Dear Colleagues,

As summer is winding down, I hope that you have found time to enjoy the Oregon sunshine.

My summer has been a blur. I spent three weeks sampling bees, for what is the final year of my garden bee study (65 species documented, thus far, with more yet to ID). Another two weeks were spent at conferences (the International Master Gardener Conference in King of Prussia, PA and the International Pollinator Conference in Davis, CA). Many days have been spent recording lectures for an online certificate program in Urban Agriculture (the first in the nation, with first classes to be taught this academic year! ~ fliers attached) or working on MG staffing or other priorities. Now that my field research is winding down, I’ve started to work on a field guide of Western Oregon garden bees. I hope to publish this guide through EESC, in tandem with another Extension publication on ‘Attracting Beneficial Insects with Native Plants (Western Oregon)’, which will be based upon Aaron Anderson’s Ph.D. research.

I will not be at the 3rd Quarterly Board meeting. My husband and I made a spur of the moment decision to go to Hawaii for the OSU vs Hawaii football game . . . something that happens every 3-5 years, and something that has been on our bucket list for a long time. I’ve really been suffering from burnout, these past few months. My health has taken a huge toll ~ and I’m trying to take more time to enjoy life away from work. This does not mean that I’m going to become a slacker, or that I’m abandoning the MG program. I love this program, and my passion is to make a positive difference in Community Horticulture Extension, Education, and Research, before I retire. What I’m trying to do is course correct, and take care of my health before it really starts to impact my quality of life and my job. I like to think of this phase of my life as ‘experiments in work-life balance’ . . . since I have had very little balance over the  course of my career. Some of you know that my husband owns and operates a commercial cleaning business. This means that he works from 4-11pm most nights . . . which means that I would simply extend my work day well into the evening. This was fine in my 30s, and even in my 40s. But, I’m looking ahead to the next 12 years that I hope to work at OSU, and am thinking ‘this isn’t sustainable’. So, I’m trying something new . . . and that includes heading to Hawaii on September 7th. I will miss you all, and look forward to hearing about the board meeting, upon my return.

 

Items in my Report:

  1. EMG Program Staffing Updates
  2. Continuing Education Proposition ~ Provide Your Feedback
  3. Use of Term ‘Veteran Master Gardener’
  4. Home Hort Retreat Subcommittee Update
  5. Urban Ag Course Development and Online MG Course
  6. Oregon Food Bank and Seed to Supper
  7. Mini-College Notes
  8. EMG Program Staffing Updates: this past year, a lot of my time has been allocated to staffing issues. I chaired the committee for the Lane County Extension Professor of Practice, and served as search advocate for a tenure track hire in Extension entomology. I’ve crafted the first drafts of Position Descriptions that will soon (hopefully) turn into a new Extension hire on the north coast, and a temp hire in the Columbia Gorge.

 

New Hires

  • Erica Chernoh (Assistant Professor of Practice in Lane County). Erica will be working with Lane County Master Gardeners and commercial growers (with a focus on tree fruit and nut growers). Erica is fluent in Spanish, and has delivered Extension programming in Spanish. She has worked for Extension in California and in Oregon. She has created new curricula at Chemeketa community college, where she has taught a wide array of subjects in horticulture and agriculture. She also has extensive international experience. We are lucky to be working with her.
  • Carla Stables (Office Specialist in Yamhill County):  Carla lives on a farm South of Gaston with her husband and two children. They raise dairy cows, meat goats, and horticultural crops. Her children are very active in 4-H and FFA. She enjoys working with the Master Gardeners at the Yamhill County fair and plant sale. She has spent the past 20 years working in the medical industry doing scheduling and insurance for a physical therapy clinic. She is looking forward to working with the Master Gardener association.
  • Morgan Lyman (EPA in Josephine County) Morgan will be working with the Master Gardener and the 4-H Programs in Josephine Counties. She recently graduated from Oregon State with a degree in Animal Science. She is looking forward to meeting members of the Home Horticulture working group, and working in the Master Gardener Program.
  • Amanda Noyes (temp EPA II in Clatsop County): Amanda moved to Astoria, OR from Astoria, Queens four years ago. Her passion for vegetable gardening led her to the Clatsop County Master Gardeners; she completed the training in spring of 2019. She previously worked in university administration at New York University and has a master’s in theoretical linguistics from Georgetown University. She is very much looking forward to working with the Home Horticulture working group.

