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Learning, Networking and Fun: A look back at the 2017 UC Master Gardener Conference

The Hyatt Regency was buzzing with activity as UC Master Gardener volunteers learned about the latest research in home horticulture at the 2017 UC Master Gardener Conference in Long Beach. New session topics, hands-on workshops and speakers were tailored to ensure the conference met attendees' continuing education and learning needs. The social media photo wall, book signing and conference commemorative pin provided a fun setting for participants to mingle and make memories to take home.

“[The 2017 UC Master Gardener Conference] far exceeded anything I expected. It was amazing, I learned so much, and I feel a part of a bigger community now. I had no idea UC Master Gardeners were such a friendly, happy, fun and wonderful group of people. It really inspires me to stay in the program,” said one conference goer.

UC Master Gardener volunteers from Riverside County taking a group photo together and having fun in front of the social media photo wall! ©UC Regents / Melissa Womack

Welcome & keynotes

To kick-off the conference attendees were welcomed to Southern California by Keith Nathaniel, UC Cooperative Extension Director in Los Angeles County and Darren Haver, UC Cooperative Extension and REC Director in Orange County. “Southern California has so much to showcase for gardeners. We have undeniably beautiful landscapes in addition to serious environmental challenges,” said Haver. “The conference promotes citizen science in a way that makes me proud to be part of UC where I know my research reaches the people who will use it to make a difference.”

Following the warm welcome from the hosting counties, statewide director, Missy Gable applauded the program and its volunteer's accomplishments. Gable then invited participants to take the opportunity to network and build relationships across the state.

"The UC Master Gardener Program is an incredible network of volunteers, coordinators, advisors and experts from across California,” said Gable. "We were extremely excited to be able to learn together and most importantly celebrate the incredible impacts and accomplishments of our volunteers."

Keynote speakers, Adam Schwerner, director of Horticulture and Resort Enhancement at Disneyland Resort, inspired attendees to look for opportunities to incorporate art and creativity into the garden. ©UC Regents / Marcy Sousa

Two keynote speakers, Adam Schwerner, Director of Horticulture and Resort Enhancement at Disneyland Resort and Dr. Allen Armitage, Author, Lecturer and emeritus professor at the University of Georgia kept the audience inspired. Each speaker offered unique and different perspectives on gardening in public spaces and home horticulture. Schwerner encouraged each attendee to not be afraid of taking risks in the garden, and to develop a personal artistic flair that speaks to them through experimentation and most importantly having fun. Armitage shared his passion of home horticulture, offering a glimpse intro the historical foundation for various plants as well as sharing stories as sharing stories and light-hearted lessons from the field. 

Conference attendees learning about diagnosing plant and pest diseases with the intensive session, Plant Diagnostics, with speaker Janine Hasey (not pictured). ©UC Regents / Melissa Womack

Sessions, sessions and more sessions!

With 58 break-out sessions and two keynote speakers there was a wealth of knowledge and experience available to all who attended the triennial conference. New this year was the option for attendees to register for special intensive sessions that offered unique or more in-depth trainings. Popular intensive sessions included, illustrated garden journaling, plant diagnostics, and Kirk Brown as John Bartram “America's 1st Master Gardener.” 

The Illustrated Garden Journal intensive session with artist, Brenda Swenson, offered attendees a unique conference experience, combining both art and science together. ©UC Regents / Marcy Sousa

Awards banquet and silent auction

Following an afternoon of inspiring guest and keynote speakers, attendees were invited to join together in the grand ballroom of the Long Beach Convention Center for the awards banquet and silent auction. Guests at the awards banquet were able to view and bid on beautiful baskets of local goods and handmade items, generously donated by local county programs and program supporters.

A special recognition and sincere thank you to the UC Master Gardeners of Ventura County for organizing and soliciting silent auction items. The silent auction was a huge success raising $7,910! All of the money raised is used to provide scholarships to UC Master Gardeners with a financial need at future conferences. 

Volunteers who reached volunteer hours milestones of more than 5,000 hours were honored during the awards banquet. Pictured from left to right: Missy Gable, Anne-Marie Walker, Cindy Peterson, Pauline Pedigo, Marcia Van Loy, Jan Youngquist, and UC ANR’s Wendy Powers and Mark Bell. ©UC Regents / Marcy Sousa

Celebrating the magic of volunteers

During the awards banquet volunteers who donated more than 5,000 volunteer hours were recognized and celebrated for their outstanding contributions to the University of California, our communities and our environment.

