‘Growing and Belonging’ Equity-focused Training Requirements (2023)

As part of your continuing education for 2023 (and beyond), all OSU Master Gardeners (including the 2020 and 2022 cohort) are required to complete at least 1 designated course from the following ‘Growing and Belonging’ options for 2023:

This requirement aligns with our commitment to create a welcoming and inclusive program.


OSU Extension Service strives to provide educational services to all Oregonians. We acknowledge that there are numerous underrepresented Oregonians that have not been equitably served by the Master Gardener program.

The mission, vision, and guiding values of the statewide Master Gardener program provide a compass to address this inequity in public service.

We’ve been working hard to address equity issues under our purview in the metro area Master Gardener program (Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington Counties).

OSU Master Gardener Program Equity-focused Mission, Vision, and Guiding Values

Mission: Cultivating resilient and healthy communities throughout Oregon through sustainable horticulture education and gardening projects that are rooted in science and that are supported by OSU Extension volunteers.

Vision: We provide accessible and equitable education programs that nurture life-long learners and volunteers who can expand the reach and impact of science-based sustainable gardening practices to benefit all Oregonians.

Guiding Values: We are connected to Oregon State University, and use both science and local knowledge to inform our community engagement, educational outreach, and horticultural expertise. We strive to make the resources of Oregon State University accessible to all and inspire and encourage lifelong curiosity and learning through continued scientific exploration and discovery.

Implementation of Equity Focus (Metro Area Master Gardener Program)

  • Initiated a quarterly advisory group focused on racial equity issues in the metro area MG program in 2021.
  • Improved application process for the metro area MG program including registration forms/process to make it more welcoming for underrepresented people.
  • Reduced the fee for the metro area MG training (from $495 to sliding scale $200 to $300).
  • Provided equity-focused content in the 2022 Master Gardener training (Inclusive Excellence for OSU Volunteers).
  • Convened an on-going affinity group for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) folks in the metro area MG program. The goal is to build community among BIPOC metro area MG program participants.
  • In 2019 and 2020, four diversity, equity and inclusion trainings were offered to all 750+ metro area Master Gardener volunteers.

Looking Forward, You Can Help

We acknowledge that we have significant work to do for the metro area Master Gardener program to bring forth our equity-focused mission and vision. 

Please join us in creating a welcoming educational and volunteer program:

  • Take the time to welcome new 2020, 2022, 2023 Master Gardener trainees at events. Let them know you’re glad their part of our program.
  • When representing the Master Gardener program, treat other volunteers and the public with dignity and respect.
  • Make efforts to apply an equity focus toward volunteer-led activities including demonstration gardens, plant sales, MG association activities, and more. Reach out to the MG program office for support.
  • Attend an advanced DEI training for BIPOC allies in the MG program (optional, offered in 2023).
  • What are your ideas to improve the MG program’s capacity to welcome and serve all Oregonians?

We look forward to working with you, the metro area Master Gardener community, to meet the garden/landscape information needs of all Oregonians.

Natter’s’ Notes
By Jean R. Natter, OSU Master Gardener

Asian Giant Hornet on finger
Fig 1- An Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia) resting on hand. (Photo: Takehiko Kusama; found in Niigata, Japan; http://www.vespa-crabro.de/vespa-mandarinia.htm)

As is true with the introduction of numerous other invasive species, there is no real way to tell how the Asian giant hornets (AGH; Vespa mandarinia) arrived in the Pacific Northwest. Among the possibilities are via international container ships, imported products, travelers visiting the US, or people returning from another country. The hornets are native to temperate and tropical eastern Asia, including parts of Japan, China, India, and Sri Lanka. (https://agr.wa.gov/departments/insectspests-and-weeds/insects/hornets/faq


  • An adult is 1 1/4″ to 2″ long with a striped abdomen, orange head, and black eyes
  • AGH predators and are a potential serious threat to honeybees
  • AGH are ground-nesters, active from May to August
  • AGH has an annual colony, with cooperative care of the larvae by the workers.

