When he recognized a need for community gardening education in Riverside County, UCCE advisor Ted Stamen partnered with UCCE research specialist Jim Grieshop to start the first California Master Gardener program. The year was 1980. Since then, the program has grown considerably: trained Master Gardener volunteers now contribute more than 12,000 hours of their time to the program every year. Today’s UC Master Gardener program is active in 43 counties, training volunteers in horticulture, pest management, water management, and other urban environmental issues. Master Gardener volunteers are trained by UCCE advisors and others, and they in turn share their knowledge and skills with members of the public. The ultimate benefits are many, not least improved conservation of water and other natural resources and enhancement of the living environment throughout our state.