinguished Service Award at the national meeting of County Extension Educators in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Over 80 students are enrolled in the two Master Gardener volunteer training classes that Larry is teaching this fall (beginning August 31 and September 1) at Ivy Tech Community College.  According to Larry, “In 1987, I taught my first Master Gardener class in Evansville. I had 6 students. Tonight…30 years to the day…I have 76 people pre-registered, and I’m expecting another half-dozen walk ins. My car is loaded down with 600 pounds of manuals, and my lecture is sitting in my pocket on a thumb drive.”

After completing the semester and passing the final exam, students will be invited to join Southwestern Indiana Master Gardener Association and participate in SWIMGA’s continuing education as well as share gardening knowledge with others in the community through volunteer service. SWIMGA holds a major plant sale the first Saturday in May and hosts a garden walk and a garden conference in alternating years.

Master Gardeners can be found in numerous area schools teaching students about how plants grow, the importance of trees, and how to attract and protect butterflies and honeybees. They teach and demonstrate good gardening practices for adults at garden clubs and civic groups. Master Gardeners serve as horticultural docents at Mesker Park Zoo’s Amazonia exhibit, and have helped several community gardens become established.

Master Gardeners are responsible for maintaining nearly 20 demonstration display gardens in Vanderburgh, Warrick, and Posey counties. Their brightest gem is the Master Gardener Display Garden, located next to Eykamp Scout Center at 3501 East Lloyd Expressway. This garden covers nearly two acres and contains numerous themed gardens, including a vegetable garden that annually generates over 10,000 pounds of produce which is donated to the Tri-State Food Bank.

Approximately 350 Master Gardeners of the Southwestern Indiana Master Gardener Association (SWIMGA) donate a yearly average of almost 20,000 hours to maintain and beautify the community through various projects.

In recent years, over 10,000 pounds of produce have been donated to the Tri-State Food Bank, harvested from the vegetable garden at the Master Gardener Display Garden.

Below is a list or our official SWIMGA projects.  Go to their individual pages under the OUR GARDENS  tab for more information.

Caze Elementary School Garden Education
Habitat for Humanity Landscaping
Hartman Arboretum
Historic Newburgh Dam Garden
Hovey House Garden (Mt. Vernon)
Keep Evansville Beautiful Projects
Master Gardener Display Garden
Mesker Park Amazonia Docent Program
Mesker Park Zoo & Botanical Family Garden
Mt. Vernon Rain Garden
Newburgh Community Park Garden
Oaklyn Library Meadow (native & wildflowers)
Parkview Care Center Gardening Program
Reitz Home Museum Garden
Sunrise Park Garden
Three Sisters Garden at Angel Mounds
University of Evansville Rose Garden
University of Southern Indiana Herb Garden
Vanderburgh 4-H Center Gardens
Wesselman Woods Native Butterfly Garden
Wesselman Woods Native Plant Garden

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