Current distribution  

To learn where AGH have been sighted, see the map at https://agr.wa.gov/hornets.  (Be patient; the map loads slowly.) The map will be updated as additional reports are made.

Life cycle

Fig 2
Dorsal view of an Asian giant hornet, Vespa mandarinia. (forestryimages – 5570920 Allan Smith-Pardo, Invasive Hornets, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org)

AGH nests underground, often in abandoned rodent burrows. It’s an annual colony in which all, except the mated queens, die at the end of the season, August, in their native land. Metamorphosis is complete, with 4 life stages: Egg; larva; pupa, a non-feeding resting stage; and adult. The life cycle is about 40 days. The larvae are fed masticated prey by the workers. Adults are predators of many large-bodied insects such as grasshoppers and beetles. European honey bees (Apis mellifera) are very susceptible to attack.

In the spring, the overwintering queens locate a nest site and lay about 40 eggs. She rears the first generation which then takes over food gathering and larval care. The colony is aggressively defended throughout the season. In the fall, males wait at the entrance for the females, mate, then die.


  • This is definitely not an opportunity to be a hero. AGH’s half-inch long stingers can easily penetrate a traditional beekeeper’s suit. After your sighting is verified, let the pros do the heavy lifting.
  • Commercial traps for wasps and/or hornets won’t work because the holes are too small.

Critical cautions

  • AGH seldom sting humans but, when they do, the effect can be very serious.
  • Use extreme caution near Asian giant hornets. The venom is more toxic than local bees or wasps.
  • Beekeeping gear won’t protect you.
  • Persons allergic to bee or wasp stings should never approach an Asian giant hornet and/or its nest.
  • If you find an individual or colony, report it to your state Department of Agriculture immediately. (See the list of Resources.)

Opportunities for MGs

Well, as is common when a new invasive insect is reported, numerous “sightings” have been reported but only 2 verified. A newspaper in Louisiana even ran a story saying essentially “It’s not here.”

A prime opportunity for every Master Gardener is to share a research-based Teachable Moment with family, friends, and the public. One way is to provide a Pictorial ID of Look-a-Likes (at the end of this story) which compare sizes of insects which might be confused with AGH.


Asian giant hornet – A list of reliable resources related to this recent invader which includes a link to report a sighting in Oregon. http://agsci-labs.oregonstate.edu/vegnet/2020/05/05/asian-giant-hornet-pnw-info-sources/

“Don’t panic over Asian giant hornet” (KGW8 News: text and brief video; May 4, 2020)  – https://www.kgw.com/article/tech/science/environment/murder-hornet-spotted-in-washington/283-a9b560e3-e7fd-4a66-ac34-3015c2390aa0

By Margaret Bayne, OSU Extension Service Staff Retired, OSU Master Gardener

Team Shows How Butterfly Wings Can Shift in Hue:Recent study leads to a deeper understanding of how butterfly wing color is created and evolves.” Diana Kenney, Marine Biological Laboratory, University of Chicago https://bit.ly/2T19dua

A Field Guide to the Miniature Menagerie Inside Your Own Home: “There’s no social distance between you and your face mites.” Jessica Leigh Hester, Atlasobscura.com https://bit.ly/2LmDvDt

Hummingbirds Show Up When Tropical Trees Fall Down: “Treefalls happen all the time, but this one just happened to occur in the exact spot where a decades-long ecological study was in progress, giving University of Illinois researchers a rare look into tropical forest dynamics.” Lauren Quinn, Illinois ACES https://bit.ly/2yIEGdY

Yellowjacket on food, “Western Yellowjacket” by K Schneider is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Wasps: “Wasps make up an enormously diverse array of insects, with some 30,000 identified species. We are most familiar with those that are wrapped in bright warning colors—ones that buzz angrily about in groups and threaten us with painful stings.  But most wasps are actually solitary, non-stinging varieties. And all do far more good for humans by controlling pest insect populations than harm.” Nationalgeographic.com https://on.natgeo.com/2WRMRwm

