Tag Archives: master gardeners

Dave Close receives alumni award for excellence in Extension

Dave CloseDavid Close, consumer horticulture specialist and Virginia Cooperative Extension state master gardener coordinator, has received the 2016 Alumni Award for Excellence in Extension.

Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in Extension is presented annually to two Virginia Cooperative Extension faculty members who have made outstanding contributions to the land-grant mission of the university. One award goes to an Extension specialist and the other is given to an Extension agent. Each award winner receives $2,000.

Since assuming the position in 2004, Close has developed several resources to improve the work the Extension master gardener can accomplish.

He worked directly with the Virginia Master Gardener Association  and the College of Agriculture and LIfe Sciences development office to establish the State Master Gardener Coordinator’s Endowment as a means to solve the persistent lack of stable funding for the state master gardener coordinator position. The endowment has a goal of $1 million and is currently at more than $500,000.

See the full story on Virginia Tech News.

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2014 Extension Master Gardener Annual Report now available

The Office of the State Master Gardener Coordinator is pleased to announce that the 2014 Annual Report is officially available. This extensive report covers all the changes and updates that have been made to the program over the past several years, including an in-depth look at the strategic planning process. The report also covers each of the 62 units from across Virginia with the information given by the units on their 2014 accomplishments and highlights.

This year, printed copies of the report will go out to Extension stakeholders across the state with the Agency 229 Annual Report.

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Master Gardener program unveils new website

In September, the VCE Master Gardener Program unveiled a new website. The revamped site was almost a year in the making.

Planning for the new website began in October of last year after the office realized a need for a fresh and more user-friendly site. The launch of the website brings many new and exciting features as well as an updated look.

Master Gardener website screen shot

The new site allows for users to choose a category from the home page — current master gardeners, prospective master gardeners, and master gardener coordinators. Each category caters to the needs of the specific user. This feature helps users have a more tailored experience with the site.

Users will also be able to connect and stay updated with the VCE Master Gardener Facebook posts through the live feed displayed on the home page.

Coordinators will also see many new and helpful features. Through a password-protected area, coordinators can access resources including the ability to request certificates, download marketing tools and templates, and view social media guidelines.

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2014 Korea Master Gardener International Conference

Cooking Demo with South Korean MGs

The Gyeonggi-do Agriculture Research and Extension Services served as the host site for an International Master Gardener Conference from Sept. 23-27. The conference involved more than 200 attendees from Germany, Japan, South Korea and the United States. While the majority of attendees were Master Gardeners from South Korea, 25 attendees represented several states from the U.S. Our conference host and liaison was Lee Wonsuk, a research scientist at GARES. He was the key organizer for the conference and was assisted by leaders from the Korean Master Gardener Association.

4-H Monument at GARESCooperative Extension was introduced in Korea in the late 1940s through the 4-H program. As a matter of fact, a monument in front of the research center pays tribute to the introduction of 4-H to their country. In more recent history, two Extension Master Gardener programs have been established and are actively working to meet the consumer horticulture needs in two South Korean provinces: Gyeonggi and Jeju Island.

The opening ceremony of the conference included a welcome from the Governor of Gyeonggi Province. The conference included several keynote sessions with concurrent breakouts as well. Our very own Debbie Dillion, ANR Extension Agent in Horticulture from Culpeper, gave a presentation on Building and Maintaining an Effective Master Gardener Program during one of the concurrent sessions.

While we were there, we were able to visit several community gardens throughout the city as well as the private gardens of two South Korean Master Gardeners. The hospitality was unsurpassed by anyone’s standards. Our hosts were absolutely gracious the entire time we were there and their attention to every detail was impeccable. The cultural experience was irreplaceable. It was interesting to note that despite some language and cultural differences, the opportunities, barriers, and challenges faced by their Extension Master Gardener program are very similar to what we experience here in the United States. Likewise, the Extension Master Gardener program is alive and growing there the same as it is here. Agriculture, and specifically horticulture, truly is a universal and equalizing art and discipline.

— Dave Close
Consumer Horticulture and Master Gardener Specialist

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Master Gardener Program strategic planning session overview

In early December 2013, a group of Extension specialists, agents, and Master Gardener volunteers met in Charlottesville, Va., in a Strategic Planning retreat, the first in over a decade. Participants represented all four Extension districts and included people from both rural and urban programs. Those involved in the retreat crafted mission and vision statements, defined the program’s core values, and set the course of the Extension Master Gardener Program for the next two years, with the priorities of training, branding, and enhanced program support.

If you’d like more information from their session, they have summarized the findings from the retreat online.


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Junior Master Gardener youth program

The Hahn Horticulture Garden and Montgomery County 4-H invites you to help spread the news about the Junior Master Gardener program.

Junior Master Gardener logoThis program is a fun youth gardening program modeled after the highly successful adult Master Gardener program. It offers horticultural and environmental science education through creative gardening activities. The program includes 26 classes over the spring and fall. Classes will be led by trained Master Gardener volunteers with support from Hahn Horticulture Garden and Extension staff (generally 3 adults for each class).

Hahn Horticulture Garden will provide garden space for some of the gardening projects. Participants in this program will have the opportunity to become certified Junior Master Gardeners through hands-on learning, community service, and leadership projects. Youth will be encouraged to work towards Junior Master Gardener certification, though it is not required. Details about certification will be explained at the first meeting.

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Third Annual Community Garden Forum

On April 19, the Dan River Partnership for a Healthy Community hosted their 3rd Annual Community Garden Forum in Danville, Virginia with more than 40 people in attendance. Representatives ranging from local residents who have participated in a community garden in the past and those interested in starting one, Virginia Cooperative Extension agents from the area, local Master Gardeners, academic partners, parks and recreation, and more! The two and a half hour event included a healthy, bountiful array of fresh vegetables and fruits for attendees to enjoy as they sat and participated in the forum.

Read more at Dan River Partnership for a Healthy Community blog.

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Passing down knowledge to the future

Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardener Association president’s report

Let’s talk history.

Not history in the big picture but history in a small way. Not your history or my history but a gardener’s personal history.

I recently received a box from my brother containing a few things from our grandmother’s sewing chest. He didn’t think they were of much value, but he thought, as I also sew, that I could use them. In the box were several pamphlets covering everything from mending to small home repairs, from gardening to candle making, from reupholstering to crocheting. Everything a Kansas farm wife would need to know. These pamphlets dated from the mid-1930s to the late-1960s and carried a wealth of useful everyday information. Continue reading

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Prince William upcoming events

February 23: Jump Start into Spring — Basics of Gardening

  • Taught by VCE – Prince William Master Gardener Volunteers
  • Manassas Park Community Center, 99 Adams Street, Manassas Park, 20111.
  • 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Topics include: The Dirt on Dirt – Gardening Successfully with Clay Soils, Sustainable Organic Vegetable Gardening, Starting Flower Seed for your Garden, and Taking Care of Your Trees
  • Single: $20.00 (materials included); Couple: $30.00 (shared materials included)

For a registration form go to our website, call the Extension Horticulture Help Desk at 703-792-7747 or email master_gardener@pwcgov.org

Snow Date: March 2, 2013 Continue reading

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