Dirt! The Movie: Gail’s Answers to Questions for Reflection

Yesterday, Oregon State University (OSU) kicked off their 41st annual Martin Luther King, Jr. commemoration event. For the fourth consecutive year, the OSU Extension Master Gardener program hosted a commemoration event. A total of 174 people, from Oregon to Brooklyn, NYC attended a screening of Dirt! The Movie. For the second year in a row, the College of Agricultural Sciences Dean, Dr. Staci Simonich, attended the event.

In advance of the movie, we shared three questions that we asked attendees to reflect upon during the movie. In an effort to spur discussion, I wanted to share my answers to these three questions. I invite you to share your answers, in the comments section of this blog post.


Question #1: Dirt! The Movie demonstrates some of the unjust systems surrounding agriculture and how our most impoverished communities are most greatly impacted. How is this seen in your region of Oregon? Who are some of these communities being impacted?

Gail’s Answer to Question #1: In the movie, we saw the stories of farmers who moved from regenerative agricultural practices to a resource-extractive approach to agriculture. The switch left soils depleted, and in extreme cases resulted in desertification, or the degradation of soil properties such that they can no longer sustain life. With soils depleted, farming families moved to urban areas in search of work. However, a lack of jobs and opportunities often resulted in many families from this urban to rural migration ending up in slums.

In truth, I had a hard time connecting this aspect of the movie to what I have seen in Oregon. I could connect it to events of the past, such as the Dust Bowl, which was catalyzed by a decade long drought in the 1930s, farming submarginal lands, and economic conditions that caused farmers to abandon soil conservation practices to reduce costs. The loss of livelihoods, caused millions of people to migrate west in search of work. The hopelessness of the situation was deftly and artfully captured by John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath.

But then I started thinking about the prolonged drought across vast regions of the west. There’s also drought and an increased frequency of dust storms in the Midwest, which have caused some to suggest that we need to brace for Dust Bowl 2.0. Impoverished communities are known to be at highest risk when extreme weather or natural disaster strikes, which we have seen again and again.

In truth, I think of access to greenspace as a fundamental human right. In the Biophilia hypothesis, E. O. Wilson argues that humans have an innate connection to nature. This idea was expanded upon by Richard Louv, when coined the term ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’, and warned us of the harm that can come when children lose a connection to nature.

The idea that we all benefit from contact with soil and the natural world was touched upon in the movie. Whether it was the ‘GreenTeam’ planting trees in New York City, or gardeners growing vegetables in correctional facilities, many of those interviewed described the healing they felt through gardening.

So I have two major thoughts to this first question. First, we know that plants in the ground can help moderate climate change and extreme weather events. As vegetation mapping is possible, at finer spatial scales, we’re learning that greenery in even the most urbanized of cities can be a powerful tool for moderating carbon emissions. In addition, we know that gardens are powerful tools for moderating stormwater surges, in even the most urbanized of cities. Urban planning for sustainable futures must prioritize green infrastructure.

Second, if access to greenspace is a fundamental human right, as I believe it is, we must continually challenge ourselves within the Extension Master Gardener Program to answer these questions:

  • Where are we working?
  • Who benefits from our work?
  • Who may not have easy access to land, where they can garden?
  • How can we expand or re-envision our work, so that everyone can get their hands in the dirt?

Question #2: The King Center’s 2023 observance is titled “It starts with me.” Master Gardener volunteers are community educators: what responsibility do we have, as individuals and as a collective, to ensure our work strives to remove the inequities of Oregon’s different communities.

Gail’s Answer to Question #2: Many of the folks who attended last night’s movie screening typed ‘I want to be a hummingbird’ (or something similar) into the chat. If you missed last night’s screening, you can view the excerpt where Wangari Maathi tells the story of the hummingbird and the fire, below.