The magic of volunteers continued to be celebrated at the “Happiest Place on Earth.” Volunteers with more than 5,000 volunteer hours were invited to an exclusive behind-the-scenes horticulture tour at Disneyland Resort, before the park opened to the public. The tour at Disneyland Resort was a rich experience full of industry insight into design, installation and maintenance, as well as what it takes to create the perfect seasonal landscape.

Active UC Master Gardener volunteers with more than 5,000 volunteer hours were invited to a behind-the-scenes tour at Disneyland, hosted by the horticulture team at Disneyland Resort. ©UC Regents / Melissa Womack

Join us in thanking and honoring volunteers in your county who reached new hour milestones since the 2014 conference:

10,000+ Hours:  
  • Karen Schaffer, Santa Clara County
  • Bracey Tiede, Santa Clara County
7,500+ Hours:   
  • DJ DeProspero, Sonoma County
  • Fred Hoffman, Sacramento County
  • Dolores Ransom, Calaveras County
  • Milli Wright, Santa Clara County
5,000+ Hours:  
  • Pat Decker, Sonoma County
  • Charlotte Getz, San Diego County
  • Carol Graham, San Diego County
  • Nella Henninger, Santa Clara County
  • Barbara Hill, Ventura County
  • Judy Parker, Fresno County
  • Pauline Pedigo, Riverside County
  • Cindy Peterson, Riverside County
  • Ginni Renfrew, Neveda County
  • Lois Stevens, Marin County
  • Beth Teviotdale, Fresno County
  • Marge Tobias, Sonoma County
  • Marcia Van Loy, San Diego County
  • Bonnie Wagner, Santa Clara County
  • Leimone Waite, Shasta County
  • Anne-Marie Walker, Marin County
  • Jan Youngquist, Orange County

Grow LA Victory Garden took first-place in the Search for Excellence awards, for its work with teaching vegetable gardening basics to the residents of Los Angeles County. ©UC Regents / Melissa Womack

Search for Excellence & photo contest winners 

The top three winners for the Search for Excellence awards: Los Angeles, Orange and Marin counties were congratulated and presented their award certificates. Rachel Surls, advisor in UC Cooperative Extension Los Angeles County, gave an inspiring presentation about first-place winner – Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative. The Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative was developed in response to the need for a curriculum for beginning vegetable gardeners in Los Angeles County. 

Tom Furnanz won the Gardeners Choice award for his photo "Lily and the Swallowtail" in the Creatures in the Garden category for the 2017 UC Master Gardener Photo Contest. ©UC Regents / Melissa Womack

The conference also had a photo gallery where attendees could view and vote on their favorite photo contest finalist. The last day of the conference started with a “hurray” and lots of “awwws” during the announcement of the 2017 UC Master Gardener Photo Contest's Gardeners Choice award which went to Tom Fernanz, Calaveras-Tuolumne Counties, for his adorable photo titled, “Lily and the Swallowtail.”

We hope you join us in 2020!

Many thanks to the numerous volunteer, host counties and conference planning committee members who made the 2017 conference a reality. Without their dedication and support the conference would not have been possible. We look forward to continuing the celebration of the program and the magic of its volunteers at the 2020 UC Master Gardener Conference in Northern California.

Do you have a suggestion for the next conference or feedback for this year's event? Let us know at ucanr.edu/mgfeedback.

Attendees got hands-on experience with plant propagation from speaker Taylor Lewis, Teaching Nursery manager at the UC Davis Arboretum. ©UC Regents / Melissa Womack

Edible landscaping tips, food, and gardening advice from Rosalind Creasy, a pioneer in the field of edible landscaping.©UC Regents / Melissa Womack

 

Posted on Monday, September 11, 2017 at 8:08 AM

UC Recognizes Outstanding Master Gardener Projects ‘Search for Excellence’ Awards

Congratulations to the 2017 UC Master Gardener Search for Excellence winners! UC Master Gardener Programs in Los Angeles, Orange and Marin counties are the top three winners of the Search for Excellence competition. The triennial Search for Excellence coincides with the 2017 UC Master Gardener Conference taking place Aug. 22-25 in Long Beach, Calif. 

The three winners were selected from a field of 27 outstanding entries, representing counties from throughout the state. The overall high quality of the projects submitted for review demonstrate the commitment that UC Master Gardener volunteers have to fulfilling our mission to extend UC research-based knowledge and information on home horticulture, pest management, and sustainable landscape practices to the residents of California. Congratulations to all that participated!

The winners are!


