“Who we are” working group

This is the fourth 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.

This subgroup was tasked with understanding who becomes a Master Gardener volunteer, and what is the demographic makeup of the Master Gardener community. To do this, they leveraged available data, from surveys that had been completed in Oregon and other states. The largest and most recent survey results were published by Dorn and colleagues (2018), with nearly 7,500 volunteers and more than 300 program coordinators responding from 35 U.S. states. This survey showed a remarkably consistent lack of racial diversity across the program: 94% of state coordinators, local coordinators, and Master Gardener volunteers identified as white. Most coordinators and volunteers (>70%) identified as female, and 64% of volunteers were retired.

The group also utilized a survey of Oregon’s Master Gardener volunteers that was conducted in 2008 by Weston Miller and Gail Langellotto (Langellotto-Rhodaback and Miller, 2012). This survey also referenced demographic data of the Oregon Master Gardener program, collected by McNeilan (1992, unpublished) and Kirsch and VanderZanden (2001). Interestingly, across all survey years (1992, 2001, and 2008), the racial makeup of Oregon’s Master Gardener volunteers was 95% white. However, there was a shift towards older and away from young Master Gardener volunteers across the three surveys. For example, individuals aged 50 and older represented 65%, 71%, and 74% of respondents in 1992, 2001, and 2007, respectively. Similarly, individuals aged 40 and under represented 16%, 7% and 3% of respondents in 1992, 2001 and 2007, respectively. In 1992, male volunteers made up 42% of Oregon’s Extension Master Gardener volunteer base. In 2001 and 2007, the proportion of male volunteers was 26%.

Contemporary Demographic Data is Needed

Although it was useful for the Cohort I members of the ‘Who Becomes a Master Gardener’ working group to review historical data, they clearly recommended that Cohort II consider doing a new, statewide survey to better understand the current makeup of our Master Gardener community. They suggested that the statewide Master Gardener Program provide assistance with this effort, by paying students to help with survey creation and data analysis. The group suggested that it was important to learn about people’s experiences in the programs, and to conduct exit interviews with volunteers, to understand why people leave.


Ultimately, the subgroup noted that survey data (historical and contemporary) will help us to better drive actions on how to proceed to best support an inclusive and welcoming Master Gardener Program.  Data gathered should include quantitative numbers, but also qualitative text that lets folks describe their experiences and perspectives. 

Bias Incident Training Exercise

In an effort to utilize the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences CARE document (Community Agreements), this subgroup also created a series of bias incidence scenarios that were piloted in two Master Gardener training programs. The intention of the learning exercise is to foster and support a welcoming place for Master Gardener volunteers and the community in which Master Gardeners interact. Feedback was extremely positive from the two counties that piloted the learning exercise in 2022.

Moving forward, this subgroup recommended that we broadly distribute the learning exercise and develop a Tool Kit to help local program coordinators and Master Gardener Associations understand how to incorporate the learning exercise into annual Master Gardener training and Master Gardener Association Board meetings or retreats. The tool kit would be filled with the bias incidence learning scenarios, and additional resources and suggestions for supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion in all levels of the Master Gardener Program.

Creating an Inclusive and Welcoming Community

In addition to the great work that the ‘Who Becomes a Master Gardener’ subgroup accomplished, they also left a series of suggestions for Cohort II of the Master Gardener Diversity Equity, and Inclusion Task Force. These include:

  • Communicate to program leaders, local association leadership, and the OMGA to read and share the posts from this blog.  Spread the word that anyone can subscribe to the blog.
  • Establish direct lines of communication with consistent messaging, related to the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts and expectations in the Master Gardener Program.
  • Task Force subgroups should share their work with each other, more regularly, to avoid duplication of efforts, and to better support each group’s efforts. We should take and share meeting minutes.
  • Find and support change agents in local communities. These individuals can help ensure the focus of diversity, equity, and inclusion is integrated into various events/programming.  Apply this lens to all aspects of a local county programs and/or associations. Have designated individuals to act as a change agent at meetings, fundraisers, special events/projects, demonstration garden planning, and more.
  • Support a culture of caring, by reserving  time at Master Gardener gatherings or meetings to celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion. Ideas include developing and sharing a land acknowledgement, discussing pronoun use, sharing plants and recipes of cultural significance, sharing information about important upcoming DEI events, or highlighting relevant resources that support an inclusive environment. 
  • The State-wide Master Gardener program, local programs, and/or associations should create a book club focused on topics of diversity, equity and inclusion. This could create a safe space for learning more and discussing literature in a thoughtful manner and considering how this can be applied to MG work. Discussion could be beyond books/literature, such as  a post on the Culture of Gardening blog.
  • Establish and nourish community partnerships that support equity, inclusion and diversity within the Master Gardener Program and the community. Reach out to other community groups to partner and learn from. Learn from their experience and learn the gritty details needed to establish trust and true partnership. Cohort II could consider adding to the ‘tool kit’ guidance on how to reach out to community organizations, questions to ask, things to consider for mutually supportive relationships. 
  • Recognize good diversity, equity, and inclusion work within the Master Gardener Program. Perhaps the state Master Gardener program or the OMGA could incorporate this type of recognition in their annual awards.
  • Develop resources to support Master Gardener associations in making such changes.  

