- Author: Kevin Marini
This may be considered a minor point by some, but after working as a Master Gardener Program Representative for almost a decade, I applaud these fundamental “consistencies”. In recent years, I have served on a number of committees related to UCANR and/or the Master Gardener program and I have really come to appreciate the balancing going on at the Statewide Master Garde
As a Program Representative for two very different Master Gardener county programs, I am committed to preserving the flavor of each of my volunteer groups. I don’t want them to lose what makes their programs unique in their communities and the specific approaches that have proven successful over the years in regard to outreach and education. However, I do believe in a common “infrastructure” to all the Master Gardener Programs up and down the state so that the public understands exactly what our program is and what we’re trying to accomplish across the golden state.
I want a Master Gardener volunteer to be able to transfer to a new Master Gardener program when they relocate and not have to be confused with different timelines and volunteer requirements. I want the public to be able to make sense of what the “Master Gardener Training” is all about and what it entails no matter where they train. That doesn’t mean trainings can’t be customized to the locale, it means we all agree to a level of consistency and quality that we can be proud of and share in.
As all of our Master Gardener Programs grow, we can flourish by keeping our roots tucked firmly in the fertile Statewide soil but allowing our local blooms to be as unique and colorful as we are.
- Author: Aubrey Bray
And now what you've all been waiting for...registration is finally open for the Edible Landscape Train-the-Trainer workshop. This two-day conference will give you an edge on all things edible and how to present it to the public. Six conference locations around the state mean that this exciting conference is coming to a city near you! Registration fees are only $35 for two days worth of instruction from UC experts, additional resources to take back to your community, as well as refreshments and lunch. Come meet Master Gardeners from all over the state and learn how to increase the effectiveness of your county's most valuable resource on Edible Landscaping....you!
- Author: Amanda Crump
To provide continuing education for Master Gardeners, the Statewide Master Gardener Program provides regional trainings. An example is the Advanced IPM Training being offered next week in Davis, CA. Trainings like these are always popular and serve as a place for Master Gardeners to learn new things, refine their skills, interact with University of California scientists, and meet other gardeners. By promoting activities where Master Gardeners learn together, the Statewide Master Gardener Program ensures that Master Gardeners are up-to-date with the most recent research recommendations from the University of California.
The next set of regional training sessions will be the Edible Landscaping series. In this training, Master Gardeners will learn the ins and outs of incorporating edibles into their landscapes. The training includes planning and design, policies, maintenance, harvest and storage, and food safety. Attendees will then be certified to teach others in Edible Landscaping practices - a skill that is in high demand.
Master Gardeners might recall attending the Sustainable Landscape Train the Trainer series two years ago. The Statewide Master Gardener program surveyed the people who were subsequently trained by Master Gardeners and we found some wonderful things! For example, 77% of the people who did not compost at the time of training indicated that they had started composting after three months! That is a significant change in their behavior that definitely leads to a more sustainable California. In addition to composting, over 40% more people began leaving portions of their gardens undisturbed for wildlife, 20% of those surveyed began using better irrigation techniques, and just over 10% planted drought tolerant plants. These examples are just a handful of the practices that were influenced by the Sustainable Landscape classes.
Together, through these classes, the Master Gardeners and the Statewide Master Gardener Program are making a difference! See you soon at one of the Edible Landscape Training sessions!
- Author: Aubrey Bray
- Author: Judy McClure
It can be challenging for a serious gardener to pass a shredding machine and not stop and use it to transform ‘paperwork’ into worm compost bedding. Sorry, your Master Gardener papers are no longer potential bedding material. Since the Statewide Office staff has embraced making the volunteer time submission and the annual recertification process as paper free as possible you’ll need to locate another source of worm bedding. Entering your volunteer experiences, completing the three recertification forms and submitting the insurance payment is now fast, easy and paperless.
Gardening tasks, family obligations and professional obligations fill our June days, leaving just a few precious moments for completing the Master Gardener recertification process. Why bother taking the time to recertify? During the past year you probably experienced the joy of learning about a new plant, memorized another botanical name, or identified an invasive pest. You most likely attended a monthly meeting or an advanced training developed specifically for Master Gardeners, plus your network of friends expanded to include new gardening buddies. Recertify by June 30 to assure you do not miss any of the many learning opportunities waiting for you in the 2012-13 program year.
During the 2012-13 program year the Statewide office will provide you the opportunity to attend advanced horticulture and IPM trainings and assist with planning the 2014 Conference. Your local program most likely has a wealth of rewarding opportunities available for you to educate and inspire the home gardener. Unfortunately, there will probably be another new invasive pest waiting to make your acquaintance.
Take a few minutes to document in VMS the valuable hours you contribute in your community. Not only do your individual volunteer projects have a significant impact on your local community, they also assist Pam Geisel and Aubrey Bray in prioritizing program development and training needs on the statewide level. As individual counties and the UC system continue to face financial challenges, your hours are a vital component in securing future funding. During the past year you chose to contribute your valuable time to the Master Gardener program. Now it is the time to verify that the benefits of your volunteer projects are recorded and acknowledged on both the county and statewide level.
Following the completion of recertification and the entering of your volunteer hours, enjoy a snack of fresh fruit or vegetables. The vegetable scraps make a wonderful addition to the worm compost bin. Don’t have a worm compost bin? Recertify and I guarantee before long a fellow Master Gardener will introduce you to the wonderful world of worms.
Thank you, for being a part of the UC Master Gardener program.