Over the past three years, in particular, I’ve tried to advance equity in the Extension Master Gardener program and equity in the communities that we serve. Perhaps my biggest regret, now that I know that I will be leaving the program, is that I will not be able to do this work as I had previously envisioned. But I’m also eager to do this work in ways I might not have ever imagined, in the past. I’m active on our College’s Culture, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee. I’m co-leading the first Strategic Action Plan for Inclusive Excellence for our College. Through these committees, I’ve learned a lot about the hardships that college students face today. I am eager to continue to grow my knowledge and skills as a teacher, in ways that promote successful and fun learning environments for all.


Question #3: The relationship between dirt and conflict is centered in the movie. Martin Luther King Jr. used the power of words and acts of nonviolent resistance to achieve seemingly-impossible goals. What can gardeners be inspired by knowing this?

Gail’s Answer to Question #3: As an introverted scientist, I long discounted the power of words and imagery to make a difference. Afterall, shouldn’t the outcomes of my statistical tests be all that you need to see? (Joking.)

Having the immense good fortune of working with LeAnn Locher for the past 2 and a half years changed my mind on this matter. Words matter. Over the past few years, we have worked to grow our comfort in conversation around difficult issues. We have embedded equity and inclusion in our programmatic vision and values. We have prioritized cultural connection as an important are of work in the garden. [You can read more about our mission, vision, values, and priorities, here.]

But even the most moving of words are meaningless, without effective follow through. And this is where I challenge you, dear gardeners. Think about what dirt means to you. Think about how you can grow a love for gardening, wildlife, soils, and the natural world in others ~ not by heavy-handed instruction, but by actively listening and meeting people where they are. From the garden-curious, to those ready to hit the ground running but without easy access to a garden plot or materials, to those who have gardened for many years and in many places ~ the biggest and greatest calling of Extension Master Gardener Programs (in my opinion) is to make this world a better place by growing more gardeners.

If access to greenspace is a fundamental human right . . . everyone who has the desire to do so should be able to access and grow a garden.


If you’ve made it this far in the post, I would love to hear your thoughts on the three questions that were posed, or on the movie screening. Please feel free to leave a comment on this post. Note that we moderate comments, to keep spam posts off of this blog. Once we have a chance to review a comment and ensure it is not spam (even if it is a negative comment!) we approve posting.

A call to action for gardeners: Dirt! The Movie screening

As part of OSU’s 41st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration 2023, the OSU Extension Master Gardener program is proud to host an online movie screening of Dirt! The Movie.

When: Monday, January 16th at 3:00 pm

Where: online at https://kosmi.app/bllb9i

We’ll be screening the movie online with an opportunity to chat with other attendees throughout the movie. No registration required. Free.
 
About Dirt! The Movie
Made from the same elements as the stars, plants and animals, and us, “dirt is very much alive.” Though, in modern industrial pursuits and clamor for both profit and natural resources, our human connection to and respect for soil has been disrupted. “Drought, climate change, even war are all directly related to the way we are treating dirt.”
DIRT! the Movie—directed and produced by Bill Benenson and Gene Rosow and narrated by Jaime Lee Curtis—brings to life the environmental, economic, social and political impact that the soil has. It shares the stories of experts from all over the world who study and are able to harness the beauty and power of a respectful and mutually beneficial relationship with soil.
DIRT! the Movie is simply a movie about dirt. The real change lies in our notion of what dirt is. The movie teaches us: “When humans arrived 2 million years ago, everything changed for dirt. And from that moment on, the fate of dirt and humans has been intimately linked.” But more than the film and the lessons that it teaches, DIRT the Movie is a call to action.

Three questions for attendees to reflect upon prior to the movie:

  1. Dirt! The Movie demonstrates some of the unjust systems surrounding agriculture and how our most impoverished communities are most greatly impacted. How is this seen in your region of Oregon? Who are some of these communities being impacted?
  2. The King Center’s 2023 observance is titled “It starts with me.” Master Gardener volunteers are community educators: what responsibility do we have, as individuals and as a collective, to ensure our work strives to remove the inequities of Oregon’s different communities.
  3. The relationship between dirt and conflict is centered in the movie. Martin Luther King Jr. used the power of words and acts of nonviolent resistance to achieve seemingly-impossible goals. What can gardeners be inspired by knowing this?

