2022 County and Statewide Master Gardeners of the Year: Online Nominations

The Statewide and County Master Gardener of the Year awards are due May 15th. Please submit your nominations, online, via this online form:

https://oregonstate.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cZVockHZoBglwyO

Note that there is a character limit to nomination fields. Since we print posters (displayed at Mini-College) and develop a press release for Master Gardener award winners, the character limit helps nominators (and us) to focus on the details that we should highlight about each nominee.

Nominations should be crafted and submitted in close consultation and collaboration with your Master Gardener Chapter Board (if your county has one) and your Master Gardener Coordinator.

Climate Change, Environmental Justice, and Urban Greenspace

Note: this article was originally written for the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon (HPSO) Quarterly Magazine (spring 2022 issue). The wonderful team at the HPSO, especially Eloise Morgan, provided copy editing assistance on this article.


To observe Oregon State University’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, the Master Gardener Program hosted a screening of the movie ‘The Ants and the Grasshopper’. The movie follows Anita Chitaya, as she travels from her home in Malawi, to farms and gardens across the United States to share her story of how climate change is impacting her village. Afterwards, Dr. Vivek Shandas of Portland State University joined us to discuss the intersection of historical racism, landscaping and greenspace, and environmental justice.

When Anita Chitaya was asked what Americans can do to help the people in Malawi, she responded that she wanted people to talk about climate change and tell people about the plight of her village. Her response struck me for three reasons. First, she could have asked for many different things, such as money or advocacy. Instead, she thought it most important to talk about climate change. She, like many of you, saw great value in spreading knowledge. Second, after considering Anita Chitaya’s request, I realized that I don’t personally talk about climate change, outside of my classes. The scientific study of climate change has firmly established that human-caused climate change is happening, is accelerating at an unprecedented rate, and represents a danger to the life as we know it on earth (IPCC, 2021). I firmly believe that climate change is the one of the most important issues of our time, and I regularly worry about the world that my grandchildren will inherit. Yet I still feel shy to broach the subject with friends and family. Finally, Anita Chitaya was working to amplify the voice and concerns of those most affected by climate change. And, the movie made it quite clear that those most affected by climate change often hold the least power. This is something that Dr. Jeremy Hoffman of The Science Museum of Virginia and Dr. Vivek Shandas of Portland State University have studied in cities across the United States. And their work has direct connections to landscaping and gardening, as well as to historical racism and segregationist policies.

Together with Nicholas Pendleton, Drs. Hoffman and Shandas looked at 108 cities across the United States (Hoffman et al. 2020). For each city, they looked at historical Home Owner’s Loan Corporation (HOLC) maps from the 1930s, to see which neighborhoods had been ‘redlined’. Redlining is the historical practice of refusing loans or insurance to entire neighborhoods, based upon racially motivated perceptions about risk of investment. HOLC maps categorized neighborhoods from “Best” (A neighborhoods, outlined in green), “Still Desirable” (B neighborhoods, outlined in blue), “Definitely Declining” (C neighborhoods, outlined in yellow), and “Hazardous” (D neighborhoods, outlined in red).

After defining the historical boundaries of the A, B, C, and D HOLC neighborhoods, the scientists generated Land Surface Temperature maps (LST maps) using publically available Landsat imagery. The LST maps were based upon Landsat data for summer months (June – August) of 2014 through 2017, when cloud cover was less than 10 percent. The resolution of the LST maps was fairly course (30 meters by 30 meters), but nonetheless provided data on neighborhood- and city-scale patterns of modern-day heat.

A HOLC  map for Portland Oregon, circa 1938. Green areas were rated ‘A’ or ‘Best’. Blue areas were rated ‘B’ or ‘Still Desirable’. Yellow areas were rated ‘C’ or ‘Definitely Declining’. Red areas were rated ‘D’ or ‘Hazardous’. Creative Commons License. Original Source: Robert K. Nelson, LaDale Winling, Richard Marciano, Nathan Connolly, et al., “Mapping Inequality,” American Panorama
, ed. Robert K. Nelson and Edward L. Ayers, accessed February 7, 2022, https://dsl.richmond.edu/panorama/redlining/

What they found was astonishing: 94% of the cities they examined had city-scale patterns of extreme heat in historically redlined areas. Let me put this another way: 80 years had passed between the HOLC maps and the LST maps that they used as data for this study and 50 years had passed since the Fair Housing Act of 1968 was passed to stop the practice of redlining. Yet, these neighborhoods still bore the signature of historical racism, in the form of urban heat. Notably, the largest modern-day difference between “D” and “A” neighborhoods was found in Portland, Oregon. On average, neighborhoods that had been classified as “D” in the 1930s were 13 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than neighborhoods that had been classified as “A”. Nationally, historical “D” neighborhoods were 5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than “A” neighborhoods.