Herbicide Carryover in Hay, Manure, Compost, and Grass Clippings: Minda Daughtry and last updated by Pam Kerley  NC Cooperative Extension) https://bit.ly/2YTsa61

A tale of two weeders – lessons in managing aggressive, perennial weeds Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, Gardenprofessors.com https://bit.ly/2WpKMsp

NASA Releases Satellite Images of California Superbloom From Space Madison Dapcevich, iflscience.com https://bit.ly/3brIn4I

Fertilizing Flower Gardens and Avoid Too Much Phosphorus – Tina Smith & Doug Cox, U of MASS at Amherst https://bit.ly/2WpoPtw

A selection of apple varieties, Montana State University

Apple identification: “This website will help you identify apple varieties. If you have an unknown apple variety that you want to identify you can compare the key features you see on it with dozens of attributes and variety characteristics listed on this website.” Seattle Tree Fruit Society, Western Cascade Fruit Society Chapters, Home Orchard Society, BC Fruit Testers Assoc., & Orange Pippin https://bit.ly/3ctkdrV


Websites and publications mentioned in ‘Enhancing Urban and Suburban Landscapes to Protect Pollinators’ webinar:

Oregon State Bee Keepers Association Swarm Call

Nurturing Mason Bees in Your Backyard in Western Oregon

Shrubs for Fall and Winter Bloom

Pollination Podcast

Oregon Bee Atlas Outreach Materials

Andony Melathopoulos

Link to the video: https://media.oregonstate.edu/media/t/1_tnnu0mkn

Websites and publications mentioned in ‘Enhancing Urban and Suburban Landscapes to Protect Pollinators’ webinar:

Oregon State Bee Keepers Association Swarm Call

Nurturing Mason Bees in Your Backyard in Western Oregon

Shrubs for Fall and Winter Bloom

Pollination Podcast

Oregon Bee Atlas Outreach Materials

Natter’s Notes

By Jean R. Natter, OSU Master Gardener

The Winter Cutworm, Noctua pronuba, was officially identified by Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) as an invasive pest in Oregon during 2012. Even so, the metro Master Gardener offices had been receiving complaints about their activity since 2001.

Plants were nibbled and/or destroyed from fall through the winter. At first, most folks assumed the damage was due to slugs and snails. However, the mutilation was different than the shredded tissue left behind by slugs and snails. Seedlings were toppled; emerging bulbs lost their heads and sometimes flower buds; and hostas lost leaf tips or had gaping holes. At my place, the pests would climb my 3- to 4-foot tall delphiniums to eat the flower bud at the tip of the stalk, sometimes settling down for a snooze.  To accurately identify the culprits, MGs in the offices had to activate their Master Gardener CSI mode.

The Winter Cutworm, Noctua pronuba

As you likely recall, caterpillars (Order Lepidoptera) have complete metamorphosis, with 4 life stages.  After the adults mate, the female lays several hundred eggs in a large tidy patch, most often covering, or nearly so, the surface of a leaf. The larvae (youngsters) hatch in 2 to 4 weeks. These caterpillars have different habits than most you are familiar with because they feed at night, whenever the temperature exceeds 40F, from fall through winter.

Perhaps the most effective treatment strategy is to go outdoors about 10 pm or so, with a cup of soapy water and tongs or a pair of gloves. As you trek through your plantings keep any eye out for caterpillars chomping at your expense. They may be anywhere from ¾ to 1.5 inches long, the size depending on their age. They’re often aligned with the edge of a leaf, or out-of-sight among the leaves. Hand pick and drop into the cup.

During the day, the larvae hide just under the soil surface, typically quite close to the stem of the victimized plant. Disrupting a bit of soil often reveals their hiding place.