And the final advice from this Cohort I subcommittee, as Cohort II begins their work:

Stay committed

“There is much work to be done. Maintain dialog. Keep at it. Even when things are uncomfortable, continue forward. Being able to talk about uncomfortable things is important. The experience of doing this work and being part of the cohort is valuable, and we are grateful that you are taking up the charge.”

Master Gardener DEI Taskforce Cohort 1 to Cohort 2

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.

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.

Happy National Volunteer Week! (plus COVID-19 program update)

This year, April 19-25th is National Volunteer Week, and an important time to stop and consider all of the goodness that Master Gardener volunteers bring to this world. The 2019 Annual Report provides an overview of the incredible work that Master Gardener volunteers do across the state of Oregon: 52.5 tons of food donated to food pantries and food banks; support of 29 school gardens, 46 community gardens, and 23 educational gardens; over 200,000 hours volunteered and over 139,000 Oregonians served!

In 2020, and despite the pandemic, Master Gardener volunteers continue to do good things in their communities. Many are individually participating in the Plant a Row for the Hungry campaign by allocating space in their personal garden to grow food for local food banks or soup kitchens. Master Gardeners in Polk and Lincoln Counties have turned the disappointment of cancelled plant sales as an opportunity to donate fresh veggie starts to those in need in the community. The Benton and Linn County Master Gardeners have been teaching Seed to Supper beginning vegetable gardening classes using distance learning. The online Master Gardener short course made their vegetable garden course free, and more than 29,000 have enrolled in less than a month (currently, the number enrolled is passing 31,000). This year, these efforts are needed more than ever, as we’re experiencing disruptions to global food distribution chains, demand is rising at local food banks, and the collective efforts of Master Gardeners to grow food as a group has been upended by the Governor’s Stay Home Save Lives executive order.

I want to take the time to recognize the great work being done by nearly 3,000 Master Gardener volunteers across the state, while also recognizing the incredible hardships that individual volunteers and Master Gardener chapters may be suffering. In February, as I was travelling the state to teach Master Gardener classes, I met so many people who told me how important their volunteer colleagues were to their daily life. In some cases, the Master Gardener shared that they had suffered a huge loss in their life, and how their volunteer colleagues were the ones who were helping them get through a very difficult time. I worry so much about the Master Gardeners who benefit from or depend on the social interactions of our volunteer Program. I encourage Master Gardener volunteers to continue checking on their colleagues and friends from the Program via phone, social media, email, or another safe method that maintains recommended social distancing.

The Oregon Master Gardener Association and its chapters, our 501(c)3 friends, are also grappling with losses. Multiple Master Gardener plant sales, garden fairs, educational events, and other spring gatherings have been cancelled. These events are seen as a harbinger of spring and the unofficial kick-off of the spring gardening season. The funds raised from these events help to fund the many Master Gardener scholarships, grants, and educational outreach programs that are offered across Oregon. It remains to be seen how these losses will affect the philanthropy and outreach of the Oregon Master Gardener Association and its affiliate chapters.

The good news is that I have yet to hear of a Master Gardener volunteer, faculty member, or staff member who has suffered serious illness as a result of COVID-19. I hope that is indeed the case, and that you all are staying healthy and safe.

The other good news is that our Governor has shared a plan to reopen Oregon, that includes several benchmarks she would like to see met.

On the flip side, the bad news is that the Master Gardener Program remains in a holding pattern: continuing our suspension of face-to-face activities, meetings, and events until the Governor lifts of modifies EO 20-12. I know that this is disappointing to many, including me. But, the Master Gardener Program is aligned with Oregon State University, and as a state agency, OSU is strongly encouraging everyone to Stay Home, Save Lives.