About OSU’s 41st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration 2023

The annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration is the longest-running annual event at Oregon State University focused on social justice and transformative change. The commemoration objectives are:

  • Learn about and reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. King and collaboratively envision ways to carry forward his work;
  • Participate in an impactful, inclusive and engaging celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. King; and
  • Collaboratively learn about and reflect on the legacy of Dr. King in a way that is relevant in today’s context.

OSU Extension Master Gardeners Statewide Trivia Tournament

Open to Master Gardeners throughout Oregon this fall and winter, join us once a month for an evening of multiple choice trivia, all online. With 50 questions per session, learn about timely gardening topics, have fun, and earn valuable prizes.

Each session is good for one Continuing Education Credit in the Master Gardener program.

How it works

Register below for each night you plan to play. Then the night of the event, join via Zoom, and play along via the trivia app “Slido” on your phone or computer. Instructions will be sent upon registration.

There are prizes

  • Valuable prizes each session!
  • 1st place: $100 gift certificate*
  • 2nd place: $50 gift certificate*
  • 3rd place $25 gift certificate

*Gift certificates to mail-order garden companies in the PNW such as Territorial Seed Company, Conifer Kingdom, Heirloom Roses, Noname Nursery, etc. Winners will receive gift certificates approximately one week after each event.

The whole schedule (separate registration for each):

Questions? Contact Nicole Sanchez at nicole.sanchez@oregonstate.edu 

What does it mean to garden in community?

Photo courtesy Centro Latino Americano

For the Latinx and immigrant community in Lane county, gardening in community means connecting in the 7 community gardens and growing organic produce together. At an upcoming webinar by the Lane County Master Gardener Association, learn how Centro Latino Americano (formerly Huerto de la Familia) provides services and support for this great initiative, and how gardeners are teaching new gardeners in the garden. Leaders from the organization will share insight into community building through gardening, lessons learned, and examples of community engagement.

Come learn how the Lane County Master Gardener Association has fostered this important community relationship and helped to take a behind-the-scenes role in supporting Centro Latino Americano’s work.

Tuesday, September 20th, 6:30-7:30 pm. Online webinar.

Master Gardener volunteers and program coordinators across the state are invited and encouraged to attend. Read more about the event, and register for the webinar.

Events and communications working group

This is the second in a series of posts sharing the work of the first cohort of the Master Gardener Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Taskforce. See overview for general information and background. 

Celebrating and centering diversity, equity and inclusion was the focus of this working group. They identified areas to raise the recognition of DEI by communicating through events, highlighting the diversity of gardeners, and celebrating themes of inclusion and equity in our social media.

While most of the work of the other working groups was behind the scenes, the work in this committee was public-facing. It recognized the importance of consistently communicating the program’s recognition, celebration, and representation of diversity among gardeners.  

Events

Movie: Gather, followed by a discussion with Dr. Samantha Chisholm Hatfield and Dr. David Lewis (online). Attended live by 1,100. 

Movie: The Ants and the Grasshopper, followed by a discussion with Vivek Shandas (online). Attended live by 500.Talk:

Abra Lee talk, “The future is in our hands.” (online). Attended live by 600.  

