Page 1

In Season

FALL 2018

A publication of the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program and the Virginia Tech School of Plant and Environmental Sciences Volume 32, Number 5, October 2018

Dave Close State Master Gardener Coordinator John Freeborn Assistant Master Gardener Coordinator Devon Johnson Communications Project Coordinator Sue Edwards Master Gardener Program Development Gabrielle Sanderson Program Support and Implementation

Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Content Letter from the State Coordinator John Freeborn has important updates on Master Gardener College 2019 and more

Growing Our Program: Introduction to EMG Recruitment



Ideas and resources for recruiting new Master Gardeners

Upcoming Event: Leadership Development Training


2019 Master Gardener College


New information on 2019 Master Gardener College, held in Norfolk

Update: Boxwood Blight Video Series


Landscape Love


James City County/Williamsburg Master Gardeners educate homeowners on Best Management Practices for landscapes

Fall Garden Tips


From the Cookbook to the Community




The Extension Master Food Volunteer program provides community education that compliments the work of Master Gardeners

Update: Strategic Planning



Letter From the State Coordinator It certainly feels more like fall, we went from late summer temperatures and humidity levels to areas of patchy frost this week and much more seasonal temperatures. Within our office, it has been and continues to be a busy fall for us with the Extension Master Gardener (EMG) program! We are currently planning for the upcoming Leadership Development Trainings, offered in three locations this fall during the month of November. After reading more about the trainings in this newsletter (page 9), if the topics are of interest, if you serve or are considering serving in a leadership role within your unit or association, please contact your agent or coordinator for registration information. As of last week, we already had more than 70 registered for the trainings! Planning has already started for Master Gardener College 2019, which will be in Norfolk, Virginia September 19-22, 2019. Our first off-site College in 31 years, and we are looking forward to the new venue, new speakers, and the opportunity for some EMGs to attend who have not made the trek to Blacksburg in previous years. A few more of the highlights coming out of the State Office are the unit specific infographics, new recruitment materials, and our continued webinar series. You can access the Unit level infographics here, which show the number of volunteers, hours, and value of your Unit’s volunteer time. We are excited to share these as we communicate the value of the EMG program both locally and on a statewide basis. This fall, we have an intern in our office who is working to develop new recruitment materials for EMG trainees. She wrote the story on page 5 and is planning for more recruitment materials by the end of 2018. Finally, we have continued our EMG webinar series, learning about both horticultural topics and volunteer management issues. September featured Scott Douglas as he discussed how we could re-imagine highway corridors as pollinator areas and storm-water detention areas, while September brought us Michelle Prysby discussing cultivating volunteer leaders, and finally October with Conflict Resolution, led by our very own Dave Close. You can also see upcoming webinars here. Whew, that’s a lot going on! We are excited as we head in to 2019, and I am looking forward to seeing some of you as we get out and about in November for our upcoming trainings!

John Freeborn 4 | In Season | Fall 2018

John Freeborn Assistant Master Gardener Coordinator

Growing Our Program Introduction to EMG Recruitment Is your unit recruiting new Master Gardener Volunteers for a winter or fall training class? We have some ideas and resources that may help!

By: Maeghan Klinker It’s that time of the year again. The summer is ending, the leaves are just starting to blush with the first thoughts of autumn, and it’s time to start thinking about the future. With all the work still to be had in the garden, surely we could use a few more helping hands… That’s right, it’s recruitment season for Extension Master Gardeners!

What is Recruitment? Recruitment is the process of attracting,

training, and appointing new Extension Master Gardeners. It’s time to get the word out about the Extension Master Gardener Program so that we can grow our family of green thumbs and get more people involved sharing knowledge and empowering our communities.

How Does Recruitment Work? Now that we’re all excited about bringing in the next batch of Master Gardeners, how do we start? The following are a few easy steps to getting started with recruitment.

