UC Master Gardener Program
University of California
UC Master Gardener Program

Latest Statewide Master Gardener News

Call for Entries: UC Master Gardener Photo Contest

Oh Snap! It's time to show off your photography skills!

Attention UC Master Gardener volunteers! The UC Master Gardener Program invites you to capture and share your creativity in the garden. Enter the Official 2017 UC Master Gardener Photo Contest for a chance to win great prizes and receive recognition among the entire UC Master Gardener community.

UC Master Gardener volunteers can showcase their amazing photography skills and submit a photo in any of the five contest categories:

  1. California friendly gardening
  2. Creatures in the garden
  3. Incredible edibles
  4. UC Master Gardeners in action
  5. Outstanding ornamental

How to enter

Entry is free and open to active UC Master Gardener volunteers. Entries must be submitted electronically by midnight on Friday, June 30, 2017 using the online photo contest submission form. Only one entry allowed per category per participant. Please read and review the official photo contest participation guidelines before entering.


Photographs will be judged on the overall image quality, subject, originality and composition. First, second and third place category winners will receive a gift certificate, professional print of their winning shot and be featured on the 2017 UC Master Gardener Conference website. Winners will be celebrated and displayed in a photo gallery at the 2017 UC Master Gardener Conference in Long Beach, Aug. 22-25.

The first place winner of each category will be entered into 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 certificate.

More information about the 2017 UC Master Gardener Photo Contest and the 2017 UC Master Gardener Conference can be found online. We can't wait to see your beautiful photos!

Questions? Contact: 

Marcy Sousa
Program Coordinator, San Joaquin 
Phone: (209) 953-6111
Email: mdhachman@ucanr.edu


Posted on Monday, June 5, 2017 at 8:34 AM

VMS Reappointment Process Begins June 1

It's reappointment time for the UC Master Gardener Program! Before the reappointment process begins we would like to say thank you. Our dedicated volunteers are the heart of the UC Master Gardener Program and we couldn't make such an incredible impact in our communities without you.

We hope you consider joining us as a volunteer again this upcoming program year. If the answer is yes, just follow the simple steps to reappointment below. Reappointment starts June 1 and is completed in the Volunteer Management System (VMS). Questions about reappointment? Contact your Program Coordinator, Advisor or County Director. 

Step One: Select “Complete Agreement Now” in VMS

  • Log into VMS, vms.ucanr.edu
  • Select “Complete Agreement Now” from prompt box at top of VMS home screen

Step Two: Complete all three sections to fulfill county requirements for participation

Step Three: Verify Date Completed Displays and Print a Copy for your Records  

Quick Tips and FAQ's:

Who must complete the reappointment process? 
The Appointment process is mandatory for all UCCE Master Gardeners / Master Food Preservers, including:

  • Active
  • Limited Active
  • First-Year
  • Gold Badge
  • Platinum Badge

How many hours do I need to volunteer for reappointment? 
The minimum hours required to remain a certified UCCE Master Gardener / UCCE Master Food Preserver are:

  • 25 hours - Volunteer
  • 12 hours - Continuing education

Note: First year UCCE Master Gardeners / UCCE Master Food Preservers are required to complete a minimum of 50 volunteer hours (no continuing education requirement) before the next certification cycle.

What is the date range for calculating hours for reappointment? 
The program year is July 1-June 30th. Hours currently being reported during the reappointment period are from July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017. 

Where do I send my payment?
That statewide office does not collect fees or payment directly from volunteers for reappintment.  Please check with your county coordinator, director or advisor about fees and where and how to submit payment.


Posted on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 8:28 AM

Fundraising made easy at the UC Master Gardener Conference

There is still time to be part of the action!

Featuring breathtaking views of the Long Beach waterfront and additional floor space the 2017 UC Master Gardener Conference MarketPlace is a fun and profitable way for counties to raise funds for their local program needs. 