Project: The Culture of Gardening

Gardening provides a safe space for reflection, a connection to heritage, and a celebration of identity. But popular culture and the horticultural industry have historically left many voices out. The Culture of Gardening storytelling initiative creates a space for all to feel seen and heard — and share the experiences that mean the most to them. Created in April 2021 through the OSU Extension Master Gardener DEI Taskforce, the Culture of Gardening is a collection of personal stories gathered through interviews by a small team of Master Gardener faculty and volunteers, presented as an OSU Extension blog, and then distributed through social media. Each story is shared in the interviewee’s exact words to preserve authenticity. Topics include gardening as a source of healing, foods passed on from generation to generation, family history, connection to community, and more.  The goals for the project include amplifying diverse voices in gardening and highlighting cultural connections to growing a plant. The work demonstrates and centers on the importance of gardeners and gardening to connect inter-and cross-culturally and to honor and attract a more diverse group of Master Gardener volunteers. The project demonstrates “diversity in action.”  Some posts include recipes used in the preparation of food grown in the gardens, ranging from a grandmother’s gyoza recipe using homegrown Nira, to raita made with homegrown cucumbers.  Short quotes from the full stories shared on the blog are posted in social media, along with photos, linking to the full stories on the blog.  

The stories we share in the Master Gardener program are an important representation of who is seen as gardeners in the community: these stories ensure representation of a vital and growing demographic of gardeners connecting to themselves, community, culture, and ancestors, all through the beauty of gardening.  

  • Website: 18 posts, 1,552 views, 866
  • Facebook: each post reaches approx. 5,500 and engages 150-500. The current reach is 168,000. 8 posts have been made on Facebook.
  • Instagram: The current reach on Instagram is 8,700. Additional posts are made to Stories, and one Instagram Live event was broadcast. 

This is an ongoing project, engaging volunteers, faculty, and staff in sharing these stories. It was identified as a major example of diverse representation in OSU Extension communications. In addition, it was featured in OSU Office of Institutional Diversity’s magazine Taking Action, a publication that aims to highlight the rich diversity of equity work at the university. 

Heritage months and identity recognitions

Celebrating the history and contributions of historically marginalized identities offers the opportunity for our community of gardeners to learn more about the people, traditions, history, and current experiences within our communities. A calendar was created and adopted to communicate through the year in our social media channels. These include months celebrating Black history (February), women’s history (March), Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage (May), Pride (June), Hispanic heritage, and Native American heritage (November). Social media posts were published, generating celebration and discussion, and many expressed gratitude for the recognition. 

This is the second in a series of posts sharing the work of the first cohort of the Master Gardener Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Taskforce. See overview for general information and background. 

Buy Plants = Support Gardening Education!

Photos courtesy of Incredible Edibles plant sale, Portland

We’re back! Master Gardener association plant sale season is here!

19 Master Gardener associations across Oregon are organizing plant sales, which means it’s likely you have access to some of the best plants suited for your region.

When you buy plants from Master Gardener associations, you’re helping to support gardening education of the OSU Extension Master Gardener program in your area. Veggies? We’ve got you.

Annuals? We’ve got you.

Native plants? Yep.

Find a plant sale near you with the listing on our website. See you at a plant sale soon!

Master Gardeners join 40th anniversary of OSU’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service exploring the intersection of climate change and social justice

Gardeners in Oregon saw what climate change looks like last summer: widespread leaf scorch and leaf drop from trees, bees at risk from heat stress, and plants succumbing to a record-breaking “heat dome”. Dr. Vivek Shandas saw it too, and on the hottest day of the year he set out with his son to measure air and ground temperatures in some of Portland’s most vulnerable communities. His research on climate adaptation and climate justice shows that how people fare during extreme heatwaves is in large part dictated by where they live. Halfway around the globe, Anita Chitaya lives with climate change in Malawai, as a farmer and community activist. She traveled to America to speak with farmers, growers, community organizers, and politicians about climate change and how we can work together to reduce its rapid trajectory. 

Movie and Discussion: The Ants and the Grasshopper, and a climate change discussion for gardeners with Vivek Shandas

Join us for the 40th anniversary of OSU’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, when we will gather virtually to reflect upon environmental justice as a component to achieving social justice.  We will watch the documentary that chronicles Anita Chitaya’s story, “The Ants and the Grasshopper”. Afterward, stay for a live discussion with Dr. Vivek Shandas about climate change effects on vulnerable communities, the intersection of climate change and social justice, and what role gardeners can play to promote healthier living environments for all.