The caterpillars of the Winter Cutworm (Noctua pronuba, aka the Large Yellow Underwing) appear bright green after they have molted; the color will gradually change to the various browns within hours. Source: http://www.wildlifeinsight.com/british-moths/large-yellow-underwing-moth-and-caterpillar-noctua-pronuba/

Fun for gardeners

This spring, as you prepare your garden, it’s very likely you’ll find a number of Lepidoptera pupae in the soil. Rearing the pupa is the best way to determine the parent moth’s identity.

To rear pupae, place in clear container with a porous lid, such as paper toweling secured with a rubber band. Set the container somewhere you’ll see it, but not in the sun, then wait for the adults to emerge.

The Gray Garden Slug

Slugs, especially gray garden slugs (Deroceras reticulatum) thrive throughout the northwest, feeding in gardens, greenhouses, roadsides and fields. They’re omnivores which feed on live plant material and much more, including mushrooms, dead slugs, earthworms. They have the ability to detect predatory carabid beetles through the use of olfactory cues. And, because slugs are hermaphrodites, reproduction is by cross-fertilization which may occur year-round when conditions are favorable. Mating occurs mainly at night with each animal capable of laying approximately 60-75 eggs (4 mm each) in a clutch, totaling about 700 eggs per year per slug. Each slug may live a year or two. (https://idtools.org/id/mollusc/factsheet.php?name=Deroceras reticulatum)

The Gray Garden Slug (Deroceras reticulum) is perhaps the most damaging slug in local gardens. Damage often avoids (stringy) leaf veins. Source: https://idtools.org/id/mollusc/factsheet.php?name=Deroceras reticulatum

Fun for gardeners

If you happen upon a clutch of slug eggs – they’re transparent and either round or tear-drop shape – scoop them up with a bit of surrounding soil, put them in a clear container with a porous lid, and wait.


“Winter Cutworm: A New Pest Threat in Oregon” – https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog/files/project/pdf/em9139.pdf

 “Slugs and Snails in Oregon” (ODA) – https://agsci.oregonstate.edu/sites/agscid7/files/vlach-2016-odaguidemolluscs-forweb.pdf

“Snails and Slugs” – http://ipm.ucanr.edu/QT/snailsslugscard.html

 “Cornu aspersum” [The Brown Garden Snail, formerly Helix aspersa] – https://idtools.org/id/mollusc/factsheet.php?name=Cornu%20aspersum

 “Terrestrial Mollusc Tool” (USDA, University of Florida, & Lucidcentral: Incudes Fact Sheets with images; and a Glossary – https://idtools.org/id/mollusc/glossary.php

By Margaret Bayne, OSU Extension Staff-retired, OSU Master Gardener

Bernedine Strik, OSU

NEW: Pruning video course series from OSU.  Five courses offered: Pruning Blueberry, Grapes, Kiwifruit, Raspberries and Blackberries.

“You can take any of these courses individually or take them all to become a pruning master. In these self-paced online courses, you will navigate through several 10–20 minute video lectures. You will have access to the course and the materials for one year after you enroll. You will also receive a bundle discount if you enroll in multiple courses at the same time.” (OSU) https://bit.ly/31IOZIN

Radiation-munching fungi are thriving on the walls of Chernobyl’s reactors. (Iflscience.com) https://bit.ly/39gNynE

Mosquitoes are drawn to flowers as much as people — and now scientists know why. (James Urton, University of WA; UWNews) https://bit.ly/31OJw3h

Fun and informative video: Licking bees and pulping trees: The reign of a wasp queen. (Kenny Coogan, TED-ED via youtube.com) https://bit.ly/31FAF3W

Evaluating the hidden risks of herbicides– Gut microbes of wasps evolve after exposure to common treatment, leading to pesticide resistance, study says (Mary Todd Berman, Harvard Gazette) https://bit.ly/2Hera26

