Overview of the Master Gardener Program Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Celebration and Discussion

This year, the OSU Extension Master Gardener Program is sponsoring an evening discussion on January 18, 2021 from 7pm-8pm, as one small part of OSU’s 39th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Celebration. This Zoom event is open to Master Gardener volunteers, and is intended to provide an opportunity to reflect on Dr. King’s legacy, and our programmatic commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

How the Discussion Will Work

The discussion will be divided into three parts:

  • We will start with introductions and housekeeping tasks. Since this event is being hosted as a meeting, and not a webinar, we want to make sure that folks understand how to mute and unmute their microphone, ask a question or add a comment, where to go for technical help, etc. If you are new to using Zoom, you may want to join a test meeting, to practice using video and audio, before the event.
We will start the meeting by going over the different ways that you can engage with the group during the meeting.
  • We will then present a series of five questions to the group, and will ask you to share your perspectives. We’ll first direct everyone to an electronic bulletin board that we’ve pre-populated with the questions, so that everyone has a chance to share. A benefit of this approach is that it takes away some of the awkwardness of speaking up in a Zoom meeting with many folks in attendance. An added benefit is that you will also have a chance to read how others respond. After taking a few moments to share, we’ll reconvene as a group, and reflect upon and discuss the question, with the broader knowledge of how individuals across the group responded.
  • We will end with a call to action. We will share some of the great work being done by our Master Gardener colleagues in Rhode Island, and invite you to consider how you might bring some of these efforts into your own work as a Master Gardener volunteer.

Expectations for Civil Dialogue in Community Spaces

During our discussion, we will be adhering to some basic ground rules for civil discussion. These include:

  • Sharing time equitably to ensure the participation of all.
  • Listening carefully and not interrupt.
  • Keeping an open mind and be open to learning.
  • Respond to differences respectfully.

In addition, it can be helpful to review the differences between debate and dialogue, and to truly focus on the opportunities that dialogue spaces can offer. As one of my friends has said: “Listening is a super power. Trust and relationships can make almost anything possible.” (Claire Horner-Devine).

Debate DialogueDialogue
is oppositional: two sides oppose each other
and attempt to prove each other wrong.
is collaborative: two or more sides work together towards common understanding.
has winning as the goal.has finding common ground as the goal.
lets one side listen to the other side in order to find flaws and to counter its arguments.lets one side listen to the other side to understand.
defends assumptions as the truthreveals assumptions for reevaluation.
causes critique of the other position.causes introspection of one’s own position.
defends one’s own positions as the best solution and excludes other solutions.opens the possibility of reaching a better solution than any of the original solutions.
Creates a closed-minded attitude, a determination to be right.creates an open-minded attitude, an openness to being wrong and an openness to change.
prompts a search for glaring differences.prompts a search for basic agreements.
involves a countering of other position without focusing on feelings or relationship and often belittles or deprecates the other person.involves a real concern for the other person and does not seek to alienate or offend.
Appendix A2 in the US Department of Justice Community Dialogue Guide.

I look forward to seeing some of you at our discussion on January 18th, and thank you for all of the work that you do as Master Gardener volunteers.

Elevated Skills Training for Current Master Gardener Volunteers

Ready to gather new skills to elevate your Master Gardener volunteerism? Through Elevated Skills Trainings, Master Gardeners will learn how to use new tools for garden plant ID, advance your zoom or social media skills, and learn about community science within the Master Gardener program, as just a few examples. We’ll be using an online training tool named Thinkific, which is the same platform we’ve used to deliver the COVID Safety Training and the Celebrate Master Gardener Week. Each week, a new lesson will open for you to work through, on your own time, and at your own pace. Each lesson is optional: you can take whichever ones interest you. Once a lesson is open it will remain open for the rest of 2021, meaning you can take it at any time.

WHENlate January-late March 2021
WHEREonline learning platform Thinkific
WHOCurrent Master Gardeners (including 2020 trainees)
HOWTake one or take all.
COSTFree

Currently Scheduled

The schedule, below, represents the day that lesson will open for your use. Dates are subject to change. Any changes will be noted here.