What could account for these differences in temperature? First, historical “D” neighborhoods lacked tree canopy cover, parks, gardens and other greenspaces and green infrastructure that can help to naturally cool a city. This is consistent with the historical disinvestment in redlined neighborhoods. Not only were loans and insurance withheld, but when trees were removed due to damage and disease, they were often not replanted. In addition, redlined neighborhoods were also the most likely to be developed. Residents in these neighborhoods often lacked the social capitol needed to successfully protest the loss of a public garden or park, or to fight a new road or highway. This meant that these areas, over time, were more likely to be paved, and less likely to have trees.

I asked Dr. Shandas, during our discussion following the film, how gardeners and landscapers can promote social justice and fight environmental racism through our work. He responded that urban greening and tree planting initiatives seem and obvious answer, but that they need to be planned and executed in close consultation with community members most affected by urban heat. Perhaps not surprisingly, these community members are often the most vulnerable to extreme weather and climate change, including the homeless or those in rental or federally subsidized housing and without easy access to air conditioning. For a good example of an effort to work closely with local communities to increase trees and greenspace in historically redlined neighborhoods, you can visit Dr. Hoffman’s ‘Throwing Shade in RVA’ website (Hoffman, n.d.).

Urban forests, such as the trees that provide beauty and shade on the Corvallis campus of Oregon State University, are important assets for moderating urban heat and integral to building and maintaining sustainable cities. Photo Credit: Gail Langellotto

I don’t purport to have great solutions or answers to heavy issues such as climate change, environmental justice, or historical and systemic racism. But, I take inspiration from the direction provided by Anita Chitaya, and I am working to become more comfortable talking about climate change. I’m also taking inspiration from the direction given by Dr. Shandas, and am trying to grow my service to community partners in a way that focuses on listening, learning, and following their direction. I also think that it is interesting to note how gardens, trees, and greenspace play a central role in who is exposed to versus protected from urban, extreme heat. As gardeners, these aren’t often issues that we consider or contend with. But, the Master Gardener program is focused on the science of gardens and other greenspaces, and Drs. Hoffman and Shandas have provided compelling evidence of the research-basis of patterns that we might not notice or that we take for granted in cities and neighborhoods across the U.S.


Hoffman, J.S. No Date. Throwing shade in RVA. http://jeremyscotthoffman.com/throwing-shade, Accessed February 1, 2022.

Hoffman, J.S.; Shandas, V.; Pendleton, N. 2020. The Effects of Historical Housing Policies on Resident Exposure to Intra-Urban Heat: A Study of 108 US Urban Areas. Climate 8, 12. https://doi.org/10.3390/cli8010012

IPPC 2021. Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sixth-assessment-report-working-group-i/

Call For Applications: Cohort II of the Master Gardener JEDI Task Force

Applications for the second cohort of Master Gardener JEDI Task Force Members are now being accepted. Click here to submit your application. Applications will be accepted through February 28, 2022. We are specifically seeking applications from Master Gardener volunteers, across the state of Oregon, who are

  1. committed to advancing Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity with in the Master Gardener program.
  2. wanting to deepen their own understanding of inequities, historical racism, and colonialism within horticulture, Land Grant Institutions, and Oregon.
  3. able to make a 12 month commitment (April 2022 – March 2023), of 4-6 hours per month, for Task Force work.
  4. willing to be a bridge between the Task Force, and their local Master Gardener group, to ensure that the work that we do on the Task Force is brought back to county Master Gardener Programs.

JEDI stands for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity. Sometimes, we call ourselves the DEI Task Force. Sometimes, we call ourselves the JEDI Task Force, because frankly, the word ‘JEDI’ is both more representative of what we are trying to do, and is also more fun to say.

You can learn a bit more about the aims and structure of the JEDI Task Force, by visiting this post, from May 2021. Service on the Task Force can be counted towards your volunteer service requirement or recertification requirement.


Quotes from JEDI Task Force Members, Cohort 1

The DEI cohort work connected me with other Master Gardeners in Oregon and our home OSU organization like nothing I have ever done before, and it opened my eyes and my mind to the reckoning work that needs to be included in my everyday life.[N., Master Gardener Volunteer]

As a retired HR professional, who has had a fair amount of DEI training and experience, I thought I had a pretty good grasp.  The work of the task force is important to me, but I assumed that any training involved would be mainly repetitive. However, the breadth of this work and training has expanded my horizons, particularly with respect to learning about indigenous peoples. Any former training I had focused mainly on race, with sexual orientation lightly covered. 