First Place, $1500 award:
Los Angeles- Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative

UC Master Gardener staff and volunteers in Los Angeles County noticed that the UC Master Gardener helpline was receiving more calls from beginning vegetable gardeners, reflecting a new trend documented by the National Gardening Association. In response to this trend the Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative was created to meet the needs of beginning vegetable gardeners. Using a curriculum developed by staff, UC Master Gardener volunteers lead the four-session workshop series at community sites including libraries and schools. First piloted in 2010, the Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative became popular with volunteers and participants alike. UC Master Gardeners lead more than 20 series annually. To date, more than one hundred UC Master Gardener volunteers have led or assisted 229 four-week classes at 40 community partner sites. This project has reached 3,140 participants to date.

 


Second Place $1000 award:
Orange County – Radio Show: In the Garden with UC Master Gardeners

UC Master Gardeners of Orange County host a weekly radio show on a multitude of garden-related topics targeted at the general public. The goal of the show is to distribute UC research based gardening, pest control, and water use best practices in an entertaining, season appropriate and informative manner. In the Garden with UC Master Gardeners reaches a population of more than 1.5 million people. The show is broadcast on the UC Irvine public radio station every Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m. from the on-campus UCI radio studio; however, podcasts (digital audio files) of each show are available on-demand on the UC Master Gardener Program of Orange County public website. Clientele enjoy this easily accessible method of getting gardening information and expert tips.

 


Third Place $500 award:
Marin County – Dig it, Grow it, Eat it

Dig it, Grow it, Eat it is a two part portable field trip that engages school-age youth in learning about garden ecology and interdependence. UC Master Gardeners of Marin County lead learning stations that focus on growing edibles from seed to harvest. Students learn about edible plant parts, seed science, propagation, soil science, and pollination. These concepts teach and utilize mathematical skills and botanical concepts including germination and dissection. UC Master Gardener volunteers meet with classroom teachers before and after the field trip to help them learn about the science on display and conduct follow up lessons back in the classroom. Evaluation shows that Dig it, Grow it, Eat it increases knowledge of growing edibles, scientific method, healthy eating, happiness in gardens and the diversity of plants.

First Runner-up:
Amador County - Multiple Youth Programs

In response to inquiries from local schools and community groups asking for UC Master Gardener volunteers to provide hands-on garden education for youth Amador County UC Master Gardeners launched three successful youth programs. To address this need for youth education volunteers began assisting with field trips, public classes and a 4-H project. The program goal was to reach 200 young people in 2015 and have every 5th grade class in Amador County offer a field trip to a local farm. UC Master Gardeners collaborated with a variety of locations throughout the county including the UC Cooperative Extension office and teaching garden, Amador County Fairgrounds for Farm Day and Hundred Acre Farm. UC Master Gardeners partnered with local schools, Farms of Amador and the 4-H Youth Development Program.

Second Runner-up:
Ventura County - Asian Citrus Psyllid Action Team Model

In response to the Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) threat, the UC Master Gardeners of Ventura County created an outreach and education program that includes speakers. ACP and the Huanglongbing (HLB) disease that it vectors has the potential to destroy the citrus industry in California; which produces 41% of all citrus grown in the United States, generating in excess of $3.4 billion in revenue. Through partnering with local agencies and taking advantage of speaking events UC Master Gardeners are distributing printed ACP/HLB information as well as attending neighborhood meetings to educate the public.

About us

The UC Master Gardener Program provides the public with UC research-based information about home horticulture, sustainable landscaping, and pest management practices. It is administered by local UC Cooperative Extension county-based offices that are the principal outreach and public service arms of the University's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR).


The UC Master Gardener Program is an example of an effective partnership between the UC Division and passionate volunteers. In exchange for training from the University of California, UC Master Gardener volunteers engage the public with timely gardening-related trainings and workshops.  With programs based in 50 California counties and 6,297 active members, UC Master Gardener volunteers donated more than 328,540 hours last year and have donated more than 5 million hours since the program inception in 1981.

 

Posted on Wednesday, August 9, 2017 at 9:26 AM

Announcing the Winners of the Official UC Master Gardener Photo Contest

Following a program wide call for photos, and two rounds of voting the official UC Master Gardener Photo Contest winners have been determined. We are very appreciative of the amount of support and participation from our UC Master Gardener volunteers and the public for casting their vote. Thanks to over 907 votes we now have our first, second and third place winners in each category. This contest was a huge success and we're proud of each and every volunteer who entered their images.


The winners are!