January 22nd: Overview of Thinkific and the 2021 Elevated MG Skills Training
January 29th: Zoom Basics
January 29th: Advanced Zoom
February 5th: iNaturalist for Master Gardener Volunteers
February 5th: Garden Plant ID with the OSU Landscape Plants Database
February 12th: Best Practices for Online Plant Clinic
February 12th: Using the Extension Client Contact Database to Improve Plant Clinic Responses
February 19th: Taking Your Master Gardener Social Media to the Next Level
February 26th: Best Practices in Youth Gardening Programs
February 26th: Superpower Your Educational Garden
March 5th: Community Science and the Master Gardener Program
March 12th: Showcase Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Efforts in Other States
March 12th: OSU Extension’s Diversity Training for Volunteers
March 19th: Building Community Partnerships to Broaden Outreach
March 25th: Recipes for a Collaborative Community

Read more about plans for 2021, including additional event and trainings.

Getting ready for 2021: the OSU Extension Master Gardener program

As 2020 comes to a close, we are glad to be looking forward and seeing light in the new year and path ahead. Gardeners are resilient, and that includes OSU Extension Master Gardener volunteers. So let’s look at an overview of what’s coming to the OSU Extension Master Gardener program in 2021.


Growing Oregon Gardeners: Level Up Series

This monthly Zoom series kicks off in January, offering education led by OSU horticulture experts for the experienced gardener. Take your gardening knowledge to the next level with timely topics ranging from gardening in a changing climate to techniques to extend your season.

WHENThe second Tuesday of the month, 3pm, January-November 2021
WHEREZoom, with recordings available for you to view anytime
WHOOpen to the public, Master Gardener volunteers receive continuing education credit
HOWTake one or take all. More information, including the list of classes here.
COSTFree

Elevated Skills Training for Current Master Gardener Volunteers

Ready to gather new skills to elevate your Master Gardener volunteerism? Through the Elevated Skills Trainings, Master Gardeners will learn how to use new tools for plant ID, advance your zoom or social media skills, and learn about community science within the Master Gardener program, are just a few examples. We’ll be using an online training tool named Thinkific, which is the same platform we’ve used to deliver the COVID Safety Training and the Celebrate Master Gardener Week. Each week, a new lesson will open for you to work through, on your own time, and at your own pace. Each lesson is optional: you can take whichever ones interest you. Once a lesson is open it will remain open for the rest of 2021, meaning you can take it at any time during the year.

WHENlate January-late March 2021
WHEREonline learning platform, Thinkific
WHOCurrent Master Gardeners (including 2020 trainees)
HOWTake one or take all. More information, including the list of classes here.
COSTFree

OSU Extension Master Gardeners and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Celebration

As part of the University-wide 39th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, OSU Extension Master Gardener volunteers and staff are invited to read, view and reflect upon materials and prompts of inclusion and identity as gardeners and Master Gardeners. A moderated online Zoom discussion will follow.

WHENJanuary 18th, 7pm
WHEREZoom online
WHOOSU Extension Master Gardener volunteers, staff, faculty
HOWRegister online. More information here.
COSTFree

Dr. Angela Davis will be delivering the keynote address for Oregon State University’s 39th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. University-wide celebration. The event is free and open to the public. Register here.


The Culture of Gardening

Let’s explore what gardening means to different people and groups, and how to grow and use plants from a variety of cultures. This new series of blog posts and talks will debut in late spring 2021, with a keynote address by horticulturist Abra Lee on the history of African American gardens and gardeners.

WHENMay 18th + more dates in the series
WHEREZoom online, with recordings available, and this blog
WHOOSU Extension Master Gardener volunteers and the gardening public
HOWMore details to be announced.
COSTFree

Mini-College for OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteers

The Oregon Master Gardener Association is organizing the first all online Mini-College, coming this summer. Plans include an array of classes and workshops for gardeners of all levels.

WHENJuly 16th-17th
WHEREonline
WHOOSU Extension Master Gardener volunteers and the gardening public
HOWMore details to come.

We will post more information and details as they become available. We hope to see many of you in 2021!

Community Science Projects and OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteers

Community science projects, like climate or invasive species tracking, are reliant on observant volunteers, on the ground, able to report back findings. Think about how the Asian Giant Hornet was recently discovered in Washington State: Whatcom County residents served as the eyes and ears alongside scientists to spot, locate, and eventually destroy the nest.