I’m already using my heightened learning in a graduate-level HR course I teach for school administrators and in my personal interactions. Yesterday, I was caught making an assumption about the gender of a person’s spouse – which was an embarrassing moment.  But even apologizing for my error was easier because we’d recently discussed it in the group. 

My main reason for joining the task force is to support cultural growth within the Master Gardener program.  During my six years as an MG, it’s felt too much like an insular, old, white garden club.  It’s time for change.  “Gentle pressure, relentlessly applied.” *   

*Not my quote, but I’ve never been able to find the verified author.  It’s a super mantra when you’re trying to effect change.[D., Master Gardener Volunteer]

I went into this cohort with open eyes and heart, hoping to learn some ways to help those with a somewhat exterior of close mindedness to find paths to understanding. I was rewarded with a whole toolbox of great ideas and thoughts, words of wisdom from some incredible tribal elders and POC gardeners from other parts of the country. New resources and great interchanges with other gardeners addressing the issues that we find ourselves in daily. Some of the speakers were challenging, some made us uncomfortable, but all helped us to see, and perhaps walk in the other person’s shoes. My take away was a better understanding and greater sense of empathy to the plight of those that have for so long been underserved and mistreated. I think we all came away with a gift of knowledge and appreciation of our brothers and sisters.” [T., Master Gardener Volunteer]

“The DEI Task Force is what’s needed to help the Master Gardener program reach its full potential of public service. The meetings are a friendly arena to dive into learning about equity and understanding racism if you’ve been curious. If you’re experienced with anti-racist ideas and action the Task Force is a medium for connecting with very place-specific and deep cultural material grounded in how all Oregonians relate to land.

I feel good that I’m helping to craft the traditions of Extension service into a more whole framework for the future. It is exciting to be a part of a group that is transforming itself within a racial justice lens.” [E., Master Gardener Volunteer]


JEDI Task Force Outcomes, from Cohort 1 (April 2021 – March 2022)


  • We adopted a statement equity requirement for Master Gardener training and recertification, beginning in 2022. Culture of Gardening Story Telling Initiative
  • We began building a toolkit that coordinators can use to diversify speakers and curricular content in the Extension Master Gardener Program.
  • In late 2021, we surveyed Master Gardener coordinators and volunteers, to better understand who we currently serve and reach through the Master Gardener program. In order to provide tools and resources to coordinators and associations to do DEI work in their county, it is important that we understand the work that is currently being done, partners we work with, and capturing successes and challenges. The results of the survey will help us to get have baseline data of what we are doing, today, and to determine what types of training or resources are needed to advance our DEI goals.

The 32 DEI Task Force Members and ~10 OSU Extension Home Horticulture working group members participated in a total of 12 hours of engagement across 5 learning opportunities, organized as part of our overall commitment to DEI within the Extension Master Gardener Program.

  • OSU Diversity Strategic Plan (with Allison Davis White-Eyes, formerly of OSU’s Office of Institutional Diversity)
  • Ecological Framework for DEI and Racial Literacy (with Jeff Kenney of OSU’s Office of Institutional Diversity)
  • Bias Intervention (with Jeff Kenney)
  • Pronoun Use (with LeAnn Locher of the Extension Master Gardener Program)
  • 4-week long Indigenous Cultures Field School Training (with Courtney Yilk, Wilson Wewa, Wenix Red Elk, Samantha Chisholm Hatfield, Louise Wilmes, and Heather Gurko, organized by Confluence)

We hosted two special events, open to the general public, in support of our efforts to grow the breadth of our events to include cultural practices and inclusion.

  • “The Work is in Our Hands” lecture, about the history and accomplishments of black horticulturists and garden clubs in the United States (with Abra Lee, who is writing a book on the subject, entitled ‘Conquer the Soil’). A total of 340 people attended the live presentation, via Zoom. Another 130 have viewed the recording, for a total reach of 470 people.
  • A screening of the movie ‘Gather’, with a facilitated discussion with Drs. David Phillips and Samantha Chisholm Hatfield of OSU, following the movie. Over 2,000 people registered for this event on the movie screening platform, Kinema. More than 1,000 people attended the movie screening and discussion, and 63 people have accessed the recording of the discussion.

We launched a story telling initiative, ‘The Culture of Gardening’ as a way to amplify and center the voice of gardeners growing plants to connect with their heritage, culture, and identity.

  • In 2020, we featured 7 stories of gardeners from diverse backgrounds, including recipes.