In Photo Above: Hanover Master Gardeners staff a help desk In Season | Fall 2018 | 5

1. Get the Word Out

newcomers should know, such as:

Maybe your Extension Master Gardener unit has a large, active volunteer base or maybe you’re part of a smaller group with only a few active members. Either way, there are a number of easy steps you can take to get the word out and attract volunteers to your program:

• Who are Extension Master Gardeners

• Put out flyers around your community. Many grocery stories, libraries, and community centers will have bulletin boards where you can put up flyers to reach a wide range of people who may be interested in becoming Master Gardeners.

You can address these questions and any others that might arise by holding an interest or information session. This also gives interested participants the opportunity to meet current Master Gardeners, hear about their experiences, and get a better idea for whether the Master Gardener program is right for them.

• Go to Community Events. Attend the local farmer’s market and hand out flyers, or if your unit runs a help desk, consider putting up a poster or providing brochures advertising for recruitment at your booth. • Post on Social Media. If your chapter has a Facebook page or other social media platform, make a post advertising recruitment for your followers and encourage current members to share the post on their own social media to reach a broader audience. • Make a Press Release. A press release is any written or recorded statement sent to a member of the media. This includes radio announcements, newspaper ads, or television interviews. Reaching out to your local radio stations, newspapers, and news stations is an effective (and free) way to get the word out about recruitment.

2. Hold Interest Sessions Once you’ve gotten people interested, there are a few key pieces of information that

6 | In Season | Fall 2018

• How you become an Extension Master Gardener • The role of Extension Master Gardeners in the community • Volunteer commitment

Reaching out to your local newspaper is an effective (and free) way to get the word out about recruitment. 3. Applications You’ve gotten the word out, held your information sessions, now what? Now it’s time to start raking in those applications! Being an Extension Master Gardener is a big commitment, so an important part of applications is ensuring that new recruits understand the dedication being asked of them.

4. Training After you’ve finalized your applicants, it’s time to start tending your trainees and supporting them as they grow into new Master Gardeners. Once they’ve completed training, you’ll have a whole new set of helping hands out in the garden just in time for spring.

Why is Recruitment Important? Recruitment is an important part of the Extension Master Gardener program because it helps us keep our programs thriving. We love to see new faces joining the Master Gardeners because it helps us achieve our goal of community empowerment. Each new member to Extension helps us reach a new facet of the community. Through inclusive recruitment, we are able to involve more people and use diverse perspectives to develop efficient solutions to the problems facing our communities today.

How Can the State Office Help with Recruitment? The State Office is a great resource to reach out to if you need help with recruitment. We have a number of templates for recruitment materials which are customizable to your unit. For example, you can customize any of our templates to include the name of your unit, photos from your unit, or special information about your projects or training requirements.

Brochure available through Extension Master Gardener State Office

Recruitment available for:




• Brochures • Social Media • Press Releases • Customized Logos • PowerPoints (coming soon!) • Posters (coming soon!) • Flyers (coming soon!) Additionally, remember that the VCE indicia statement and ADA statement should be placed on all recruitment materials distributed to the public. These statements help us ensure that we are reaching the broadest possible audience and welcoming all members of our communities

Press release template available through Extension Master Gardener State Office

In Season | Fall 2018 | 7

into the Extension Master Gardener program.

For graphic design tools:

Finally, the State Office also recommends additional resources that may be useful for creating your own recruitment material or infographics, including sources for attribution free images (images you can use without citing the photographer) and easyto-use graphic design programs.


For attribution free images: Unsplash Pixabay

Snappa Recruitment is an important component of keeping Extension Master Gardeners involved and active in the community. There are a number of ways that you can get involved in recruitment, such as advertising through flyers, social media posts, attending local events, or making a press release. Hopefully, the ideas and resources listed here will help you grow your Extension Master Gardener unit and get the word out about all the great work Extension Master Gardeners do across Virginia. â–

Nelson County Master Gardeners complete fall chores in their community garden. 8 | In Season | Fall 2018

Upcoming Events

Leadership Development Training Dates

Who should attend?

November 2, Northern District John Barton Payne Building, 2 Courthouse Square, Warrenton, VA 20186

Agents, Coordinators, and volunteers who are in leadership roles, or are interested / considering leadership roles, and those who would find these topics beneficial to them. If you have questions about attending or topics, please let us know.