In 2016, we developed guidelines to encourage OSU Master Gardener Volunteers to engage in community science projects and to have those hours count towards volunteer hours. These guidelines require that community science projects must:

  1. Align with the Master Gardener educational mission of discovering and disseminating research-based gardening information,
  2. Advance one of both of the flagship programs of the OSU Extension Master Gardener program: sustainable gardening and/or home and community food production,
  3. Involve participation on one or more levels of the community science typology.  These levels are (from least to most involvement): crowdsourcing, distributed intelligence, participatory science, collaborative science.

The following are Oregon and national community science projects which are approved for indirect volunteer hours with the OSU Extension Master Gardener Program as of 12/2020. You may count your hours as the actual time spent collecting and submitting data.  When reporting volunteer hours associated with participation in approved community science projects, volunteers should report in the category of ‘Citizen Science’ (indirect volunteer hours).

Projects approved for OSU Extension Master Gardener volunteer hours

Project NameDiscipline(s)Sponsoring Organization(s)Website
Oregon Season Trackerclimate monitoring, phenologyOregon State University Extensionhttps://extension.oregonstate.edu/ost
Vegetable Variety TrialshorticultureOregon State University Extensionemail: brooke.edmunds@oregonstate.edu
Forest Pest Detectorsentomology, invasive speciesOregon State Universityhttp://pestdetector.forestry.oregonstate.edu/
eButterflyentomologyOregon State Universityhttp://www.e-butterfly.org/
Oregon Native Bee Atlasentomology, pollinatorsOregon State University, Oregon Department of Agriculturehttps://extension.oregonstate.edu/bee-atlas
The Hazelnut ProjectagronomyOregon State Universityhttps://www.arborday.org/programs/hazelnuts/
Project Budburstplant phenologyNational Ecological Observatory Networkhttp://budburst.org/
Great Backyard Bird CountornithologyNational Audubon Societyhttp://gbbc.birdcount.org/
Hummingbirds at HomeornithologyNational Audubon Societyhttp://www.hummingbirdsathome.org/
iNaturalistbiodiversityCalifornia Academy of Scienceshttp://www.inaturalist.org/
    
Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS)climate monitoringNOAA, Oregon State Universityhttps://www.cocorahs.org/state.aspx?state=or
A Tree’s Lifeclimate change, urban forestryNorth Carolina State Universityhttp://ecoipm.org/a-trees-life/

Want to know if another community science project qualifies for Master Gardener volunteer hours?  Please check with your county MG Coordinator.

Celebrate Master Gardener Week Day 4: What does climate and climate change have to do with being a Master Gardener?

Climate Trackers

I like to think of gardeners as the original storm chasers. We can spot a change in humidity, temperature, scent and know if something is coming, and whether we should cover those tender seedlings, bring in the pots of zonal denial tropicals, or if we need to do an extra watering of the new plantings before tomorrow’s anticipated record high temperatures. A gardener is witness to the climate first hand, and many Master Gardener volunteers use these great skills as front row reporters on climate and climate change as part of the OSU Extension Oregon Season Tracker (OST) citizen science program reporting precipitation with national partner CoCoRaHS (Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network).

Through CoCoRaHS, volunteers of all ages and background in all fifty states participate by measuring and mapping precipitation (rain, hail and snow). They share their precipitation measurements, providing important data for natural resource, education and research applications. Here in Oregon we’ve had over 70 Master Gardener volunteers join Oregon Season Tracker, active and engaged with reporting their precipitation, counting towards their hours of service in the Master Gardener program. 

Rain gauge used by Oregon Season Tracker participants

Shari Bosler, a Master Gardener in the Central Gorge region, collects precipitation data throughout the year. She shares her information with her local Master Gardener chapter, and with more participants sharing their data through the CoCoRaHS network, she’s able to see what’s happening throughout the region. Shari says “It’s been fun to total the amount of snow we receive (though it’s a bit less than fun to be the mad scientist at 7am to melt snow, then measure) using a white board.” But she knows she’s part of a larger network all contributing to capturing good local data for scientists and researchers across the country, and that’s exciting. This summer she learned she had totaled 2,614 observations to the network. 