We hope that you’ll consider joining us. Remember, applications are due February 28, 2022. Click here to submit your application.

Can Oregon Master Gardeners Answer Hemp or Cannabis Questions?

This question comes up, repeatedly, throughout the year, most recently in Marion County. If someone calls the Master Gardener help desk, or submits a question through the Ask an Expert Service, can Master Gardener volunteers provide advice or support for growing hemp or cannabis? The short answer is ‘no’.

Here is the full reply from Jay Noller, Director of OSU’s Global Hemp Innovation Center:


Hemp is a legal crop so long as the grower holds a current license from the Oregon Department of Agriculture. The laws of Oregon allow personal garden of four hemp plants (or 4 marijuana plants), but this is not federally legal in Oregon or the rest of the USA. This personal allowance is different in other states by their laws. Thus, by university policy, OSU employees and volunteers may not interact with unlicensed hemp growers (even home hemp growers) nor cannabis / marijuana growers. As a volunteer with Master Gardeners you are not allowed to engage public on Cannabis sativa, be that hemp or marijuana. If needed, please direct them to our website to learn more about commercial production of hemp in Oregon and beyond: https://agsci.oregonstate.edu/hemp . We fully engage with state-licensed hemp growers on the details of producing this crop, and anyone you engage with may read our literature and watch our hemp videos online at their discretion.

Report to the Oregon Master Gardener Association Board of Directors (4th Quarter meeting, 2021)

Each quarter, Gail Langellotto (me, the statewide OSU Extension Master Gardener Program Leader) provides a report to the Oregon Master Gardener Association Board of Directors. This blog post is a copy of that report.

Please note that the information referenced on the hyperlinks attached to this report can change rapidly, particularly for COVID guidance from OSU. I am sharing what I know, as of this moment in time. The guidance may very well change, in the near future.

Updates from OSU Extension

  • Dr. Ivory Lyles will start his tenure as Vice Provost of Outreach and Engagement, and Director of the OSU Extension Service, on September 30th.
  • OSU’s vaccination requirement does not apply to volunteers, but to faculty, staff, and students.
  • The COVID-19 Safety Training for OSU Extension offices is being updated. It had been required for volunteers, participating in face-to-face programs and projects. I don’t yet know how it will be rolled out or required, in the future. But, as staying safe in the workplace is a high priority, I would hope that this training will be put to good use within the Master Gardener Program, and across all Extension programs.
  • OSU has updated their guidance for in person events.
    • OSU-managed, indoor, face-to-face programs and activities can proceed, where registration (day of or pre-registration) occurs.
    • OSU-managed, outdoor, face-to-face programs and activities can proceed, where registration (day of or pre-registration) occurs.
  • Where MGs might be participating in events not managed by OSU:
    • employees and volunteers are expected to follow OSU policy and OHA public health recommendations (regarding face coverings, for example), but we can’t impose our guidelines on events and activities that are managed by community partners.
    • we can opt not to participate in community partner events, in the interest of public health and safety. 

2022 Master Gardener Awards

  • Nominations for county and statewide Master Gardener awards are due on May 15th, every year.
  • The 2022 nominations forms will be posted online. This will make it easier to track nominations, as they are submitted. The current system of sending them through email makes it difficult to manage, given the amount of email volume that Gail receives.
  • Please make sure that your county Master Gardener groups knows that they should start discussing potential nominees WELL IN ADVANCE of the May 15th deadline. I would suggest putting it on the agenda in January or February of each year, making final decisions in March of each year, and then using April to write up nominations.
  • Communicate with your Master Gardener coordinator throughout the process. Double check and cross check that everyone is on the same page, when it comes to the name(s) that will be submitted for awards.