November 7, Central District Miller Center, 301 Grove Street, Lynchburg, Virginia, 24501 November 15, Southeast District James City County Rec Center, 5301 Longhill Rd, Williamsburg, VA 23188 l


(Subject to change)

9:00-9:15 am Registration/Check-in 9:15-9:30 am Welcome/Introductions/Agenda Overview 9:30-10:15 am Because We Have Always Done It That Way - Discussion about making critical decisions about local programming and the importance of goal setting & planning to address emerging issues or new things within the community 10:15-10:30 am BREAK 10:30-11:15am Facilitation 101 - Basics on facilitating everything from an association meeting to other processes that need someone to keep things. Tips for maximizing time allotted for meetings and planning and staying on track out of respect for everyone’s time 11:15-12:00pm State Office Update 12:00-12:45pm LUNCH - Lunch provided 12:45-1:30pm Communications Part 1 - Introduction the new state website, resources offered by our office, more info from the communication survey and what that means for local offices 1:30-2:15pm (Un)Clear Communications Is Key 2:15-2:30pm BREAK 2:30-3:15pm Open Forum 3:15-4:00pm Communications Part 2 - Ideas for marketing and publicizing events, tips on press releases & why they are important 4:00-4:30pm Wrap-up/Adjourn In Season | Fall 2018 | 9


2019 Master Gardener College Big are changes planned for Master Gardener College 2019, which will be held in Norfolk, Virginia September 19-22, 2019

By: Devon Johnson For the first time in 31 years, Master Gardener College will be held in a new location. The Extension Master Gardener State Coordinator’s Office is proud to announce that next year (2019), Master Gardener College will be held at Hilton Norfolk The Main, a conference center and hotel located in downtown Norfolk. “We’re very excited about this opportunity to draw volunteers from the eastern part of the state and those who may not have been able to travel to Blacksburg for previous colleges,”

Opposite page: The exterior of The Main, 2019 College venue illuminated at night.

says Dave Close, Extension Master Gardener Coordinator. “We’re also excited about the venue we’ve chosen and the different speakers we’ll have access to as well.” Holding Master Gardener College in Norfolk offers new opportunities for tours, workshops, and educational speakers who have never been featured at Master Gardener College before. “We’ve just confirmed Carl Hershner, Director of the Center for Coastal Resources Management at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) as a keynote speaker.” “We’re very happy about some of the new things we’ll be able to offer,” says John Freeborn, Assistant Extension Master Gardener Coordinator. “We’ve just confirmed Carl Hershner, Director of the Center for Coastal Resources Management at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), and Bryce Lane, Lecturer in Horticultural Science at NC State, as keynote speakers. We are also in conversations to organize tours and workshops to some of the interesting landmarks in Norfolk.”

This page: The Norfolk waterfront In Season | Fall 2018 | 11

“We will also be offering water steward training at 2019 College, so that gives us an amazing opportunity to take advantage of some of the interesting water-related speakers in Norfolk and we’ll have a chance to see some active Water Steward programs,” says Freeborn. Master Gardeners attending college in 2019 will also be able to take advantage of the attractions, dining, and recreation opportunities located near The Main, including the Norfolk Botanical Garden, Town Point Park, and Nauticus, a maritimethemed science center and museum. In addition, Virginia Beach is only a 40-minute drive away. “There’s really so much to do and see in Norfolk, and that’s why we were attracted to this particular venue. It’s right in the downtown, within walking distance of the waterfront, and it offers access to interesting things outside of College,” says Freeborn.

opportunity for us to see how we might take College to different venues in Virginia in the future, including in 2021 when we host International Master Gardener College.”

A collaboration space at The Main, 2019 College venue International Master Gardener College is a large-scale version of state college that moves to a new location each year and attracts Master Gardeners from around the country-and world. Virginia is scheduled to host the event in 2021 at the same Norfolk location as 2019 state College. “We’re hoping that this year’s College will draw volunteers who haven’t been able to travel to Blacksburg for previous Colleges. We’re working on planning a whole new set of tours and workshops, and we’ve got access to a lot of different speakers, so there’s a lot to be excited about,” says Freeborn.