When: Monday, January 17, 2022, 6pm movie, 7:15 pm discussion
Where: Online, via Kinema


About the movie, The Ants and the Grasshopper : How do you change someone’s mind about the most important thing in the world? Anita Chitaya has a gift: she can change farmers’ minds about what to grow, she can change what people love to eat, and she can even persuade men to fight for gender equality. Now, to save her home in Malawi from extreme weather, she faces her greatest challenge: persuading Americans that climate change is real.

About Dr. Vivek Shandas: Vivek Shandas is a Professor in the College of Urban and Public Affairs at Portland State University. His work focuses on developing strategies for addressing the implications of climate change on cities. His teaching and research examine the intersection of exposure to climate-induced events, governance processes, and planning mechanisms. As the Founder and Director of the Sustaining Urban Places Research (SUPR) laboratory at PSU, he brings a policy-relevant approach to research, including the evaluation of environmental stressors on human health, developing of indicators and tools to improve decision making, and the construction of frameworks to guide the growth of urban regions. Over the past several years, research from the SUPR Lab has appeared in the Smithsonian Magazine, National Public Radio, Washington Post, Minnesota Public Broadcasting, NY Times, Qatar Times, and several other national and international media.

About this event: The OSU Extension Master Gardener program is sponsoring this event as one small part of OSU’s 40th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Celebration. This event is open to all gardeners, including Master Gardener volunteers, and is intended to provide an opportunity to reflect on Dr. King’s legacy, and our programmatic commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as climate change. 

How to access this event: Tickets are free but require registration. Once you register at Kinema you’ll be provided sign-in information from Kinema. You must view the movie and discussion through Kinema at the time this event is scheduled.

While this event is in the evening, Master Gardeners are encouraged to use their day of service.

Here are some ideas:

  • Make your commitments for the year to teach and reach gardeners who are underserved by our services
  • Make seed tape or mason bee houses to donate to your local community garden or school garden
  • If your Master Gardener Association hosts an annual plant sale, include plant donations to your local community garden or school garden in your propagation plans
  • For Master Gardener coordinators and local association leadership, connect to your local SNAP-Ed educator in your Extension office and ask “What can we do?” 
  • Commit to supporting your local SNAP-Ed educator in every county, as a support to our joint Food Hero and Grow This! program.
  • Commit to planning a workshop that broadens community outreach. Plan for an event with childcare in conjunction with a community partner whose work you want to support.
  • Make plans and commitments for 2022 to explore the connection of gardeners to combat climate change as a form of environmental justice. Explore the intersection of those most vulnerable to climate change and climate change, and what gardeners can do to better connect these.  

What are your ideas as gardeners for being of service to community on MLK Day?  We’d love to hear them. 

And the winners of the 2021 Master Gardener volunteer photo contest are…

Thank you to everyone who participated in our first ever Master Gardener Photo Contest! We are so grateful for the time and intention you made through connecting your art to the program’s priorities and values.

And the winners are…

Category: Place
The places of Master Gardeners: beauty shots of demonstration and learning gardens. What would you put on the cover of a travel magazine featuring demonstration gardens?

First place: Denise Saunders, Benton County

Photographer notes: This is from the Benton County Master Gardener’s Demonstration Garden.

Notes from the judges: This photo tells a story of abundance and what can come from a well-tended garden, and from a demonstration garden. Specifically noting the incredible yield, and in a beautiful photo with diagonal lines, and wonderful contrasting colors. There’s also a sense of fun, realness and simplicity to this photo that we really love!

Second place: Geoff Puryear, Douglas County

Photographer notes: This is a photo taken earlier this year of the Xeriscape Garden at the DCMG Discovery Garden. I am the designer and lead maintainer of this space.

Notes from the judges: This is a beautiful landscape photo with great texture, shape and form, and gorgeous color. This tells such an excellent story about what you can see and learn in a demonstration garden, including the pairing of plants, use of gravel and rocks, and diversity of plants. This photo also ties into the Master Gardener program priority of climate change, demonstrating xeriscaping in the garden.