Resignations

  • Rachel Suits (Outreach Program Coordinator, Hood River County): has taken a position with the White Salmon School District.
  • Jade Wilson (OS1, Yamhill County): relocated to another area with her family.

Other Staffing Updates

  • We anticipate hiring a new Professor of Practice to cover community horticulture and Master Gardeners, covering Clatsop and Tillamook counties. Some may view this as a loss ~ since Joy Jones was only located in Tillamook County. But, I see it as a gain for community horticulture, as Joy was split between 4-H, general agriculture, and Master Gardeners. The new Professor of Practice position will cover two counties, but only one program. And, there is a commitment to get on-the-ground assistance in EACH county, to support the efforts of the new Professor of Practice.
  • We anticipate hiring a temporary Educational Program Assistant to cover the MG Program in Hood River County, for an 18-month period.
  1. Master Gardener continuing education credit for reading research-based publications.

Sara Runkel brought up the idea offering continuing education credit for Master Gardener volunteers who read approved, research-based publications. We have drafted a proposal. Please take a look, and let us know what you think.

In order to make more continuing education (CE) opportunities available to Master Gardener Volunteers we are now officially approving CE credit for reading approved research-based publications that relate to sustainable gardening. These publications will provide in-depth information on a variety of gardening topics that volunteers can draw on when working in the plant clinic or providing community education. In addition this process will encourage volunteers to read OSU and other research-based publications with the added benefit of familiarizing volunteers with up-to-date resources that can be shared with clients. Each publication will qualify for one hour of CE. Some publications may take more or less time to read, but 60 minutes is a good average.

 How to determine if a publication qualifies for CE.

 Publications from the following sources are generally deemed appropriate: OSU Extension Catalog, other Extension Services, governmental organizations (i.e. Department of Agriculture, USDA, etc.). Where possible OSU publications should be given preference. Publications should relate to sustainable gardening, home horticulture, or backyard and local food production. Providing a list of suggested and approved reading with web links is encouraged. This will make it easy for volunteers to access the publications and should prevent them from finding out of date publications that have been archived.

 

Example of a suggested reading list for August from the OSU Extension Catalog

Conserving Water in Your Yard and Garden

Fall and Winter Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest

Blossom-End Rot of Tomatoes

Picking and Storing Apples and Pears

A Guide to Collecting Soil Samples for Farms and Gardens

Cover Crops for Home Gardens

 

How to receive credit for reading research-based publications.

We want to ensure that you carefully and comprehensively read each publication, so that you are able to incorporate your new-found knowledge in your volunteer activities, as well as in your own garden. For each publication that you read, please report the following information in the Volunteer Reporting System (VRS), or turn in the following information to your Master Gardener coordinator.

 

  1. Author. Year. Title. Publication Number or other identifying information.
  2. Where you found or accessed the Publication
  3. What is the overall goal of the publication?
  4. List three things that you learned from reading this publication.
  5. List two ways you can use this information in your volunteer service and/or your own garden.
  6. Report 1 hour of CE per publication, in the VRS system (or the reporting system used in your county).

 

Example:

  1. Jones and Sells. 2004. Rufous hummingbird. EC 1570.
  2. I found it on the OSU Extension Catalog site. The direct link is https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog/files/project/pdf/ec1570.pdf
  3. This publication teaches people about rufous hummingbird life history, behavior, and habitat.
  4. I learned:
  • Rufous hummingbirds migrate to warmer climates in the fall, because there is no nectar in northern climates in fall and winter. In fact, they follow manzanita blooms as they migrate. I had thought that they migrate because they can’t tolerate cold weather (which is probably also true, but I had not considered the nectar connection).
  • Rufous hummingbirds use spider webs to ‘glue’ together their nest materials. So cool!
  • Hummingbirds can live up to 5+ years. I had thought that their small size and high metabolism would promote a shorter lifespan.
  1. I will use this information to:
  • Tell people what to plant for hummingbirds:  bleeding hearts, red-flowering currant, salmonberry, columbine, fushias, orange honeysuckle.
  • Encourage people to consider how their cat might be impacting hummingbird populations.
  1. Use of the Term ‘Veteran Master Gardener’

Please consider moving away from the use of the term ‘Veteran Master Gardener’, and instead substitute the term with ‘Perennial Master Gardener’ or ‘Current Master Gardener’.

