A Look Back

During the summer and fall of 2023, our metro area Master Gardener Program was in high gear! Master Gardeners reconnected with fellow volunteers and served their communities in many different ways. Below, we take a look back at some of the activities, continuing education opportunities, and community outreach events that Master Gardeners participated in.

June 4th: Celebrate!

On June 4th, 2024, metro area Master Gardeners enjoyed a lovely sunny afternoon as they gathered to celebrate and cultivate community at Millennium Park Plaza in Lake Oswego. The event provided an opportunity to re-connect with fellow volunteers and also to make new connections. Informational and educational displays, door prizes, food, drink, and a lovely cupcake tree made the celebration festive.

Community Outreach

Metro area Master Gardeners ventured far and wide across communities in the metro area to share solid gardening information with Oregon Gardeners. Master Gardeners could be found at area farmers markets, community resource fairs, making gardening presentations, hosting classes, and teaching in the garden.

Metro-area Master Gardeners Recognized for Their Service

Each year, the three metro area Master Gardener Association chapters nominate and designate members for special recognition through the Oregon Master Gardener Association (OMGA). This year, one group project and two metro area Master Gardeners received special statewide recognition for their exemplary service.

We extend our sincere gratitude to the following Master Gardeners and enthusiastically congratulate them for their valuable contributions! 

Statewide Awards

Clackamas County Master Gardener Association’s 10-Minute University™ team’s “Let’s Grow Together

The Clackamas County Master Gardener Association’s “10-Minute University™ Let’s Grow Together!” webinar series, has been awarded the statewide “Search for Excellence” award. The webinar series, developed and launched in 2020, delivers sound and sustainable gardening information on essential gardening topics, from fruit tree pruning to garden wilding. The team is being recognized for their high-quality programming and its positive impact on gardeners in Oregon and beyond. Recordings of the webinar series can be viewed HERE.

Marilyn Berti – Statewide Master Gardener of the Year

Marilyn Berti – Statewide Master Gardener of the Year
Photo: Marcia McIntyre

Marilyn Berti, co-recipient of the statewide “OSU Master Gardener of the Year” award, is being honored for her strong commitment to the educational outreach mission of the Program. A Master Gardener volunteer since 2009, Marilyn was instrumental in the development of the Washington County Master Gardener Association’s Learning Garden at Jenkins Estate. She has also worked on a wide variety of educational outreach programing and informational signage at the garden. Marilyn is always keenly focused on sharing sustainable gardening information with the community, whether developing educational programing, giving tours at the garden, or tabling at community events.

Dennis Brown – Statewide Growing and Belonging Award

Dennis Brown – Growing and Belonging Awardee
Photo: Marcia McIntyre

Master Gardener volunteer, Dennis Brown, is the inaugural recipient of the statewide, “Growing and Belonging” award. The award honors a Master Gardener volunteer who works collaboratively with community to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and/or social justice in the Master Gardener Program and in the wider community.  An OSU Master Gardener since 2017, Dennis has initiated innovative partnerships with community organizations such as developing garden curriculum for under-served communities. Most recently, Dennis has been working with individuals experiencing houselessness at the Bybee Lake Hope Center. He teaches “Gardening for Life” classes on sustainable gardening to Hope Center participants and other community members. In addition, Dennis makes dozens of gardening presentations annually to community groups, libraries, and at events including the City of Portland’s  “Fix-it Fair”. You can learn more about Dennis’ service in this OSU Extension Service article. You can also hear Dennis talk about cultivating community in his February 2024 presentation for the Washington County Master Gardener Speaker Series. Follow this link. Once there use this passcode: T+128y^J

County Association Awards

The following are the 2023 nominees from each of the three metro area Master Gardener associations:

Clackamas County Master Gardener Association

Kathy Krentz – Master Gardener of the Year

Kathy Krentz – CCMGA Master Gardener of the Year

Before she even finished her Master Gardener training in 2019, Kathy Krentz was generously volunteering to support the Master Gardener program. The Clackamas County Master Gardener Association (CCMGA) recognizes her tremendous contributions by naming her their 2023 Master Gardener of the Year. Kathy volunteers over 400 hours, annually, at the “Grow an Extra Row” garden, which grows food to donate to area food pantries. She has served as the CCMGA Board treasurer for 4 years. Her dedication extends to the “Spring Garden Fair”, where she has volunteered over 600 hours serving as the Vendor Sales Chair.

Cheryl Borden – Behind the Scenes Master Gardener

Cheryl Borden, CCMGA Behind the Scenes Master Gardener

For the past 15 years, Cheryl Borden has been working quietly behind the scenes educating Oregon gardeners from youth to adults. She is part of the 10-Minute University team and was responsible for developing and delivering three new 10-Minute U. webinars. She offers generous support to the Master Gardener Program teaching hands-on workshops and has served many years answering questions on the Helpline. In her commitment to educate youth, she has developed curriculum for Master Gardener outreach education kits and often volunteers for community events serving young gardeners.

Multnomah County Master Gardener Association

Marilyn Frankel – Master Gardener of the Year

Marilyn Frankel, MCMGA Master Gardener of the Year
Photo courtesy of John Jordan

The Multnomah County Master Gardener Association’s 2023 Master Gardener of the Year, Marilyn Frankel has dedicated hundreds of hours of her time volunteering, annually, at the MGMGA’s Demonstration Garden. Marilyn serves at the garden in every capacity, from designing to constructing, to digging and installation.

In addition, Marilyn has actively served as an OMGA representative. She has also been a generous supporter of the Master Gardener Program through assisting with training.

Mary Abplanalp – Behind the Scenes Master Gardener

Mary Anplanalp, MCMGA Behind the Scene Master Gardener of the Year
Photo courtesy of Carole Hardy

Mary Abplanalp was recognized as the Multnomah County Master Gardener Association’s (MCMGA) “Behind the Scenes” Master Gardener as she quietly made big contributions in support of the Association. Mary served as Editor for MCMGA’s eNews in 2021-2022, delivering engaging messages to their membership. She also dedicated time to the design and development of the “Naturescape” bed at the Association’s “Demonstration Garden”. Along with her daughter, Mary developed a detailed new map of the “Demonstration Garden” to guide volunteers and visitors alike.

Washington County Master Gardener Association

Leslie Ray – Behind the Scenes

Leslie Ray, WCMGA Behind the Scenes Master Gardener

For nearly 10 years, Leslie Ray may have been tirelessly volunteering behind the scenes, but her service has had a direct impact on the community. She is a dedicated Helpline volunteer, spending time answering gardener’s questions. She initiated a Washington County Master Gardener translation project which makes resources available in Spanish. She was an integral part of the WCMGA’s “Grow 1 – Give 1” project where Master Gardeners grow veggie starts to distribute to food pantries. In addition, she has served on the statewide level as the WCMGA Oregon Master Gardener Association (OMGA) representative.

Empowering Master Gardener Educators

To bolster volunteers in their role as garden educators, two skill-building
workshops were held in September and October. Speakers Guild and Educational
Outreach workshops were offered as opportunities for volunteers to train in how to give presentations and  how deliver engaging gardening curricula in youth educational settings.

Both events were fun, engaging and power our service educating gardeners.

Special thanks to Kelly Welch and Wendy Wilson for developing the curriculum for the Education Outreach training. They generously shared their professional insight, leading the training and guiding participants.

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