New Year, New Opportunities

July 2023 will mark my 16-year anniversary at Oregon State University (OSU). My first week as OSU’s Statewide Master Gardener Coordinator coincided with the timing of the annual Master Gardener(TM) Mini-College. I was excited (and a bit overwhelmed) by the many new people I was meeting, geographic names and locations I would learn (was it Dalles? or The Dalles? I was so confused!), and the broad and inspiring activities that were part of one of the longest-running Extension Master Gardener Programs in the nation.

At the time (July 2007) OSU’s Master Gardener Program had just entered it’s third decade, and I marveled at the legacy that legends such as Duane Hatch, Gray Thompson, Anne Marie VanderZanden, Ray McNeilan, Jan McNeilan, and many others had built. I realized that my role was to be a good steward of program so that I could proudly pass on the baton to someone else, just as Jan and Ray had passed on the baton to me.

I’ve loved my time working in the Master Gardener Program. But, it is time to move on to new opportunities. I will be staying at OSU, where I will be transitioning to a research/teaching position on July 1st. The change will give me time to focus on my research with the OSU Garden Ecology Lab, and to pursue some novel opportunities in supporting native plant producers, hydroponics, insect husbandry, urban agriculture, and environmental microbiomes . . . all of which are super interesting, but not directly germane to the work of the Master Gardener program. The change will also give me an opportunity to focus on my teaching, and make course improvements I’ve long wanted to make, but never had the time to do.

As I look back on my time in the Master Gardener Program, I am both proud of the work that I have done, and excited for what is yet to come. Some of the memories that I will most cherish, and work that I am proud of, includes:

Master Gardener volunteers stand in front of program displays at a conference
I’m camera shy, and don’t like to take many photos. Thus, I have precious few photos from my time in the Master Gardener program. This one will always be one of my favorites. I believe it was Mini-College 2009, with some of my favorite Master Gardener volunteers, L-R: Cathy B., a younger me, Marcia S., and Betty F.

Beyond the work that I’ve done, meeting so many amazing, smart, dedicated, and FUN gardeners, volunteers, and colleagues has been the absolute best part of the job. Some of you were there for me, from the start, and have been reliable and trusted advisors, collaborators, and friends. Others, I have only recently met or started to work with, and am so inspired by the ideas, enthusiasm, and expertise that you bring to the program.

I am not going far, such that I hope our paths might continue to cross.

As I think about what comes next for the Master Gardener Program, I want to make sure that I leave the Program as strong and vibrant as possible, for the next person to step into the Statewide Coordinator role. In that vein, I wanted to let folks know about the Statewide Master Gardener Endowment Fund, which has helped fund new tools to support Master Gardener work, and has helped bridge gaps in funding for local programs. If you are able and interested in doing so, you can make an end-of-year gift to support the program. The funds will truly help the next Coordinator continue the good work that we’ve been doing over the past 45+ years, and will enable them to build new opportunities and invest in new activities that will keep the program fresh, relevant, and impactful.

With sincere gratitude for the past 16 years, Gail Langellotto.

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32 Replies to “New Year, New Opportunities”

  1. Gail
    It has been such a privilege to work as an MG under your leadership
    Best wishes in the next chapter
    Diane White, LCGMA

  2. Wow, Gail, I am so sorry to hear you are leaving the Master Gardener program. While I have been active at only our chapter level, I have seen you as a guiding light for the statewide program and have appreciated all of your contributions and leadership during the past 16 years. I certainly understand your desire to focus on other aspects of your career and wish you the best of luck! We will miss you!

    1. Thank you, Sandi. I’m so glad to have met you through the MG Program, and am grateful for all of the amazing work you have done in the Columbia Gorge ~ through the MG Program, as well as your other volunteer efforts.

  3. You have been an inspiration to many MGs, and we certainly loved the classes you taught personally. Your state-wide leadership helped chapters through some tough times — and some good times, too. We so appreciate your guidance. Happy to hear that you are staying with OSU! Congratulations on your new role and Best Wishes for a great 2023!

    1. Thank you, Marcia. Your advice and guidance throughout the 2017 IMGC planning process was invaluable. I’m so glad we got to work together on that project, and am grateful for all of your efforts through the MG Program.

  4. WOW GAIL. Just read this FB post in Tasmania, where bumblebees…are an invasive species!

    Always hope for your continued happiness, knowing that you will always touch all life forms wherever you are!

    1. Hi Scott,

      I so love that you are in Tasmania, living your best life (despite invasive bumblebees!).