Participation is easy for everyone 

  • Short application process, no need to provide sales details now!
  • Ample room for your display table and display racks.
  • Table and table cover provided.
  • Secure room eliminates daily setup and takedown.
  • MarketPlace is readily accessible by approx. 1,000 shoppers.
  • UC Master Gardeners are eager to support each other's programs. We love to shop!
  • Shopping is easy; credit cards, cash and checks will be accepted.
  • An on-site private shipping vendor opens the possibility to increased sales. 
  • All UC ANR financial paperwork taken care of by the MarketPlace Committee.
  • No overhead costs.
  • Assistance from UC ANR Program Support Unit guarantees swift transfer of profits.

How to participate

Reserve your table nowMonday, May 15 is the deadline for Program Coordinators, Advisors or Volunteer Leader to submit the short application.

Items for sale

Shoppers especially enjoy the opportunity to purchase items unique to your county and pieces handcrafted by volunteers.  

Popular items at previous conferences include:

  • Jewelry,earrings and lapel pins
  • Aprons – adorned with the UC Master Gardener logo, lace or appliques
  • Garden art, plant markers and gloves
  • Wall art and books

Remember, the holiday shopping season officially starts this Aug. 22-25 in Long Beach. Contact your Program Coordinator, Advisor or Volunteer Leader to become part of the fun.

Questions? Contact:

Judy McClure,
Program Coordinator Sacramento County,
Phone: (916) 875-6719
Email: jmmcclure@ucanr.edu 
(Please include your county name with all correspondence)

Posted on Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 1:20 PM

Search For Excellence deadline has been extended!

There's still time to send us your best work! 

Search for Excellence is a statewide competition designed to recognize outstanding counties and volunteers for projects that support the mission of the Master Gardeners Program. This competition is a unique opportunity to celebrate and share our accomplishments, by showcasing the tremendous talent of Master Gardeners throughout the state in creating innovative outreach programs.  This year the stakes have been raised and the prizes are bigger than ever before!  

The extending deadline means programs have more time to submit their best work and allow those who did not previously consider this opportunity a chance to assemble an application.  The extended deadline is May 12, 2017 by midnight. Please visit the 2017 Search for Excellence website for guidelines and application details. 

Need inspiration? Take a look back at the 2014 Search for Excellence Winners

First Place: Riverside County – Gold Miners

“There's Gold in them der hills!” Riverside County is a big county, stretching from the Los Angeles metro area to the Colorado River.  The challenge was how to better fulfill our mission of educating the community of Riverside County on sustainable gardening practices.  The answer – “Gold Miners.”  The county was divided into nine geographic areas with a Master Gardener in each area actively pursuing volunteering opportunities.  Since 2011, we have increased the presence of Master Gardeners throughout the county, giving Master Gardener opportunities to volunteer closer to home and increase the number of people who are Master Gardeners from the entire county. 

Second Place: Santa Clara County – South County Teaching and Demonstration Garden – Demonstration Garden Category

This one-acre teaching and demonstration garden on the grounds of St. Louise Hospital in Gilroy, Calif. was built for the purpose of extending our educational outreach to the far southern portion of Santa Clara County. Master Gardener volunteers provided hands-on public workshops in the garden as well as classes in both the hospital boardroom and community libraries.  Objectives of the garden include: teaching residents about drought tolerant vegetables, fruits, and ornamentals well-suited to local growing conditions, and modeling sustainable gardening practices reflective of research-based horticultural principals.

Third Place: Orange County – Composting/Worm Composting Video Series

Master Gardeners of Orange County narrated and filmed a series of nine videos on the composting process and six videos on worm composting for their online video library. The videos are a step-by-step series explaining both pile composting and worm composting. Each series begins with an explanation of what composting is, as well as how to start, maintain and troubleshoot a compost pile or worm bin. The videos are posted on the Orange County Master Gardener public website. The videos are designed to instruct and encourage the gardening public to compost either at home or in community gardens or other gardening groups.

If you think one of your county projects is a candidate, let your Master Gardener Program Coordinator or leader know about it! 

