History of CMGA

1st CMG class graduates

The classes were held in Wallingford (New Haven County), Bethel (Fairfield County), and West Hartford (Hartford County).

CMGA was established
1st newsletter published

Called The CT Association of Extension Master Gardeners or CAEMG. Forty-five people attended the first meeting, which was held in the Haddam Extension Center office. Bob McNeil was elected the first CMGA President. The first CMGA newsletter was published with Jeanne Chesanow as the editor. The first National Master Gardener Conference was held in Washington, DC with twenty Connecticut Master Gardeners in attendance. CAEMG met four times per year; dues were $5.

1st Symposium held

CMGA had 197 paid members and a checking/savings account balance of $1,225. The first CMGA Symposium was held at the West Hartford campus of UConn.


CMGA is incorporated in CT.


CMGA becomes a registered nonprofit organization with the IRS.

AMG Program begins

A formal UConn Extension certification program begins for Advanced Master Gardeners. Informal AMG programs through UConn Extension began in the 1980s.

15th Annual Symposium

The CMGA 15th Annual Symposium, Making Gardens By Design, held on March 29, 2008, was a great success, with a capacity audience of 400 attendees.

By-laws adopted

New By-Laws were adopted. Membership for 2009 totals over 800. In addition, over 200 Master Gardener Interns were accorded associate membership.

New events & initiatives

CMGA added several events and capabilities to increase its value to our members. Free group tours of the Elizabeth Park Rose Garden and the Connecticut College Arboretum and Campus were held for members and their guests. Email and Web site capability was enhanced to provide better communication, and we began an online survey process to understand the needs of our members. An online gardening manual was begun, with more chapters in process. Additional discount partners were added to our CMGA Members Program. Board meetings were held in various locations throughout the state to make the board more accessible.

1st lifetime members facebook page

The first "Lifetime" members, John Neff and Marie Dube, were honored. CMGA's Facebook page was introduced and became quite active.

25th anniversary of CMGA

25th Anniversary of CMGA! Lifetime Members Bob and Enid Sherman and Ellen Morse were honored.

20th Annual Symposium

20th anniversary of CMGA Symposium. Paul Grimmeisen awarded Lifetime membership. CMGA joins TechSoup to save money on technology. CMGA joins Restaurant Depot to save money on event costs. CMGA treasurer transitions accounting to QuickBooks.


A lifetime membership awarded to Marge Bingham for many years of service to the CMGA as a board member and securing speakers for our Symposium.

Online store launched

CMGA Online Store is launched for CMGA merchandise available 24/7.  The CMGA Symposium moves to Connecticut College. A lifetime membership is awarded to Maureen Gillis who has been a tireless and dedicated volunteer for CMGA for many years serving in a variety of key areas, including CMGA President and Treasurer. Her many contributions to CMGA include making the organization technologically relevant, which in turn helped us be more organized, reduced our costs and helped us provide more services to our members. Almost every member of CMGA at some point has spoken to, heard from or worked with Maureen.

Special events added

Several events were offered to CMGA members and their guests: film screenings of Hometown Habitats: Stories of Bringing Nature Home documentary and bus trip pilot to Garden in the Woods (MA). CMGA piloted several new fundraising initiatives – Spearhead Spade, CMGA Nursery Day, CMGA Commemorative Daylily Sale with daylilies hybridized in Wallingford CT and registered with the American Hemerocallis Society.

25th Annual Symposium

CMGA celebrates the 25th anniversary educational symposium. Lifetime memberships awarded to Jamie BurgessTracey Burrell and Chantel Foster.