You might say David Rodriguez, Texas AgriLife Extension Service County Extension Agent for horticulture, is deeply rooted in horticulture, gardening and the Bexar County/South Central Texas green industry.
After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in horticulture from Texas A&M University, David worked at commercial nurseries in the San Antonio area for several years prior to taking on his role with AgriLife Extension, an educational agency of the Texas A&M University System in 2006. This, however, was not David’s first experience with the agency because, as a summer intern, he helped set up the first Bexar County Master Gardener class in 1989.
David continually looks for community service and education opportunities for himself and the more about 370 members of the Bexar County Master Gardener (BCMG) Association, a volunteer horticulture program of Texas AgriLife Extension Service. He leads by example in horticultural efforts to improve the community and educate youth and adults on the value of environmentally responsible gardening, including Earth-Kind® practices to conserve natural resources and reduce the use of chemical products.
During his six years with AgriLife Extension, David has helped expand youth horticulture programming, enhance outreach to the green industry and increase awareness of the Bexar County Master Gardener program and its significant contributions to the community. In 2011, David coordinated BCMG volunteer activities that contributed 35,716 hours to various horticulture-related programs and activities, which translated to more than $720,000 in community service. They also made more than 250 community presentations reaching more than 30,000 county residents on the topics of landscaping, rainwater harvesting, lawn care, plant and tree maintenance, proper irrigation, sustainable limited-space gardening, community beautification and more.
David also oversees the Bexar County Youth Gardens program, which serves more than 80 schools, the majority of which are located in low-income areas of Bexar County.
Among the most popular of his youth gardening programs is the Children’s Vegetable Garden in which David and several Bexar County Master Gardener program volunteers collaborate with the San Antonio Botanical Garden. In this program, children are provided a plot and learn to grow their own vegetables. For many urban youth, this program provides their first experience working in a vegetable garden and learning how plant-based foods are grown and how their nutritional value impacts overall health. It also teaches them responsibility, teamwork and leadership in addition to many aspects of earth science.
David can be heard every Saturday morning on the WOAI Home and Garden Radio Show answering horticulture and gardening questions. He regularly provides his expertise through television interviews and program presentations at large and small venues countywide and beyond.
David received his agency’s 2011 Superior Service Award in the category of volunteerism for his many community activities and those of the Bexar County Master Gardener association.