2022 Master Gardener Training

  • Counties are currently planning for recruitment of 2022 Master Gardener trainees, and delivery of the 2022 Master Gardener training classes.
  • Many/most counties are planning for hybrid (online and in person) training options, that allow greater flexibility and opportunity for participation. The online options are also a safe option, given instructors’ and students’ (or potential students’) concerns about COVID. Your specific county program can share the details of their training series.
  • New in 2022: the statewide Master Gardener program office is developing:
    • a module that goes over the statewide policies and expectations, related to volunteerism with OSU and in the Master Gardener Program. This module is intended to serve as an orientation for new Master Gardener students, but will also serve as a good reminder/update for continuing Master Gardener volunteers. The module is required for all new Master Gardener trainees, and recommended / required (we haven’t settled on this, yet) every 2-3 years for continuing MG volunteers. This module will include information on:
      • What does it mean to be a MG: Representative of the University; Recognition of advanced training and study; Expectations for superior customer service and support
      • Required Paperwork: Code of Conduct, Conditions of Volunteer Service Form (every year), PD, OSU College of Ag Sciences CAREs document.
      • Our commitments to protecting children.
        • Criminal History Checks (every two years?): Why they are required. What happens during the Criminal History Check Process.
        • Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse: an abridged training from the Office of Youth Safety
      • Volunteer Service Hour Requirements: What counts as volunteer hours? How to record volunteer service hours. Why the volunteer hour reporting is important.
  • A module that grows the community education component of the Master Gardener Program. Master Gardeners learn sustainable horticulture from Oregon State University and extend this information to local communities by serving as volunteers community educators. The Volunteer Community Educator Curriculum helps prepare new and continuing volunteers for this role. It will be required for new trainees, as well as for recertification of continuing Master Gardener volunteers. We anticipate offering a menu of options that individuals can participate in to satisfy this requirement, most of which are one hour or less, in length.
    • Master Gardener volunteers who are active on the statewide or on local diversity, equity, and inclusivity committees can apply their work in these groups towards meeting the training or recertification requirement.
    • OSU Extension’s DEI training for volunteers (4 modules, about 1 hour of total time, in length: Introduction, Equity, Inclusivity, and Conclusion)
    • Recipes for Collaborative Communities course (from the Elevated Skills Training Series that was offered in 2021, through Thinkific)
    • Broadening Outreach with Community Partnerships (from the Elevated Skills Training Series that was offered in 2021, through Thinkific)
    • Abra Lee’s Culture of Gardening Keynote: ‘The Work is In Our Hands’
    • Webinar from OID: to be scheduled by and delivered through the statewide office.
    • OSU’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Celebration Keynote or associated events
    • Events organized by the Master Gardener DEI Task Force Events committee

Dates to Remember

  • Ongoing, Second Tuesday of Each Month: Level Up, Growing Oregon Gardeners Series. Remaining classes for 2021 include: native plants (September), climate change (October), and garden soils (November). The series will return in January of 2022.
  • September 12-17, 2021. International Master Gardener Conference: September 12-17, 2021. Registration has closed, but perhaps I will see some of you there?
  • September 25, 2021: Fall Master Gardener BioBlitz: One fall day to document garden biodiversity in Oregon. Join us with your camera on September 25, 2021 to capture the insects, birds, wild plants, and other wild organisms in your garden or a nearby community or public garden space.
  • September 30th: Extension Master Gardener Photo Contest Winners will be announced on October 25th. See our blog for details.
  • Save the Date!: November 10, 2021: The Extension MG DEI Task Force Events Subcommittee is hosting a screening of the film ‘Gather’, at 7pm on November 10th. A 30 minute panel discussion will follow, featuring Dr. David Lewis of OSU. More details will be forthcoming. Please share this Save the Date with Your Volunteers.

May 15, 2022: Master Gardener Awards nominations are due.

Announcements

  • Culture of Gardening Blog. If you and your Master Gardeners have not yet seen the new ‘Culture of Gardening’ blog, please take a look. We have been receiving a lot of positive feedback from diverse communities, who are happy to broaden their understanding of diverse identities and cultures . . . and how these identities intersect with plants and gardening: 
  • Master Gardener Photography Contest: Please make sure to communicate with your Master Gardeners colleagues about the fun opportunity to participate in our first ever photography contest, currently open for submissions, through October 25th. Now is a great time to capture in photos the bounty of the summer harvest, the beauty of our demonstration gardens, and all of the hard work MGs are putting in in the community. 
  • Recruitment Materials: Priorities, Values, Mission, Vision One Pager (double-sided): You can learn more about the Master Gardener Program on our website, and can share this information with prospective Master Gardener volunteers who want to know more.  We also have a one-pager (double sided) that can be used to talk about our program.
  • We will be calling for applications for the 2nd Cohort of the Master Gardener DEI Task Force. The call for applications will go out in early 2022, with new members joining the cohort in April 2022.

Extension Operations Update

After a very long year, we are starting to see an easing of COVID-related restrictions! And, we’re planning to offer face-to-face Master Gardener training classes in 2022!

As of June 1, 2021, OSU Extension made several changes to operations, that will make it easier for face-to-face Master Gardener programs to occur. These updates specifically apply to Oregon counties that are at low or moderate risk of COVID transmission. Counties that are at high risk of COVID transmission still have some restrictions in place.