Master Gardener volunteers make great partners in capturing this data according to Jody Einerson of Oregon Season Tracker (OST) at OSU extension. “OST citizen science volunteers are collecting precipitation and plant phenology data from home that is contributed to databases operated by our national partners,” she says. “MG’s have been a great fit with the OST program, as we share a common interest in plants and weather connections.”  

Gardening Water-Wise

Amy Jo Detweiler, OSU Extension horticulturist and associate professor, also coordinates the Master Gardener Program in Central Oregon. Her publication, Water-wise Gardening in Central Oregon (revised this past June) is a vital resource for successful gardening with little water and includes the seven steps of water-wise gardening, along with planting recommendations from trees to shrubs to ornamental grasses.

“As we continue to see a consistent pattern of drought in the western United States, we need to balance what our home and commercial landscapes can and should look like with a focus on water conservation and water quality. Landscapes add value, beauty, and livability to our homes and communities, and keeping them water-wise is a critical part of being a good steward in our region.”

Water-wise Gardening in Central Oregon

Central Oregon Master Gardener volunteers helped to design, install and now maintain Hollinshead Waterwise Garden in Bend.  They do cross programming with the City of Bend Water Conservation program to deliver classes related to water-wise gardening (in normal years).  Master Gardeners also maintain  water-wise plants at the OSU Demonstration Garden in Redmond.  Both gardens have educational signs that depict water use fire-resistance, irrigation types, etc.  The water-wise materials serve as materials for classes taught by Master Gardener volunteers. 

Wildfires

Almost all of our Master Gardener volunteers felt the effects of wildfires this year, and we know that means our gardens, too. Master Gardener networks fielded queries and responded with science-backed information thanks to materials produced by Brooke Edmunds, OSU Extension Community Horticulturist (and Master Gardener Coordinator) in Linn and Benton Counties and assistant professor (practice) in the OSU Department of Horticulture.  What should I do about the wildfire ash covering my garden? addressed exactly that question, and along with social media materials in English and Spanish, Master Gardener volunteers made sure the information was passed on into communities right when they were needed the most.

Today is Day 4 of Celebrate Master Gardener Week, and we hope you can make it to this evening’s “State of the Statewide Master Gardener Program” talk being given by Gail Langellotto. The presentation will review recent accomplishments and points of pride, current challenges and opportunities, and an overview of what is to come in 2021. And study up for tomorrow night’s Insect Trivia using both Zoom and some technology called Slido. Register here!

Celebrate Master Gardener Week

In a year when we were needed more than ever, Oregon’s Master Gardeners rose to the multiple challenges of 2020 in simply amazing ways. You made it work and took it online. You stayed connected and identified insects, plants, and soil problems all in new ways. When Oregonians needed advice and education like never before, Master Gardeners were there for them. You’ve even mastered the Zoom goodbye wave and how to unmute. You grew more Oregon gardeners than ever before. It’s time to say thank you!

Celebrate Master Gardener Week
October 26-30, 2020

Recognition and celebration of Oregon’s Master Gardener Volunteers

Registration is now open!

Master Gardeners who’ve engaged in our COVID safety training will recognize the platform (Thinkific) we’re using for Master Gardener Week. It’s an easy-to-use online educational platform and all activities for the week will be accessed from here. When signing up you will be prompted for your county and extension program: please use your appropriate county and “Master Gardener” for extension program. Note: some films and discussion have capacity limits