This suggested change in terminology is coincident with our program’s increasing outreach to military veterans, many of whom have joined our program as Master Gardener volunteers. This suggested change in terminology makes it less confusing for military veterans working in our program (are we referring to them? are we referring to other volunteers?). More importantly, it is helping to make our military veterans feel more welcome in the program, and their service respected.

As the MG Program continues to try and make our program more inclusive to all, please consider making this change on the local level, and communicating this change with your fellow volunteers. I welcome your comments on this suggestion.

 

  1. Home Horticulture Retreat Subcommittee Update

 

The outcomes of our Home Horticulture working group retreat (held May, 2019) include:

  • Updating our Mission and Vision Statement
  • Drafting an Onboarding and Mentoring Program for Master Gardener Coordinators

 

Our subcommittee (composed of Pami Monnette, Sam Clayburn, Eric Bosler/Sue Nesbitt (OMGA representative), Nicole Sanchez, and Michelle Sager are working on these items, and plan to have concrete recommendations to advance to the entire group, in advance of our meeting at Extension Annual Conference.

 

  1. Urban Ag Course Development and Online MG courses – (See reference documents at the bottom of the page)
  • The Urban Ag courses that I referenced in the preface of this report are part of an overall certificate program that will result in a transcript-visible certificate in urban agriculture at OSU. But, we are also spinning off course content into non-credit, online trainings. These non-credit, online trainings are offered for a fee, that helps to fund the instructors.
  • The development of an online certificate program in urban ag dovetails nicely with our efforts in online courses for Master Gardener volunteers and the gardening public. Folks who teach online courses for credit at OSU have access to OSU ECampus course development resources . . . something that was never made available to me when putting together non-credit, online course offerings. Developing the urban ag courses has thus helped to raise the quality of course delivery for the online MG program ~ including more videos and interactives. These will continue to grow, over time. Here’s an example of a new, intro video for the entomology module (https://oregonstate.box.com/s/1qtkekxfwca3f4x9x2dgv3pckaahjhjo) . . . you may need to have a Box account to view, but I tried to change the link settings so that you do not.
  • This year, to assist with what we anticipate will be a shortage of OSU instructors for MG annual trainings, we are making all online MG classes free to county MG coordinators, for use in their annual MG trainings. This is a pilot project, that will be evaluated at the end of training. I rely on income from the online MG classes to pay the online MG course instructor. However, I suspect that most of the traffic we get for paid courses comes from outside of the MG Program (many are in other states or countries), and that making the online modules free for use should not negatively impact my ability to fund the people who work in my program.

 

  1. Oregon Food Bank and Seed to Supper
  • I received a lot of feedback, from multiple counties, regarding different interpretations of a recent conference call between the Oregon Food Bank and Seed to Supper facilitators. I am collecting feedback from county MG coordinators, to inform a discussion scheduled for September 11th at the Oregon Food Bank. I have heard conflicting accounts related to that phone call ~ so I don’t want to summarize the issues, here. In fact, there are different interpretations of what the issues are. For now, I want the OMGA to know that I am gathering information, and am looking forward to the September 11th meeting with the OFB.

 

  1. Mini-College: A few notes, related to Mini-College discussions:
  • There is a hold on the Alumni Center for July 24-25th, 2020, in case the OMGA would like to go forward with Mini-College
  • I have submitted a query to OSU Housing and Dining, to find out about dorm space and dining hall options. I will share information with Sue Nesbitt, once received.
  • I have submitted a request to the Hilton Garden Inn, Holiday Inn, and Courtyard Marriott for proposals for hotel housing. I will share their proposals with Sue Nesbitt, once received.
  • Sue and I met with the new coordinator of the Oregon Master Food Preservers, to talk about hosting a joint conference. They are interested in partnering on this event ~ where partnership means making a place and space for MFP classes/workshops, attendees, fundraising options (silent auction). We decided, since there are so many more MGs than MFPs, that it still makes sense for the OMGA to be the fiscal agent for Mini-College.

 

Take care,

Gail Langellotto, Ph.D.

Statewide Coordinator, Oregon State University Extension Master Gardener Program

Professor of Horticulture, Oregon State University

4017 ALS Building, Corvallis, OR 97331

Office Phone:  541-737-5175

Email:  gail.langellotto@oregonstate.edu

Referenced Documents

Introduction to Urban Agriculture

Case Studies in Urban Agriculture

Guide to using Modules – Online MG Training Program