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the Stay Home, Save Lives order for many Master Gardener volunteers is what this has meant for plant care in Master Gardener-tended gardens and greenhouses. We are working with Master Gardener faculty and staff to try and ensure that watering is provided to plants on OSU property. For gardens and greenhouses that are not OSU property, such as at county fairgrounds or on community college property, OSU is adhering to the current policies of our partner organizations. And in many cases, our partners have closed their facilities to the public and have severely restricted who can visit or work on their property. Even if the property might be open, we are still unable to greenlight face-to-face Master Gardener program volunteer activities, until EO 20-12 is modified or lifted.

I truly am grateful for all of the great work that Master Gardener volunteers do across the state, and I’m PROUD of the way that Master Gardener volunteers have responded to hardship with generous, ingenious, and creative ways to give back to their community during this pandemic.

I hope that one small silver lining might be that you have more time to work on your personal garden or to tend to your houseplants. And, if you don’t have a personal garden or houseplants to tend, I hope that you have been able to get out into the beautiful Oregon weather that we have been having, to enjoy the sunshine and the beauty of local trees, shrubs, and birds. Most of all, I hope that you stay safe and healthy, and that I get to see all of my Master Gardener friends in person, very, very soon.

Take care,

Gail Langellotto, OSU Extension Master Gardener Coordinator

My own garden is definitely getting more attention this year, compared to most. Happy gardening to all!

Spring 2018 Gardener’s Pen Newsletter

April 2018 Gardener’s Pen Newsletter

Have you read the latest issue of the Gardener’s Pen? This publication is from the Oregon Master Gardener Association, in cooperation with OSU Extension Service.

This issue has information on the Growing Gardeners (G2) conference, OMGA Grants and Awards, and six tips to reduce your pesticide use.

Please make sure to share with your Master Gardener colleagues and friends.

A preview of the April 2018 Issue. Please click on the hyper-texted link at the top of this post, to access the full issue.

It’s Master Gardener Awards Season!

Please remember ~ the deadline for submitting most (all?) Master Gardener award nominations is coming up..

The awards that may be submitted include:

Due May 15th

Due June 1st

More information on Master Gardener awards and grants may be found at: http://omga.org/programs-and-awards/

Where Do Your Order Certificates, Badges, Stickers?

Certificates can be ordered by contacting Lee Ann Julson, in the Horticulture Department Office at OSU. There are four types of certificates that are available:

  • Certificates of Appreciation: to thank program supporters in the community
  • Certificates of Home Horticulture: for those who successfully complete the training class, but did not complete volunteer service hours, and are thus not certified Master Gardeners
  • Master Gardener Recertification: for veteran Master Gardeners who complete recertification requirements (minimum of 10 hours of continuing education and 20 hours of volunteer service)
  • Master Gardener Certificate of Completion: for those who complete the training class and volunteer service hours. These individuals also receive a Master Gardener badge.

Badges are ordered from A to Z Engraving. Use this form, and email to Gary Nelson (gnelson217@sbcglobal.net).

A to Z Engraving, Co. Inc., 1150 Brown Street, Wauconda IL 60084

847-526-7396 | 847-526-7399 (fax)

Recertification stickers (for badges) may be ordered from Gail.

New Master Gardener Certificates!

The new Master Gardener certificates have been finalized! They will soon be ready for your use. You may order by emailing Lee Ann Julson in the Department of Horticulture.  Please specify how many you need, and when you need them.  Make sure to order early!

We still have a large supply of the older Certificates of Appreciation. I am going to wait until we run down this supply, before order the updated Certificates of Appreciation.

The Master Gardener Certificate of completion should be used for trainees who successfully complete their coursework, final exam, and volunteer service hours.

The Master Gardener Recertification should be used, when current Master Gardeners complete their annual continuing education units and volunteer service hours, to remain a certified Master Gardener.

 

Certificates of Home Horticulture are given to individuals who complete the Master Gardener coursework, an pass a comprehensive final exam. Service hours are not required for a Certificate of Home Horticulture. Because there is no service hour requirement, the recipients are not Master Gardeners.

Certificates of Appreciation are used to thank our friends and supporters in the community. Currently, we have a very large supply of the older certificates in stock. I will need to wait until we run this supply down, before ordering the updated certificates.