OSU Photo Archive

Accuracy varies for commercially available soil test kits analyzing Nitrate-Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, and pH. (Ben Faber, et al; American Society of Horticulture Science) https://bit.ly/31GxAAu

Stunning! – The magical beauty of looking up at trees in the middle of a forest captured by photographer. (Beauty of the Planet.com) https://bit.ly/2SDoqRa

Scientists learn how plants manipulate their soil environment to assure a cheap, steady supply of nutrients. (Rice University via phys.org) https://bit.ly/2w7kBfE

‘Profound’ evolution: Wasps learn to recognize faces. One wasp species has evolved the ability to recognize individual faces among their peers—something that most other insects cannot do—signaling an evolution in how they have learned to work together.” (Cornell U via phys.org) https://bit.ly/39mdo9N

Fruit Tree Pruning Basics. (Jim Downer, Gardenprofessors.com) https://bit.ly/37cJy65

Revised OSU publication: Noncrop Host Plants of Spotted Wing Drosophila in North America. (Amy Dreves, et al, OSU) https://bit.ly/38joNqL

Plants copy nematode pheromones to repel infestations. (Sterling Admin, bioscriptionblog.com) https://bit.ly/2OJWh9W

Fail to plan or plan to fail? Planning for a year of garden success. (John Porter, Gardenprofessors.com) https://bit.ly/2SCrMno

Urban gardens contain too much organic matter, OSU study finds. (Kym Pokorny, OSU via Oregonlive.com) https://bit.ly/2Sy514i

We’ve figured out how mosquitos sense our warmth.Unfortunately, they still seem to be able to find us without it.“ (John Timmer, artechnica.com) https://bit.ly/2wbPD67

By Margaret Bayne, OSU Extension Staff-retired, OSU Master Gardener

Asian Giant Hornet, WSDA

Pest Alert: Asian Giant Hornet-This month, [December] WSDA entomologists identified a large hornet found near the Canadian border as an Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia), an invasive species not previously found in Washington State.”https://bit.ly/2QKRvKY

Researchers discover a potential window for managing insects without chemicals. (Simon Fraser University) https://bit.ly/2FHfkgd

Houseplant Problems- A diagnostic guide. (Paul C. Pecknold, Purdue University) https://bit.ly/36JJZoZ

When good plants go bad-some native plants can behave as invasive species. (American Society for Horticultural Science via Eurekalert.org) https://bit.ly/2NfKTls

Video: The Life of Blister Beetles.(Insect Worlds, Episode 3 Preview, BBC Four via youtube) https://bit.ly/2sfZJkF

Vanilla is anything but Vanilla. (Indefenseofplants) https://bit.ly/2FFtvTd

Introduction to Abiotic Disorders in Plants​​-Great detailed info! (Megan Kennelly, Judith O’Mara, Cary Rivard-Kansas State; G. Lee Miller, U of Missouri; Damon Smith, U of Wisconsin-Madison; American Phytopathological Society) https://bit.ly/36P3PiM

Woodpecker damage, OSU, PNW Handbook

Woodpeckers: Friends or Foes? (Bec Wolfe-Thomas, Gardenprofessors.com) https://bit.ly/2FFtoHh

Oregon Small Farm News publication. (Oregon State University) https://bit.ly/2R7X30X

UK insects struggling to find a home make a bee-line for foreign plants. “Non-native plants are providing new homes for Britain’s insects – some of which are rare on native plants, a new study has found.” (University of York) https://bit.ly/3a2WX3e

Video: Travel deep inside a leaf – Annotated Version. (California Academy of Sciences via YouTube) https://bit.ly/2NiMN4T

Spotted Wing Drosopila, Vaughn Walton OSU

“This has been one of the worst years’- Oregon farmers are losing billions to fruit flies.” (Kelsey Christensen and KVAL.com staff via KPIC.com) https://bit.ly/36Vvgrr

Natter’s Notes

Jean R. Natter, OSU Master Gardener

The Japanese Beetle (Popillia japonica) Eradication Project

Because Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica) typically feed in groups, they can decimate their host plants in short order. Roses are a particular favorite. (Image downloaded 2017-02-06: http://extension.missouri.edu/p/ipm1005)

The Japanese Beetle (Popillia japonica) Eradication Project of the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) issued its most recent update in late 2019.