  • Travel for Master Gardener Activities: The formerly used In-person and travel authorization form will no longer be needed for local travel of volunteers or employees. Out of state travel for MG related work by volunteers or employees continues to need approval, as has always been the case.
    • This operations update does not broadly apply to most Master Gardener volunteers. During COVID restrictions, we did have a few volunteers who travelled to monitor invasive species traps with the Oregon Department of Agriculture. But, most Master Gardener volunteers do not ‘travel for Master Gardener activities’. Travelling to the Extension office or to a demonstration garden is considered ‘commuting’ and not ‘travelling for work’.
  • Master Gardener Programming: Master Gardener Programs and volunteer activities in Lower and Moderate Risk Counties no longer needs formal approval by an Extension Regional Director. Please note, however, that Master Gardener Programming and Volunteer Activities should be planned in close cooperation and communication with your Master Gardener Coordinator. All activities must be planned using the guidelines of the OSU Extension Activity Matrix (see the file, at the end of this post). Your Master Gardener Coordinator can help ensure that programs and volunteerism are being organized according to the Activity Matrix.
  • Counties at High Risk must continue to use the High-Risk Programming Approval Form for Master Gardener Programs and Volunteer Activities. These submissions are reviewed by an Extension Regional Director.
  • Face Coverings: If physical distancing can be maintained, face coverings are no longer required outdoors at OSU and during programming. However, if the setting is crowded, and/or if physical distancing cannot be maintained, face coverings are required. Face coverings continue to be required indoors at all OSU locations and during Extension programming, regardless of vaccination status. OSU’s physical distancing policy continues to require compliance with all current OHA guidelines and OSHA guidelines. Gatherings – including indoors – are allowed, but should be planned and executed using the Extension Activity Matrix. This includes the allowance for in-person meetings and activities.
  • COVID-19 Training: COVID-19 training for employees and volunteers will no longer be required.

I’m looking forward to the day when we can all meet in person, around our shared love of plants, gardening, insects, birds, fresh vegetables, shade trees, flowers, or whatever it is that excites you about the Program.

~Gail

Help Us Plan Our Program Across the Next Few Years

The words 'What do you want to know about growing plants? We want to hear from you.' is above a bunch of cherry tomatoes, on a blue background. Several of the tomatoes are arranged in the form of a question mark.
Help us develop garden education programs that meet your needs.

Oregon State University Extension wants to support you getting the kind of information you want and need for growing plants in a home, community garden and landscape setting. Help us craft our future offerings: take a moment to participate in our survey.  https://oregonstate.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1RH4CHIopoHN9XM

Consider sharing this survey with your gardening friends and neighbors. Our goal is to hear from at least 5,000 Oregon gardeners.

Master Gardener Certifications in 2021 and new Master Gardener Trainings in 2022: questions and answers as of May 18, 2021

“Will OSU Extension be hosting trainings for new Master Gardener volunteers in 2022?”  

Yes. Counties with Master Gardener Programs are planning for the 2022 Master Gardener trainings. Typically, applications for new Master Gardener trainees are available each fall, and the classes begin in January or February of the following year. Specific dates may vary across counties. Check with your local Master Gardener program for details. 

“I took the Master Gardener training class in 2020, but COVID disrupted my ability to complete my certification. Can I still be certified?” 

Yes! We realize that COVID has disrupted personal lives and much of our in-person programming. Many counties were not able to hold face-to-face volunteer activities, and many face-to-face volunteer activities are still on hold. Most counties have lowered the number of required volunteer service hours to 40 hours, to help the class of 2020 Master Gardener trainees complete their service hour requirement. Your sum total volunteer service hours accrued during 2020, 2021, and into 2022 will count towards meeting the service hour requirement and Master Gardener certification. Be alert to your local county program updates as volunteer activities are able to resume. We appreciate your patience and continued participation in the Master Gardener training program. 

Keep note of your volunteer service activities. Volunteer service hours must be reported to your local Master Gardener Extension program for them to count towards Master Gardener certification. Most OSU Extension Master Gardener Programs (except for the Portland Metro counties) use the online Volunteer Reporting System for reporting and tracking volunteer hours. The Portland Metro Area Counties of Clackamas, Washington, and Multnomah use a different system, and will provide a link to report your hours in the fall. 

In 2021, you may have also participated in continuing education programs for your Master Gardener work. These may have included webinars (such as the Growing Oregon Gardeners: Level Up Series) or online classes (such as the Elevated Skills training for Master Gardener volunteers). Or, you may have participated in other continuing education classes, through your local Master Gardener Program. We hope these programs have enriched and supported you in your new role as community garden educators.  

Please check with your local Master Gardener coordinator if you have questions about reporting service hours or continuing education units. 

“I took the Master Gardener training in 2020 and completed both my coursework and my volunteer service hour requirement. Can I be certified as a Master Gardener volunteer?” 

