LeAnn Locher, a marketing and communications strategist, has been named Master Gardener outreach program coordinator for Oregon State University Extension Service.
Locher will join Gail Langellotto, statewide coordinator of the Master Gardener program, in a new position that will oversee diversity initiatives, branding and marketing, website management and social media. The award-winning strategist founded LeAnn Locher & Associates in 2006 providing creative and strategic communication services to national and local nonprofit organizations and public sector clients, including Metro Master Gardeners, establishing and launching their first website and social media tools, including the campaign Get the Real Dirt.
“Our program is so lucky to be working with someone who has LeAnn’s credentials, skillset and love of horticulture,” Langellotto said. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, interest in the Master Gardener program has skyrocketed: Over 40,000 people enrolled in an online Master Gardener short course and our social media following has more than tripled to over 20,000 followers. The pandemic has focused attention on the importance of gardening to food security and strong community food systems. Hiring a Master Gardener program outreach coordinator right now is timely, and will allow OSU to better serve the needs of the gardening public.”
Locher first became a Master Gardener in 2009, and has been a garden columnist, blogger, podcaster and photographer. As a communication strategist and designer, she has managed staff, budgets and work plans for major events, openings, brand launches, media events, equity initiatives and fundraising campaigns. Her clients have included the National Academies of Science, National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, City of Portland, state of Oregon, University Innovation Alliance and National Crittenton.
Locher holds a bachelor’s degree in information and communication studies, instructional technology, from California State University, Chico.
“Now more than ever, Master Gardeners are needed to reach deeper into and better reflect our communities to help more people grow their skills in gardening, for food and for spirit,” Locher said. “Public understanding of what Master Gardeners do, how the public can access the incredible amount of information and support online and connect with real people to answer their questions: These are all things I’m looking forward to and to working with the amazing team of Master Gardeners across the state.”