Celebrate Master Gardener Week Schedule
Film Festival
During these dates registered participants will have special VIP access to view three films.
• October 20 – 27, 2020: The Love Bugs
Over the course of 60 years, entomologists Charlie and Lois O’Brien amassed a collection of more than 1 million insects from nearly 70 countries —the largest private collection in the world with a value of $10 million dollars. But as Charlie’s battle with Parkinson’s becomes increasingly pronounced, he and Lois, 90, make the difficult decision to give away their drawers full of iridescent weevils and planthoppers. This humorous and poignant film explores the love of Nature—and the Nature of Love—and what it means to devote oneself completely to both.
• October 21-28, 2020: Land Grab: The Movie
Land Grab is the story of an eccentric finance mogul’s dream to create the world’s largest urban farm in his hometown of Detroit and the political firestorm he unintentionally ignited by announcing that he would spend $30 million of his own fortune to build this farm in one of the most economically devastated neighborhoods of the bankrupt Motor City.
• October 22-29, 2020: Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf
After completing a feature documentary on New York’s High Line, award-winning filmmaker Thomas Piper met the inspirational designer and plantsman, Piet Oudolf, and the idea for a new project was born. The documentary, FIVE SEASONS: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf, immerses viewers in Oudolf’s work and takes us inside his creative process, from his beautifully abstract sketches, to theories on beauty, to the ecological implications of his ideas.


After viewing the films, join together via Zoom with the filmmakers and/or local experts for discussion.
• October 26, 2020 at 6pm Pacific. Facilitated discussion of The Love Bugs.
• October 27, 2020 at 6pm Pacific. Facilitated discussion of Land Grab: The Movie.
• October 28, 2020 at 6pm Pacific. Facilitated discussion of The Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf.
Note: Pre-registration is required/Zoom webinars have a limit of 500 people.

State of the Statewide Master Gardener Program Address
• October 29, 2020 at 6pm Pacific. Join Gail Langellotto for a livestreamed update on the Master Gardener Program in Oregon. The presentation will review recent accomplishments and points of pride, current challenges and opportunities, and an overview of what is to come in 2021.
Note: Pre-registration is required/Zoom webinars have a limit of 500 people.

Beneficial Insect Trivia Game and Discussion
• October 30, 2020 at 6pm Pacific. Put your insect knowledge to the test with this fun and interactive trivia tournament hosted by OSU’s Klamath County horticulture faculty member Nicole Sanchez. The ultimate gardening edutainment experience!
Note: We’ll be using both Zoom and Slido. Pre-registration is required and is limited to 200 people.

Access to all events requires registration:

Registration is now open!

How’s the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work going?

It’s been three months since we first posted here with a call for diversity, equity and inclusion in the Master Gardener program. Here is an update and what we’ve being doing since then.

We are approaching the work in three ways:

  • Ourselves: our own work. Looking at our own stories and history including the history of racism in Oregon and the founding stories of land grant institutions. We are looking deep into our field of work including colonization even in the naming of plants. We are learning to acknowledge this has been happening for years and before our time. This work improves our critical consciousness so we’re aware of inequities.
  • How and who Master Gardeners serve in the community: We’re asking questions like how do we as Master Gardeners serve our communities and neighbors? How far are we reaching into our communities, and who are we missing? Who needs gardening advice, support and education? What do we know and not know?
  • Systemic within the Master Gardener program: What does it mean to be a Master Gardener and who is the training program designed for? What are the barriers to the program and how can we remove them?

To this end:

  • We’ve convened a working group of Master Gardener coordinators from different parts of the state to participate in and lead this work;
  • I’ve had a series of conversations about our work with coordinators across the state in every county where there’s an active Master Gardener program, as well as with coordinators and program leaders in California and Minnesota;
  • 25+ Master Gardener coordinators recently participated in a 3–hour training on equitable leadership;
  • We are examining and planning ways to include diversity, equity and inclusion in training for all Master Gardener volunteers;
  • Enacting a series of feedback surveys for Master Gardener volunteers to ensure voices are heard. This includes surveys for feedback on our program’s priorities and values, and upcoming trainings for 2021.

“So with all of this we’ll be done, right?”  I think about the best answer for this is in a gardening analogy. A few years back my partner asked me, clearly exhausted, “Aren’t we done with the garden yet?” As I stood there with eyes wide open, I pondered how I was going to break it to her. As gardeners we all know that a garden is never done. It’s an ongoing journey of discovery, setbacks, and amazing results. And a lot of soil building. And so it is with doing the work of diversity, equity and inclusion. We’re in it for the long haul.