Category: People
The people (Master Gardeners) in action, fulfilling the program’s mission and vision.

First place: Denise Saunders, Benton County

Photographer’s notes: from the Benton County Master Gardener’s Demonstration Garden

Notes from the judges: Master Gardeners working together: we are stronger as teams! This is also a great photo example of gardening techniques, with mulch, irrigation, and plant support structures in a demonstration garden. The diagonal lines in the plant structure are repeated in the lines of the irrigation and the colors in this photo are what a lovely day to work in the garden is all about: look at that bright blue sky!

Second place: Maryann Keiffer, Klamath County

Notes from photographer: The potatoes, both are from the potato in a bag program, purple fingerlings and red. The tomatoes and cucumbers are from the Master Gardeners plant sale along with the sunflowers which were given to me to plant in the beginning of the season.

Notes from the judges: This is a happy gardener with a successful harvest from the garden—even if we can’t see the smile under the mask, we’re pretty sure there’s one there. So many great angles in this photo, from the gardener’s pose to the lines of the raised bed to the two arching sunflowers that run vertically up the center. Thank you, Maryann for participating in the Grow This! Challenge with our friends at Food Hero and for capturing this great photo of your haul.

Category: Program Priorities
Depictions of any of our eight program priorities:
-Sustainable gardening skills
-Plant and insect identification and education
-Local food
-Native species
-Adaptive and accessible gardening
-Climate change
-Cultural connection
-Soil health

First place: Heidi Nichols, Multnomah County

Notes from the judges: Wow! This photo is one of those magic moments many gardeners experience but don’t always have a camera at the ready. Excellent focus, composition and color combined with clear connection to our program priorities of native species, sustainable gardening, and even local food.

Second place: Donald Lyon, Linn County

Notes from the photographer: Elongated snout of harmful Asparagus beetle (Crioceris asparagi) helps identify it, separate from beneficial ladybug beetle.

Notes from the judges: Careful and close attention to the small things in the garden pay off, and that includes identifying insects. This is a fantastic close-up/macro with great composition, and even captures the insects from two angles, which is so helpful in proper identification. The use of select focus allows the viewer to really concentrate on the elements of the insects, and even the slight angle of the plant adds to this photograph’s overall attractiveness. Check out the texture on those antennae!


Thank you to OSU Extension Communications for supplying prizes for the winners. Also, thank you to the judges who included Ann Marie Murphy of OSU Extension Communications, and 2021 Statewide Behind the Scenes Master Gardener Award winner, Sue Ryburn for joining me in judging.

Finally, thank you to everyone who participated. There were many fantastic photos submitted and if you didn’t enter this year, start collecting your submissions for next year!

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.

The Master Gardener volunteer photo contest is officially open!

“What do Master Gardeners actually do?”

This is a question Master Gardeners get asked a lot. We can answer that question in words, but better yet, let’s answer that question in photos.

OSU Extension Master Gardeners are invited to participate in a statewide photography challenge and contest.
• How can you capture in photos what you love about the Master Gardener program?
• How would you show others what you see about being a Master Gardener?
There will be prizes!

When: The contest is now open. Submissions will be accepted until September 30, 8 p.m. Winners will be announced on October 25th.

There are three categories:

  1. The places of Master Gardeners: beauty shots of demonstration and learning gardens. What would you put on the cover of a travel magazine featuring demonstration gardens?
  2. The people: Master Gardeners in action, fulfilling the program’s mission and vision.
  3. Program priorities: photos depicting any of our eight program priorities:
    -Sustainable gardening skills
    -Plant and insect identification and education
    -Local food
    -Native species
    -Adaptive and accessible gardening
    -Climate change
    -Cultural connection
    -Soil health

Rules and Usage:

  • Photos must be taken during 2020-2021;
  • Photos must be taken by current OSU Extension Master Gardener volunteers;
  • Photos submitted become the rights of the OSU Extension Master Gardener program and may be used in program communications (website and in print). They will not be shared for use by any third party other than OSU. Photographers will be given photo credit.
  • Master Gardeners sign photo use waivers as part of the program, but have the option to opt out. Please obtain approval for the use of their image. For people in any of your photos that *not* Master Gardeners, photo releases must be obtained and submitted. Please use the Model release form;
  • Participants can enter up to five photos per category (total of 15);
  • All entries are to be digital and cannot exceed 10MB each.