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

Southern California (San Luis Obispo, Kern, San Bernardino, and south) 
Scott Parker 
Program Coordinator, San Diego 
Phone: (858)822-6932 
Email: mgsfe@ucanr.edu 

Northern California (Monterey, Kings, Tulare, Inyo and north)
Marcy Sousa 
Program Coordinator, San Joaquin 
Phone: (209)953-6111 
Email: mgsfe@ucanr.edu 


Posted on Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 4:49 PM

Search for Excellence - Gold Miner Program with the UCCE Master Gardeners of Riverside County

As we are gearing up for the 2017 UC Master Gardener Conference in Long Beach, we thought we would highlight past winners of the Search For Excellence competition. Every three years the UC Master Gardener Program hosts a Search for Excellence (SFE) competition looking to recognize projects that exemplify the incredible impacts programs are making across the state. If your program is interested in showcasing projects happening in your county, you can find more information about the Search for Excellence competition on the 2017 conference website. The application deadline is May 1, 2017. In 2014, UCCE Master Gardeners of Riverside County took first place for their Gold Miners Program.

There's Gold in them thar hills! Riverside County is a big county, stretching from the Los Angeles metro area to the Colorado River. The main challenge of the UCCE Master Gardener Program of Riverside County was how to better fulfill their mission of educating their community on sustainable gardening practices. The answer - Gold Miners.

In November, 2010 the Gold Miner program was established with representatives from nine areas of Riverside County:

  1. Riverside
  2. Moreno Valley/Perris
  3. The Pass (Banning Beaumont)
  4. The Mountain area
  5. Desert areas
  6. Hemet/San Jacinto/ Menifee
  7. South County (Temecula/Murrieta)
  8. Lake Elsinore
  9. Corona/Norco
    Corona area gold miner Cindy Peterson and volunteers at an area event

Before this, there was very little UCCE Master Gardener activity in any part of the county except the area around the city of Riverside.

There were two goals for the program:

  1. To provide UCCE Master Gardener services to all of Riverside County, including information tables, speakers and docent services for approved organizations, and,
  2. To provide volunteering opportunities for Master Gardeners all over the county

Each representative of an area is referred to as the Gold Miner, and they are charged with finding the “golden” opportunities to volunteer in their areas.

Right away we realized that the Gold Miner from each area would need to have their own Information box, EZ Up style awing, table cloth, banner, and table so that they did not have to drive to the UCCE Office to set-up an information table each time. It took some time, but the UCCE Master Gardener Program has provided most of this to all of the areas over the past six and a half years. Among the responsibilities of each Gold Miner is to house these properties and to refill their information boxes with brochures, etc, for the events in their area. UCCE Master Gardeners can pick-up information boxes from the Gold Miner in their area for an event.

Perris/Moreno Valley: Partnership with Eastern Municipal Water District, a result of Carol Haffter’s outreach effort in the area

The Gold Miners meet monthly from September – June of each year on the fourth Thursday of the month to discuss ideas and concerns and report on their activities. Besides looking for new opportunities for UCCE Master Gardeners to volunteer in their areas, they are responsible for finding volunteers for these events and any others that may become available through other sources. Although the most common way to inform and procure volunteers for activities is through VMS, often they will call UCCE Master Gardeners in their area to ask for help. The Gold Miner is not responsible for volunteering for activities themselves (unless they want to), but for making sure there are volunteers for approved events. There has been a lot of cooperation between the areas over the last six and a half years to make sure events have the volunteers they need.

I am extremely appreciative of the wonderful UCCE Master Gardeners who have volunteered their time these past years to create and grow this project. Because of them we have greatly increased the number and quality of events that are staffed by UCCE Master Gardeners of Riverside County. As an outcome of providing more services to the county, more people found out about the UCCE Master Gardener Program and wanted to volunteer to be one.

Posted on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 10:32 AM
  • Author: Lucy Heyming, Gold Miner Coordinator

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