Recent podcasts you might enjoy listening to:

Botany, Geography, History & Power: at the Heart of the Garden, Jamaica Kincaid on Cultivating Place

Robin Wall Kimmerer, The Intelligence of Plants (original airdate of 2016 but just as great today as it was then)  on On Being with Krista Tippett

 ‘Make Farmers Black Again’: African Americans Fight Discrimination To Own Farmland on NPR

How Running’s White Origins Led to the Dangers of ‘Running While Black’ (Yes, this is about running, but there are similar things to think about with gardening, and includes a connection to Oregon) on Code Switch

Stories of race, culture, place, and people surround us, even in the garden. We must face them.

Photo by @blcksmth – Quote by James Baldwin

What are the stories we tell about our lives, our history, our gardens, our favorite flowers? I’ve been thinking about these things, and how we can personalize what’s happening in the world. How we bring issues of justice and equity into our lives as gardeners.

What can we do? How do we start? Why haven’t we done this earlier? What does this have to do with gardening?

These are all questions I’m hearing from Master Gardener leaders and volunteers throughout the state. Via Zoom, phone and email, I’ve been doing a lot of listening in my new role as statewide outreach coordinator, and asking questions.

And in the way of the world right now, I’m incredibly thankful to be learning so much, even as I’m unlearning stories I thought I knew. For example, while I have sentimental childhood memories of visiting Mt. Rushmore on a classic family road trip across the country, I know now that project defiled sacred Lakota land and that the creator, Gutzon Borglum, was deeply involved in the Ku Klux Klan.

I wonder why I never learned in school about what happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921, or the important significance of June 19th.

Facing our need as Master Gardeners to better serve our community through a lens of equity, diversity and inclusion means uncovering the truth, questioning our stories, and checking our own assumptions. It’s why I’m turning to the words of James Baldwin right now: Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

Let’s start with the plants themselves.

Me with a favorite ajisai (hydrangea) as big as my head.

Take hydrangea, one of my favorite plants. But it wasn’t always called hydrangea. Known and revered for centuries in Japan as ajisai, the flower was caught in the colonization sweeps of Joseph Banks. When it was presented at Kew Gardens in England, the “newly discovered” plant was renamed hydrangea, effectively erasing its Japanese cultural history and lineage.

And then there’s the dahlia….

A cocoxochitl in my garden last week, also known as a collarette dahlia named Pooh from Swan Island Dahlias in Canby.

Named for Swedish botanist Anders Dahl, the dahlia was brought to Europe by the Spanish after the conquest of Mexico. Grown in the beautiful and sophisticated gardens of Montezuma, the Aztecs called this flower cocoxochitl, where it was grown for its grandeur, function and as a food crop. The tree dahlias grown here could grow to thirty feet tall and with hollow stems three inches in diameter, they were used for transporting water. All of this rich, Mexican, cultural history vanished when it was claimed and named by Europeans.

“This naming of things is so crucial to possession—a spiritual padlock with the key thrown irretrievably away—that it is a murder, an erasing, and it is not surprising that when people have felt themselves prey to it (conquest), among their first acts of liberation is to change their names (Rhodesia to Zimbabwe, LeRoi Jones to Amiri Baraka). That the great misery and much smaller joy of existence remain unchanged no matter what anything is called never checks the impulse to reach back and reclaim a loss, to try and make what happened look as if it had not happened at all.”

—Jamaica Kincaid, My Garden (Story)

The author Jennifer Jewell writes about her interview with Jamaica Kincaid:

In my conversations with Jamaica Kincaid … she said this: “The thing we have liked the most about gardens is the love of a flower from somewhere else. Most people don’t know that the marigold and dahlia were part of Montezuma’s gardens. If we could just honor one another, it wouldn’t feel so badly to have taken them. Honoring one another is one way perhaps that we redeem ourselves; I am very interested in redemption,” she told me. Redemption. An interesting word – Jamaica talks about how we as people can work to honor one another – work to re-find and retell and re- share histories which were hidden – stolen – histories that some strove to erase. But they are still there those histories – embodied in the plants and the seeds and the art and the myth and the lived history of peoples and places.

I have two stories to leave you with. One is a tiny example of what can happen when we begin to ask questions and see things with a new eye. I recently noticed the description for Trachelospermum jasminoides on a favorite plant resourcing site. Common names listed were star jasmine and confederate jasmine. Do we really need to celebrate the confederacy with one of my favorite plants? Probably not. I mentioned it to the website owner and within ten minutes, the name confederate jasmine was gone.