How to Submit:

Fill out the form, upload your photos, include any photo releases:

Prizes:
First-place winners in each of the three categories will receive signed, autographed copies of the books Trees to Know, and Shrubs to Know. In addition, an OSU Foods of Oregon reusable tote.

All second-place winners in each of the three categories will receive signed, autographed copies of the book Trees to Know. In addition, an OSU Foods of Oregon reusable tote.

Judging:
Judges will be a small panel of staff from the statewide program, Extension communications, and Master Gardener volunteers.

Tips for taking photos for the Master Gardener photo contest

Equipment:
You don’t need to own expensive nor professional photography equipment to take great photos. Current mobile phone technology is great! It’s how you capture the moment!

How to take great photos of people:
Photography style suggestions from OSU Extension provide good examples:

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Shoot in high resolution mode;
  • Landscape and vertical images are welcome;
  • Photograph people the way they see themselves;
  • Capture people in their element, with clues about who they are surrounding them in the space;
  • Try different set-ups and arrangements: different size groups and different angles and directions;
  • What stops you in your tracks and makes you take in a scene? Capture that;
  • Different angles, from on the ground, or from directly above, make for interesting photos.

Culture and detail:
Sometimes subtle details can show diversity, such as a religious head covering, assistive device or a gender-inclusive sign on a restroom door. Who the camera is focused on can also send a message. Who are you centering your camera on? Photography is a great way to explore all of the people and places of the Master Gardener program. Representation matters.

How to take great photos of a place:
Think big picture:
• Try using portrait mode if you have it available on your phone;
Panoramic mode can be a great way to create a wide or tall shot of a space;
• Drone photography? If you’re a drone photographer and familiar with drone regulations, what about a photo like this or this? Now there’s a challenge.

Ideas for photographs that represent our program priorities:

These might be photos of people, or of places, or of both! How would you show our program priorities to someone asking about the Master Gardener program?

Some examples (but use your imagination)…

  • Sustainable gardening skills: Master Gardeners working together on just about any project in a garden.
  • Plant and insect identification and education: a workshop of people looking at insects, artful photographs of insects or plants submitted to a plant clinic, hands exchanging a plant or insect for identification, Master Gardeners working together at plant clinic, macro (close-up) photograph of a really interesting and common insect (or one we should all be on the lookout for)
  • Local food: vegetable gardens in abundance, produce harvested and arranged in beautiful ways, community members receiving produce grown in a Master Gardener garden
  • Native species: native plants in bloom, invasive plants, invasive species photos
  • Adaptive and accessible gardening: people working in raised beds, a vignette of an accessible garden area in your local demonstration garden
  • Climate change: applying mulch, burned plants, ice storm damage on trees, garden scene with smoky skies, ash on garden produce or leaves, soaker hoses
  • Cultural connection: gardeners with plants or tools that you grow or use as a connection to your culture. For example, salsa gardens, herbs specific to your families’ foods, tools specific to your heritage.
  • Soil health: making compost, compost set ups in a demonstration garden, earthworms in a gardener’s hands, digging, mulch spreading.

Lighting

  • Outdoor lighting is going to be your friend;
  • Avoid using flash or shooting indoors if possible;
  • Seek “magic light” or “golden hour”—this kind of light occurs early in the morning, or in the evening, when the angle of the sun makes gardens and people glow, filling the photograph with warm light;
  • Watch for shadows that obscure faces or key elements of your subjects.

Photo Adjustments
Please don’t use date stamps on your photos, watermarks, frames, or additional art or text on your photos.

We can’t wait to see what you see!