Yes! Individuals who completed their coursework and volunteer service hours will receive (or may have already received) their Master Gardener badge and certificate of completion. Completing your Master Gardener training and certification is a HUGE accomplishment, and particularly so during the challenges of 2020 and 2021. Congratulations, and thank you! We look forward to celebrating your accomplishment. 

“I am a current Master Gardener volunteer but have not been able to recertify during COVID. What do I need to do?” 

Master Gardeners who were certified for the 2020 calendar year will maintain their certification in 2021 and into 2022. We understand that COVID has disrupted our lives in so many ways, including the ability to complete annual recertification requirements (a minimum of 20 hours of volunteer service and a minimum 10 hours of continuing education units per year). 

Even if you have not been able to complete annual recertification requirements, we encourage you to report any volunteer service hours and/or continuing education units that you have been able to complete. 

“Do I need to report my volunteer service and continuing education hours?” 

Yes. Reporting your Master Gardener Program service hours and continuing education is very important. It helps us to know that you are still interested in engaging with the Master Gardener Program, and pursuing your Master Gardener certification. As we open Master Gardener certification opportunities to new trainees in 2022, your reporting helps us to ensure that you will be first in line for volunteer service opportunities. Reporting also helps us to communicate the impact and value of the program to local, university, and statewide decision makers, and to make the case for funding in counties with active Master Gardener volunteers. 

Please check with your local Master Gardener coordinator if you have questions about reporting service hours or continuing education units. 

“I heard that OSU will require vaccines for faculty, staff, and students. What about volunteers? Do I need to be vaccinated and/or report that I have been vaccinated?” 

OSU Extension Service encourages all community members to get vaccinated.  The more people are vaccinated the better the outlook for getting back to community volunteer activities. For more information please see: https://extension.oregonstate.edu/community-vitality/coronavirus.  

At this time there is not an expectation to require volunteers to be vaccinated. However, administrators are expected to have more discussion about this over the next few weeks. If new details are added to the OSU vaccination requirement, that affect Master Gardener volunteers, we will be sure to communicate them as soon as we know more. 

“Given the CDC’s latest guidance for individuals who have been fully vaccinated, do I have to wear a face covering or mask while participating in face to face Master Gardener volunteer activities?” 

In short, and at this time, the answer is ‘yes’. The information, below, is excerpted from a recent email from OSU’s Coronavirus Response Coordinator, Dan Larsen: 

Oregon State University must continue to adhere to current Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (OSHA) guidelines and rules requiring the use of face coverings. 
   
You likely know that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) announced Thursday that fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear a face covering or physically distance, except where required by state or other jurisdictions’ laws, rules and regulations. Gov. Kate Brown followed the CDC’s announcement Thursday sharing that businesses in Oregon could stop requiring face coverings and social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated. 
  
We do share your excitement in the updates provided by Governor Brown and the CDC, and we are eager to support those who are fully vaccinated in being able to engage in activities with fewer requirements and restrictions. For now, we must wait, as OSU’s Safety & Success policies must be in alignment with existing Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) guidance, as well as OHA and HECC guidance for higher education, and OHSA workplace rules
   
Additionally, once we receive updated guidance on how OSU can extend the benefits of reduced face covering requirements and restrictions, we will thoughtfully evaluate our current policies and enforcement measures, and will communicate any changes and updates with employees, students and stakeholders. We do anticipate that some environments within the university may continue to require use of face coverings through the end of spring term. 

Dan Larson email to OSU Community Members on May 14, 2021.

Master Gardener Program Response to President Alexander’s Resignation

Dear OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteers and Staff,

Over the past few weeks, information regarding Oregon State University President F King Alexander’s leadership over Title IX at Louisiana State University and subsequent information shared about Title IX and the handling of sexual violence and misconduct has been shared through the issuing of a report by the Husch Blackwell law firm. The OSU Board of Trustees has engaged and heard from extensive public comments and communications, conducted public discussions with President Alexander, and has issued a probationary period while further information is gathered. On Friday, March 19th, the Faculty Senate called for a vote of no confidence in President Alexander and called upon him to resign. The OSU Board of Trustees announced President Alexander’s offer of resignation Tuesday, March 23rd.

This has resulted in an array of emotions, questions, and concerns from many within the OSU community. During this tumultuous time, in what has already been an extremely tumultuous past year, I look to our gardening community of volunteers for grounding and clarity.