But then there’s the story the woman riding her bike by our garden told herself a few weeks ago. My partner and I were gardening in our front garden, and the bicyclist pulled a u-turn when she saw our giant stand of romneya coulteri. Approaching my partner she asked about the flower, first inquiring if she was the landscaper. My partner is Mexican-American, had a bandana holding back her hair, and earbuds in her ears. The woman repeated the question, this time overpronouncing with the assumption she might not speak English. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. I’ve never been assumed to be the landscaper in our front garden. And that was my white privilege.

Romneya coulteri

We all have stories to unlearn and we’re in a special moment where we can use new eyes in the way we see and move through the world. And we can act. Even in our gardens.

Resources mentioned in this essay:

By LeAnn Locher, Statewide Master Gardener Outreach Coordinator

Options for completing annual Master Gardener training classes in context of COVID-19

To: Master Gardener coordinators (Extension faculty)

From: Gail Langellotto, (Professor of Horticulture, Statewide Coordinator, Extension Master Gardener Program)

Date: March 11, 2020, 12:41pm PST

Coordinators,

As you are aware, OSU and OSU Extension are actively engaged in continuity planning as we prepare for a localized outbreak of COVID-19 in the university community and communities we serve.

Thank you for your efforts during this rapidly changing situation, and for the care and compassion you are showing for each other and your program participants.

Given that older adults are both a vulnerable population and an abundant group in the Master Gardener Program, we are recommending that local Master Gardener coordinators carefully consider available options for completing the 2020 Master Gardener training season.

We are developing additional guidance for large events such as conferences and plant sales, and ongoing volunteer activities such as plant clinics.

Here are four three options to consider.

Option 1: Continue with classes, but observe recommended practices for personal wellness and minimizing spread of illness.

****This option was removed as a possibility on March 12, 2020, when updated guidance for OSU Extension Master Gardener Programs was issued.**** Note that the recommended practices for personal wellness and minimizing the spread of illness is still recommened, for personal use.

These include:

  • No mandatory attendance: Do not penalize students who opt not to attend classes, provide options for making up missed work.
  • Stay home if sick: Speakers, employees, volunteers, or students who are sick or have a household member who is sick should stay home.
  • Observe social distancing: Seat students so they are not apt to touch each other or touch a shared desk space. Remind students to refrain from shaking hands, hugging, or otherwise touching other class members. If your meeting space is limited and you cannot meet this requirement, it might be better to consider a different option for completing classes.
  • Practice frequent handwashing: Build handwashing breaks into the training day. Have hand sanitizers on hand.
  • NO shared food or potlucks: Temporarily halt the tradition of shared food or potlucks for meals or snacks. Ask students to bring their own food and drinks. Do not share food or food utensils.
  • Use Approved Environmental Cleaners for Classroom Surfaces. Take care to reduce environmental exposure to these cleaners.

Option 2: Postpone and reschedule classes (i.e., after the state of emergency has passed or has been revoked). The ability to do this may depend on whether or not you will have access to the training site at a later date, and if students and instructors can accommodate a schedule change.

Option 3: Consider using the online modules to complete your 2020 training schedule.

Option 4: If you have met the minimum national and state standards for Master Gardener trainings, you can suspend classes for 2020. If you have questions about the standards, please contact me.

Keep in mind that decisions may differ among coordinators depending on local circumstances. Extension decisions made locally should be coordinated through supervisors and leadership at the appropriate level. Please contact your regional director and me with any questions or concerns.

No matter which options you chose, please prioritize your personal health and wellness. Take the time to regularly review updates from the CDC and OHA websites, as well as OSU’s COVID-19 webpage.

Thank you,

Gail

National Extension Master Gardener Report 2018

The Extension Master Gardener National Committee compiles a report of Master Gardener activity, every few years. Recently, they released the report for 2018, with all but three states reporting (Massachusetts does not have an Extension Master Gardener Program).

You can download a PDF copy of the report, below:

If you would like to compare the 2018 numbers with past reports, you can access the 2016, 2014, and 2009 reports, here: https://articles.extension.org/pages/27284/extension-master-gardener-public-value-reports .