Since January 2016, David White has been volunteering for the UNH Extension Infoline. Last year, he averaged 12 hours monthly, and made 30 round trips — about 3,300 miles — from his Durham home to the Education Center in Goffstown. “One of the most interesting things about the InfoLine is that you are always learning,” he said. “You don’t know what will be asked by that next phone caller, but you may be the one that provides help so that this person can be a better gardener.”
Maine-born and raised, he worked in the nuclear industry for 45 years, eight years in U.S. Navy submarines and 37 years in the commercial sector, the last 22 years at Seabrook Station Nuclear Power Plant. He spent his college years at the University of Maine and New Hampshire College where he received a Bachelor’s degree in business management and at the University of Arkansas graduating with Master’s in operations management.
David, who moved often between schooling and work, has lived in Durham 27 years. He volunteered “many years in the non-profit area” during that time. After retirement, he wanted volunteer opportunities where he would continue to learn, have some challenges, meet new people, and be provided information that required listening to a different perspective.
After some investigating, he chose to become Master Gardener in 2015, and an Advanced Master Gardener in 2016-2017. He also became a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Guardian Ad Litem volunteer 5 years ago. In that role he represents neglected and abused children in court.
Last year, David became co-chair of the Strafford County Master Gardener Association with Genie Reed. There are nearly 70 Master Gardeners in Strafford County. The group holds an annual plant sale and raises funds to provide grants for school gardening programs and other county gardening projects.
David gets a lot of satisfaction taking calls at the Education Center. He recently received a call from a frustrated man who stated that his call to the center was his last resort in trying to solve the problem. “The caller”, David said, “listed the ways he had tried working with his neighbor on the issue, and local, county, and state offices, but the situation continued.” David consulted with Extension staff, and three new possible solutions were provided to the caller for his consideration. “Although the outcome is not known,” he said, “being there for someone reaching out is very important and satisfying.”
UNH Cooperative Extension Master Gardener volunteers share information about home, yard, and garden topics with the people of New Hampshire. Got questions? Master Gardeners provide practical help finding answers to your questions through the Ask UNH Extension Infoline. Call toll free at 1-877-398-4769, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.