David Graper named interim coordinator of SD Master Gardener Program

Farm Forum

BROOKINGS — David Graper has been named SDSU Extension Interim Coordinator of the South Dakota Master Gardener Program.

“With Dr. Graper’s extensive experience and passion for providing horticulture education to South Dakotans, he brings a great deal to this position,” said Barry Dunn, South Dakota Corn Utilization Council Endowed Dean of the College of Agriculture & Biological Sciences and SDSU Extension Director.

Since 1990, Graper has served on the faculty of South Dakota State University and is currently a professor of Horticulture. He is an SDSU Extension Horticulture Specialist and is the former Director of McCrory Gardens and the South Dakota Arboretum.

The role with the Master Gardener Program is not new to Graper, from 1994 to 2004 he was the state coordinator of the South Dakota Master Gardener program. For 18 years he was actively involved in the South Dakota Public Television show “Garden Line.”

Graper earned his bachelor’s in Plant Science from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, his Master’s in Horticulture from Colorado State University and his Doctorate in Horticulture from the University of Maryland. Graper currently teaches Herbaceous Plants and Greenhouse Management and has also taught Plant Propagation and Greenhouse and Nursery Crops. His areas of special interest include: perennial flowers, greenhouse production and field cut flower production.

“I am excited to be back, working more intensively with the Master Gardeners. They are a dedicated group of people who are passionate about gardening and helping the people of South Dakota,” Graper said.

Graper will serve as the SDSU Extension Interim Master Gardener Program Coordinator while plans are completed to hire a new SDSU Extension Field Specialist to take over duties as the SDSU Extension Master Gardener Coordinator. “We are working to make this transition to the new State Coordinator as smooth as possible, always thinking positively about the future,” said David Wright, Plant Science Department Head.

S.D. Master Gardener Program

The description for the position is currently being rewritten according to the present and future needs of the highly successful program.

“We must be certain the individual hired will follow the program’s mission which is to provide research-based knowledge and develop the leadership abilities of volunteers,” Wright said.

Through horticultural education and activities the SDSU Extension Master Gardener Coordinator enables others to enhance their home, community, and the quality of lives of the participants.

Plans are underway for 2015 Master Gardener training classes.

SDSU Extension will continue to provide full support to the Master Gardener Program.

For more information on the Master Gardener program, contact David Graper at 605-688-6253 or; David Wright, Plant Science Department Head at 605-688-4600 or or Alvaro Garcia, SDSU Extension Agriculture & Natural Resources Program Coordinator at 605-688-4940 or