This is a good time to reflect upon the guiding values of the Master Gardener program:

  • We are connected to Oregon State University, and use both science and local knowledge to inform our community engagement, educational outreach, and horticultural expertise. We strive to make the resources of Oregon State University accessible to all and inspire and encourage lifelong curiosity and learning through continued scientific exploration and discovery.
  • We are connected to our local communities, and their needs drive the work of our program. We are inclusive, where everyone is welcome, respected, valued and supported. We know that collaboration and partnership with our communities, community organizations, and neighbors make us stronger and that together, we create positive change.
  • We are connected to our earth, and strive for stewardship and sustainability through horticultural best practices and a conscientious approach to volunteer work in alignment with our program priorities. We aim to improve not only the lives of the people within our communities, but also the land which sustains us, and future generations.
  • We are driven by a sense of fun, wonder and curiosity for the natural world and a commitment of service to our local communities.

At the heart of the Master Gardener program are our volunteers, and your health and safety are our highest commitment. More than 75% of Master Gardener volunteers are women. Many of our volunteers come to the program from school experiences and careers in the workforce prior to the landmark passage of the Title IX civil rights law in 1972. Events and news like what we’ve heard at OSU these past few weeks can bring up many painful memories and personal experiences, both for victims and their family and friends.

OSU Extension and the Master Gardener program unequivocally stand in support of survivors of sexual violence and sexual harassment. We are committed to creating safe spaces for our colleagues and the youth, adults and communities we serve and work with, including our volunteers. We will not tolerate discrimination, misogyny, harm or violence of any sort within our program and the communities in which we serve.

If you experience or witness sexual misconduct, discrimination, harassment, bullying, or retaliation in any capacity as an OSU Extension Master Gardener, please report it to OSU’s Equal Opportunity and Access Office: https://eoa.oregonstate.edu/. Your local Master Gardener coordinator, and myself, are personal resources for reporting as well.

You’ll hear more from us in the coming week as we look to the future and see glimmers of hope for returning to our work together. The daffodils have begun to bloom here in the Willamette Valley, and I know spring is here.

More soon,

Gail Langellotto | Statewide Coordinator, OSU Extension Master Gardener Program | Professor of Horticulture, Oregon State University

Bee hoovering near a daffodil. Photo credit: Betsy Hartley.

2020 Master Gardener Impact Report

I am beyond proud to share with you the 2020 Impact Report of the OSU Extension Master Gardener Program. Working on the report, and reading about the real difference that Master Gardeners made in their communities during a difficult year made my heart swell with hope and happiness. I hope that you will feel a measure of pride, reading about the great work of your Master Gardener colleagues across the state.

Photo Description. A Master Gardener hauls weeds in a pull cart, at a Master Gardener demonstration garden in the Portland Metro region. The Master Gardener is wearing a face covering, which were required for in person volunteerism during the COVID restrictions of 2020. Photo courtesy of John Jordan.

Perhaps more than any other year in recent history, gardens provided food, solace, and hope. Even more than that, gardens truly became tools of economic security and resilience, and it will be our challenge in 2021 and beyond to ensure that ALL gardeners and potential gardeners have access to the gifts of gardening.

To put things in a broader perspective, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and summer wildfires exerted stress on multiple pressure points related to the economic and food security of U.S. households: more people reported being in need of food aid and more people (including, but beyond those in need of food aid) reported being concerned about food access. In April of 2020, the unemployment rate jumped 10.3 percentage points to 14.7%, in what represented the single largest monthly increase since the employment statistics have been tracked (US Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020). Local and national news media reported surges in demand for food aid from food banks and food pantries across the United States. In addition, reports of disruptions to global food production and distribution chains, compelled the FDA (2020) and the USDA (Johansson 2020) to respond to public concern and fear related to food shortages.

The United States has a long history of turning to gardening in times of national emergency, starting with the Victory Garden movements of WW I (Hayden-Smith 2014) and WWI II (Lawson 2014). ‘Recession gardens’ followed the great recession of 2008, with more than 43 million households reporting an intention to grow their own food in 2009, which was a 19% increase from the previous year (NGA 2009). In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, University Extension Services across the nation saw large increases in the number of people who are seeking information on growing their own food.

This is exactly what OSU Extension saw in 2020. We saw a 67% increase in the number of people submitting questions on OSU’s Ask an Expert Service. We saw a 125% increase in the number of people who ‘liked’ us on Facebook. We saw a 2,806% increase in the number of people signing up for online gardening courses!

In 2020, Master Gardener volunteers were needed more than ever ~ and you rose to the challenge in many different innovative and profoundly moving ways. Thank you.

Special thanks to everyone who contributed photos, stories, and statistics for the impact report, and extra special thanks to LeAnn Locher for helping the stories come to life with such a beautiful design.