California Friendly Gardening:

First Place, California Friendly Gardening: "CA Native Plants,” by Corinne Yoshihara, Napa County

1st- “CA Native Plants,” by Corinne Yoshihara, Napa County
2nd- “Drought Friendly Succulents,” by Monique Moench, Solano County
3rd- “The CA Dream,” by Kathy Ikeda, San Joaquin County

Creatures in the Garden:

First Place, Creatures in the Garden: “Lily and the Swallowtail,” by Tom Furnanz, Calaveras County

1st- “Lily and the Swallowtail,” by Tom Furnanz, Calaveras County
2nd- “Female Native Longhorn Bee,” by Kimberly Steinmann, Sacramento County
3rd- “Ingurgitating Praying Mantid,” by Sharon Leos, Solano County

Incredible Edibles:

First Place, IncredibleEdibles: “Ravishing Radishes,” by Anne McDermott, Orange County

1st- “Ravishing Radishes,” by Anne McDermott, Orange County
2nd- “Beta vulgaris ‘Incognito',” by Kathy Ikeda, San Joaquin County
3rd- “Summer's Bounty,” by Rebecca Schoenenberger, Santa Clara County

UC Master Gardeners in Action:

First Place, UC Master Gardeners in Action: “Learning about Critters in a Pond,” by Peggy Chipkin Marin County

1st- “Learning about Critters in a Pond,” by Peggy Chipkin Marin County
2nd- “Fresh peas taste great!” by Summer Brasuel, El Dorado County
3rd- “Happy to Help,” by Amina Horikoshi, Sacramento County

Outstanding Ornamental:

First Place, Outstanding Ornamental: “Exploding Milkweed,” by Cindy Elkins, Fresno County

1st- “Exploding Milkweed,” by Cindy Elkins, Fresno County
2nd- “Looking Up,” by Carol Jesse, Alameda County
3rd- “Echeveria,” by Jeffrey Blake, San Mateo-San Francisco Counties

Prizes

First, second and third place winners will receive a certificate, professional print of their winning shot and will be featured on the 2017 UC Master Gardener Conference website, as well as displayed in a photo gallery at the 2017 UC Master Gardener Conference in Long Beach, Aug. 22-25.

Gardeners Choice: Be sure to vote at the Conference

The first place winner of each category is now entered to win the Gardeners Choice contest, to be voted on at 2017 UC Master Gardener Conference in Long Beach, Aug. 22-25. The winner will be announced on Aug. 25 and awarded a $75.00 gift card and certificate.

Congratulations to all

Thank you and congratulations to all the UC Master Gardner volunteers for participating.  All of the submissions to the official 2017 UC Master Gardener photo contest on our contest website for viewing. Thank you to all those who took the time to participate and share your amazing work and congratulations to our winners. We had so much fun seeing all of your creative shots.

Posted on Tuesday, August 1, 2017 at 11:59 AM

Voting is now open for the official 2017 UC Master Gardener Photo Contest!

Following a program wide call for photos, the official 2017 UC Master Gardener photo contest received more than 350 submissions from UC Master Gardeners across that state! Images ranged from beautiful flowers to fascinating creatures in our gardens in five categories.

Narrowing down each category's top five finalist was no easy task. Each categories finalists stood out to the judges because of its interesting subject matter, composition or connection to the program.

Photo finalists selected, now you vote!

Cast your vote by ranking the finalists in order from 1-5 (1 being your favorite).  Online voting will close on July 31, 2017.  Now it's your turn to help decided the winners! (Finalists listed in no particular order.)

California Friendly Gardening:

  • "San Juan Capistrano Native Garden,” by Nina Payne, Ostensen Orange County
  • “Drought Friendly Succulents,” by Monique Moench, Solano County
  • “Quarry Lakes Demonstration Garden,” by Carol Jesse, Alameda County
  • “CA Native Plants,” by Corinne Yoshihara, Napa County
  • “Gardens Gone Native,” by Kathy Ikeda, San Joaquin County

Creatures in the Garden:

  • “Lily and the Swallowtail,” by Tom Furnanz, Calaveras County
  • “Ingurgitating Praying Mantid,” by Sharon Leos, Solano County
  • “Female Native Longhorn Bee,” by Kimberly Steinmann, Sacramento County
  • “Sharp-shinned Hawk Welcoming Visitors,” by Ken Martin, Ventura County
  • “Last Meal of the Condemned,” by Bruce Goren, San Mateo-San Francisco Counties

Incredible Edibles:

  • “Ravishing Radishes,” by Anne McDermott, Orange County
  • “Beta vulgaris ‘Incognito',” by Kathy Ikeda, San Joaquin County
  • “Winter Veggies,” by Randall Fox, Santa Cruz-Monterey Counties
  • “Summer's Bounty,” by Rebecca Schoenenberger, Santa Clara County
  • “Golden Raspberries,” by Bruce Goren, San Mateo-San Francisco Counties

UC Master Gardeners in Action:

