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Feeling at Home with Fellow UC Master Gardeners at the 2017 Conference!


UC Master Gardeners taking photos with friends and fellow volunteers at the social media wall at the conference. Photo credit: Sheila Clyatt
The woman next to me asked if I wouldn't mind passing the butter, then she adds, "Harlequin Beetles are a nuisance." I nod in response and we move on to another exciting lunch topic. I am at a table surrounded by strange garden loving enthusiasts and I feel right at home.

In fact, it is the 2017 UC Master Gardener Conference, in Long Beach, and we have descended on a very "posh" hotel with our sneakers, jeans and short practical fingernails. We stand out so much that it is almost humorous. We are a jovial crowd, relaxed and invigorated by the audible buzz of information and humor relayed at every gathering.

Some of the returnees appear to take everything in stride but I am so excited about this event that I push all fear aside and talk to every UC Master Gardener volunteer I meet. I am relieved to establish that UC Master Gardeners are totally approachable, love to share information and some can talk longer on the subject of compost then I can. That is quite an accomplishment.

What is so awesome about this event, is that when entomology is discussed instead of glazed over eyes, my fellow attendees become hypervigilant to the subject and even interject with commentary. These are my people!
I had wanted to attend UC Master Gardener conferences in the past, including the 2014 event in Yosemite. But each year after filling out the application, adding the cost of hotel and transportation I'd determine it's not within my budget. This year with the help of the funds raised by the previous silent auction made available to all UC Master Gardeners volunteers, combined with the cheap airfare on JetBlue I was able to attend.

Having fun with "face coasters" during the awards banquet and silent auction. Photo credit: Sheila Clyatt
The experience was amazing! Everything about the conference was exceptional: we ate great food, listened to stimulating lectures, participated in hands on workshops, and met wonderful staff and volunteers. I also gained an extraordinary sense that I was a part of something bigger and that my contributions back home held a more significant impact because of it.

Witnessing what other UC Master Gardeners were doing in their counties was both inspiring and reassuring. We might not be geographically close - but our goals, efforts and intentions were all in alliance. This comradery of meaningful contribution buffered both my stamina in the program and my commitment to its goals.

I hope that I might be fortunate enough to attend another UC Master Gardener conference in the coming years, and if so, I hope to see you there!

Posted on Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 9:46 AM
  • Author: Sheila Clyatt

UC Master Gardener volunteers know household pests!

It's well known that the UC Master Gardener Program produces dedicated volunteers who are extremely knowledgeable about home horticulture and gardening. UC Master Gardener volunteers; especially those working at help desks, hotlines, and farmers markets, respond to thousands of requests each year, extending information and resources to California's residents that help them maintain landscapes, grow healthy food, and manage pests using the principles of integrated pest management (IPM).

Household pests such as cockroaches may be especially popular request topics within UC Master Gardener Programs serving the urban residential public in California. This photo shows oriental cockroaches, an outdoor species that can come into homes that are not properly sealed. Structural exclusion and other nonchemical preventive tactics can be used to solve this pest problem without the need for insecticides. Learn about this and other household pest solutions in order to better serve your clien

 

Pests don't disappear at the front door, however: there are plenty of significant pests threatening our households, structures, and communities. In fact, residents in urban counties may have more need for information and resources associated with household pest IPM than for landscape and garden IPM. Even rural counties are filled with homes that may be infested by key urban pests such as ants, cockroaches, bed bugs, flies, termites, pantry pests, and rodents.

UC Master Gardener Programs have seen increasing numbers and rates of requests for information about these pests. Using the principles of IPM, household pests can be effectively managed while minimizing negative impacts to our communities and the environment. For instance, many unnecessary pesticide applications are made in urban environments, leading to pesticide exposure events, pesticide resistance issues, and environmental contamination, especially of urban surface water systems. In many cases, pests could have been managed using preventive or nonchemical tactics.

Whether in the home or in the garden, IPM is one of the key knowledge areas in which UC Master Gardener volunteers receive training. Using the UC IPM website and its materials, such as Pest Notes and Quick Tips, UC Master Gardeners are able to help answer household pest requests. Even so, volunteers familiar with plant ecosystems may not always feel confident when addressing pest problems in the home. Luckily, an advanced training opportunity exists for UC Master Gardener volunteers who would like to increase their proficiency in household IPM. 

UC Master Gardeners use insect specimens, pest management products, and printed information to answer questions about key household pests during one of UC IPM’s Advanced IPM Training for MGs workshops. You can use an online continuing education module to train yourself and others about IPM for household pests in your home county.

A continuing education module, entitled Advanced IPM Training for UC Master Gardeners: Household Pests, was developed by Dr. Andrew Sutherland, Urban IPM Advisor in the San Francisco Bay Area. This advanced training has been provided several times for UC Master Gardeners at in-person hands-on workshops, but it is also available online within UC IPM's IPM Resources for UC Master Gardeners web portal.

The module includes a PowerPoint presentation, word-for-word script, instructions on hands-on exercises associated with the presentation, and handouts providing detailed information about the pests covered. Help Desk leaders and other UC Master Gardener volunteers can use these materials to deliver the modules to other volunteers using a train-the-trainer model. The module can also be delivered to residential clientele directly. Pests discussed include: ants, bed bugs, cockroaches, pantry pests, termites, and other wood-destroying insects.

We encourage you to take advantage of this unique training opportunity, and become a local expert on household pests. As always, UC ANR Advisors like Dr. Sutherland are available to answer difficult questions and to provide more in-depth training, but this module can certainly help you build confidence and prepare you for that next bed bug request (you know it's coming!).

The updated continuing education module can be found at the following URL: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/FAQ/mghousehold.html

For questions about this Household Pests module, please contact Dr. Andrew Sutherland

 

Posted on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 2:54 PM

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

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