Overall, 95% of you [within the quarantine boundary] consented to treatment this year. With your help we treated 8,500 residences, 6 schools, 8 parks, 3 shopping centers, and 1 golf course. This came out to roughly 3,000 acres.

This year we trapped 7,749 Japanese beetles in the Cedar mill area. The overall number of beetles trapped in 2019 was a 56% reduction from the previous year. There was a 65% reduction in the number of beetles trapped within the 2018 treatment boundary as a result of the 2018 granular treatment and 2019 foliar treatment. We saw a 75% decrease within the boundaries of the supplementary foliar treatment.

In order to eradicate this pest, we will continue our treatment next season. We are thrilled with our success, and will be more aggressive with our approach next year while we have the upper hand. We are currently planning a larger treatment boundary for the 2020 eradication and will update everyone soon with the new map. We thank you all for your continued support with helping Oregon eradicate Japanese beetle.  It wouldn’t be possible without all of you!

We would also like to introduce the 2020 Japanese beetle team: Ashley Toland (Eradication Entomologist), Jessica Rendon (Japanese Beetle Eradication Specialist), and Austin Johnson (Japanese Beetle Outreach Coordinator). 

For more information on the Japanese beetle eradication project please visit our website: https://www.japanesebeetlepdx.info/.

New exotic Agrilus species beetle on twinberry in Portland

During 2019, a new exotic beetle was reported by the Oregon Forest Pest Detector (OFPD) program.

In May, an OFPD program graduate submitted a report to the Oregon Invasive Species Hotline after finding D-shaped exit holes and a green insect on a twinberry in her yard in southeast Portland. She recognized the signs as characteristic of insects in the genus Agrilus, which includes the bronze birch borer (A. anxius) and the deadly forest pest, emerald ash borer (A. planipennis).

Evidence of new exotic beetles (Agrilus cyanescens) attacking twinberry, a native honeysuckle, were found by citizen scientists in their Portland, OR, gardens during 2019. Fortunately, the beetles are not expected to become serious economic pests. But if you see the characteristic damage, report it to Invasive Species. (Image Camden, New Jersey, 2019: https://bugguide.net/node/view/1666294/bgimage)

The green insect she found was later identified as Agrilus cyanescens, an exotic beetle that has been established in the eastern U.S. since the 1920s, but this is the first detection in the Pacific Northwest. (https://oregoninvasiveshotline.org/reports/detail/2670)

Then, in early August 2019, another OFPD graduate submitted a report to the Oregon Invasive Species Hotline after she noticed similar damage to a twinberry in her yard in northeast Portland. This was also later confirmed to also be Agrilus cyanescens. (https://oregoninvasiveshotline.org/reports/detail/2778)

Known host plants in U.S. and Europe include those in the genus Lonicera (honeysuckles) including the native plant, twinberry (Lonicera involucrata Richardson). The Oregon Department of Agriculture does not believe Agrilus cyanescens will be an economic, ecological, or horticultural pest.

But, if you do notice any signs or symptoms of Agrilus cyanescens (branch dieback; 2 mm. D-shaped exit holes; serpentine-shaped galleries beneath the bark; and metallic green beetles feeding on leaves in April-May), we encourage you to submit a report. (https://oregoninvasiveshotline.org/)  

The OFPD program trains volunteers to monitor for and report potential infestations of invasive forest pests. Thank you to these two Oregon Forest Pest Detector graduates for being on the lookout and submitting reports to the Oregon Invasive Species Hotline!  Details about the OFPD training program of citizen scientists are at https://extension.oregonstate.edu/ofpd.