  • “Happy to Help,” by Amina Horikoshi, Sacramento County
  • “Water Audit,” by Kathy Ikeda, San Joaquin County
  • “Learning about Critters in a Pond,” by Peggy Chipkin Marin County
  • “Fresh peas taste great!” by Summer Brasuel, El Dorado County
  • “Which one is next?” by Kim Nguyen, Orange County

Outstanding Ornamental:

  • “Looking Up,” by Carol Jesse, Alameda County
  • “Exploding Milkweed,” by Cindy Elkins, Fresno County
  • “Echeveria,” by Jeffrey Blake, San Mateo-San Francisco Counties
  • “The splendor of a brilliant carnivorous plant,” by Marta Kravech, Sacramento County
  • “Good Morning,” by Meredith French, Gold Badge, San Diego County

Click here to vote: ucanr.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bBoOSl4HlGfrpQ1

View all the photos entries

There is no doubt that UC Master Gardner volunteers have a creative side; be sure to check out all the submissions to official UC Master Gardener photo contest on the contest website. Thank you to all those who took the time to participate and share your amazing and inspiring work! Good luck to our finalists!

 

 

 

Posted on Monday, July 17, 2017 at 11:01 AM

Join the fun, participate in the 2017 Master Gardener Conference Silent Auction!   

Silent auction participants placing bids at the 2014 UC Master Gardener Conference. Photo credit: Marcy Sousa

The UC Master Gardener Program conference planning committee is looking for generous people, businesses and UC Master Gardener counties to help make the 2017 UC Master Gardener Conference silent auction a huge success. The committee is seeking high quality silent auction donations the awards banquet happening at the Long Beach Convention Center on Weds. Aug. 23.

The potential 900 conference attendees will have the opportunity to browse and bid on donated baskets and items throughout the evening. Bidders can bid freely knowing their money will be used to offset future conference costs and provide conference scholarships opportunities for UC Master Gardener volunteers.

Themed baskets, local goods, gift cards and handmade items that were donated for the 2014 conference raised $6,400 and provide both full and partial registration scholarships to the 2017 conference.

Donating items is easy 

Volunteers can work with their local program coordinator and fellow volunteers to designate a lead responsible for all future silent auction correspondence and complete the Silent Auction Participation Form. Please complete the survey no later than Monday, Aug. 7 to secure a spot for your donated items. Visit the conference website to learn more details about the silent auction and how to package silent auction donation baskets. 

If you are a business and would like to donate items for the silent auction please contact Ann Daniel, statewide fundraising coordinator, anndaniel@ucanr.edu or (530)750-1387. We are happy to accept gift certificates, event and/or season tickets, travel vouchers, gardening tools, gloves, hats, gardening accessories, books, photography equipment, close-focus binoculars, pocket microscope, etc.

All individuals, businesses and organizations will be recognized for their donations at the silent auction on table signage and bid sheets for their support of the program.

Proceeds from the silent auction are used to help UC Master Gardener volunteers with financial hardships attend the conference through scholarships.

Help support a program you love!  

Leah Haynes, Program Coordinator in Ventura County and silent auction chair is excited to be a part of the 2017 conference committee and is looking forward to the conference. Haynes is particularly excited about providing an opportunity to UC Master Gardener volunteers to bid on items and support a program they love while creating future learning opportunities and scholarship funds.

“What an excellent opportunity to create a basket that showcases your county's agricultural profile,” says Haynes, “think big and beyond the basket. Let me know if you need my help in creating a theme for your county's basket. I truly appreciate your support for the work we DO!”

Questions? Contact:
(Please include county name and Silent Auction in subject line for all email communications)

County programs contact: 
Leah Haynes
Program Coordinator, Ventura County
Phone: (805)320-4134
Email: ljhaynes@ucanr.edu

Businesses, organizations or individuals contact: 
Ann Daniel
Statewide Fundraising Coordinator
Phone: (530)750-1387
Email: anndaniel@ucanr.edu

  • Are you an artist with a unique masterpiece that reflects the beauty of your county? 
  • Do you have a family member, friend or neighbor that creates gifts for the garden?    
  • Did you purchase too many garden tools that you will never use?  
  • Do you have a vacation home a fellow UC Master Gardener could enjoy? 
  • Did you receive a gift card or two that you will never use?   
  • Do you make beautiful birdhouses or decorative items to adorn the garden?   

Many Hands Make Light the Work!    

Register to donate a silent auction item:
ucanr.edu/sites/2017MGConference/Activities/Silent_Auction

Learn more about the conference: 
ucanr.edu/sites/2017MGConference

Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2017 at 9:52 AM

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