      You have always been one of my favorite parts of the MG Program, and I am truly grateful that our time as co-workers grew into a friendship. Have a great time abroad!

  5. I can’t believe it’s been 16 years GAYLE, I’m honored to have you mention the Lettuce Grow program, it was so much fun doing it with you, and it never would’ve happened without you! Having you come a few times and teach inside the prisons was a joy to watch. You brought so much light to a population with so much nature deficit disorder. It changed lives. Thank you for all your work and I can’t wait to see what you do next.

    1. Hi Sarah,

      The few times I taught classes in the correctional facilities will always be a highlight of my life. After teaching a required, 8am course to undergrads who would rather be in bed (or at least, not in a lecture), teaching and learning with the Lettuce Grow students was so much fun and full of joy. I loved seeing the great gardens they created amidst a concrete backdrop. They brought life and color to the world, in ways that benefitted all around them. Thank you for letting me be a small part of such a great organization.

  6. Gail, thank you so much for all of your service in support of us master gardeners. I have always admired your over-and-above efforts and having you as a mentor for several online seminars. You will be sorely missed, but I wish you the absolute best in all of your current and future endeavors. You deserve nothing less!

  7. Hi Gail
    Thank you for your time and wonderful online classes.
    I hope your new position is everything you hoped it would be.

  8. Gail: my Master Gardener training began with you–in my online training. Our interactions appear to have ended at a meeting in Corvallis this year. You know the one. Yet, I am certain that the communications we had there have engendered more in depth discussions about the issues involved in training competent, recognized volunteers. Thank you for your efforts in the entire range of providing guidance for volunteers, gardeners and pollinator lovers everywhere!

    1. Hi Kris,

      Thank you for all that you have given to the MG Program. As I tally up the end of year numbers for Ask Extension, I believe that you might once again have answered more questions than anyone else in the system!

      I appreciated the opportunity to meet with you in Corvallis, and hope that our paths might cross again for conversation and coffee.

  9. Thanks for all your hard work and compassion for the work that we do. You will be greatly missed and loved. I look forward to seeing where your future takes you.

    1. Thank you Andrea.

      Your heart and compassion are so huge, and have inspired me to try to do better across all aspects of my life, and particularly in the equity work within the MG Program. Thank you for being such a light in this world. <3

  10. So sorry to hear you are leaving the MG role, but I know your great work will continue to benefit the body of knowledge that is so important to MGs!! Your leadership has ensured the program’s success to date and beyond. May your new endeavors be challenging, interesting and satisfying.
    My best to you, Gail Gredler

    1. Thank you, Gail.

      I am so grateful to have been able to build upon your great work within the MG Program. I look at all you’ve done since, in support of the Lettuce Grow Program, and am so inspired by your example. Thanks for all that you do for Oregon’s gardening community.

  11. Best wishes for your new journey! Happy New Year 2023! I’m a new graduate and thrilled to be a part of this great community of Master Gardeners!

  12. Hi Gail, It sounds like you will be following your passions of teaching and research. I am happy for you. We at OMGA appreciate all of your contributions to our Master Gardener program. We will miss your incredible leadership, positive energy and commitment. Thank you for your inspiration.

    1. Thank you so much for your leadership of the OMGA. You have truly inspired me, from that very first day that you organized a training session for OMGA Leadership Day. Your courageous leadership of the organization has made a real and positive difference to so many ~ including me.

  13. From one entomophile to another, I am so happy you can continue your work on the frontiers at OSU and cherish the moments we have shared as well. You have deserved time to expand in your field and I do hope you can keep in touch. Perhaps a column in the Pen? It has been a great ride and you are leaving some very big shoes to fill. I know you have greatly enriched my and so many others’ lives!

    1. Hi Pat. Thank you so much for this kind note, and for your warm welcome to me from the very start of my job. Trading insect stories and snacks with you will always be one of my most cherished memories. I look forward to keeping in touch.

  14. Hi Gail and congratulations on moving to your next phase. I have enjoyed everything you have done from the National Conference to accepting my forwarded articles on weird insects to inspiring talks at the chapter meetings. I will miss knowing you are at the helm of our Master Gardener ship, but wish you more success, inspiration and exciting discoveries in your new path.
    Thank you for everything!

    1. Thank you for your kind note, Rhonda. That national conference was a lot of fun!! And, I will always welcome articles and notes on weird insects. Thank you for all the great work you do in the program, and on the Ask Extension system. Your answers have helped so many!

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