An auditorium at The Main, 2019 College venue “Moving College off the Virginia Tech campus is something volunteers have asked about for years, and it’s taken a lot of planning and work to finally be able to make that a reality,” adds Close. “This is also an exciting learning

12 | In Season | Fall 2018

Master Gardener College 2019 will be held from September 19-22, 2019 at Hilton Norfolk The Main, 100 E Main St, Norfolk, VA 23510. Updates and additional information regarding college will be sent out as they become available, and registration for College will open this spring. Check the biweekly update and your email for updates. ■


Boxwood Blight Video Series Completed The Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program and the Virginia Tech Plant Disease Clinic are excited to announce completion of our educational boxwood blight video series! “It’s exciting to have these videos finished because, with all the rain and periods of cooler temperatures, this has been such a bad year for boxwood blight,” says Mary Ann Hansen, Extension Plant Pathologist and star of the new video series. This 11-part video series covers topics important to preventing the spread of boxwood blight in Virginia, including symptoms of the disease, disease spread, and prevention measures. The videos are appropriate for homeowners as well as landscaping professionals who may encounter the boxwood blight in their work. Boxwood blight was first discovered in Virginia in 2011 and many counties have had positive identifications of the disease since then. This disease poses a serious threat to Virginia’s boxwoods. For more information on boxwood blight, please visit the Boxwood Blight Task Force page. We hope this video series will be a helpful resource for you as you field questions from the public regarding this disease. View the videos now to educate yourself about the disease and help prevent its spread!

Click here to view the videos!

Landscape Love James City County/Williamsburg Master Gardeners educate homeowners on Best Management Practices for a beautiful, healthy, and sustainable landscape

By: Gary Streb, Master Gardener and Landscape Love Project Chair Introduction One of the most popular homeowner-oriented projects within the James City County/ Williamsburg unit is Landscape Love. This is an on-site program at the homeowner’s residence assisting with all aspects of the gardens and landscape (Turf Love, a sister project, deals with the turf issues and Tree Call with trees). Word of mouth publicity and local newspaper articles provide between 75 and 100 homeowner applications for each of the two sessions, Spring—April/May and Fall— September/October that we do annually. Numbers vary since the project was created over 15 years ago but the on-site educational

discussions between the JCC/WMGs and the homeowner continue to provide the latest information on how to create and maintain a sustainable landscape. The project is free to the county and city residents. The applications include the concerns the homeowners are facing, which allows the tailored team of 3-4 EMGs, Water Stewards, Tree Stewards and Interns to do preliminary research before the visit. After the hourlong educational discussion while walking the property, a summary is emailed to the homeowner as a ‘to do” list of suggestions and recommendations. Common themes and concerns may include the basic information-

In Photo Above: JCC/Williamsburg Master Gardeners assess a landscape as part of the Landscape Love program 14 | In Season | Fall 2018

--creating healthy soil, selection of the right plant for the right place, how to mulch properly, demonstrating pruning techniques, and pest diagnostics and remedies. But we also have to be ready for the homeowner that is a retired botany university professor from Michigan unfamiliar with the flora of Tidewater Virginia. It is an education for us all!

Fall 2018 Update Landscape Love is well on its way this fall season. After completing training/organizational meetings on September 18 and 21, the Landscape Love volunteers are well equipped and eager to answer the questions and concerns of the over sixty-nine James City County and City of Williamsburg homeowners who have requested an onsite visit by one of our teams. Almost fifty Extension Master Gardeners and ten interns of the Class of 2018 are participating and have already completed several of the visits. This season we have consolidated the traditional five teams into three: Ford’s Colony, Williamsburg, and James City. Each hand-selected visit team of three-tofour EMGs, including an intern, will spend about an hour at the residence and answer any/all questions about the homeowner’s landscaping/gardening issues. Anything can come up, which really tests the knowledge of the whole team. Advance preparation and research are useful, and the follow-up summary report is helpful in providing additional information that may

Master Gardeners educate homeowners about Best Management Practices for a beautiful, healthy, and sustainable landscape not have been previously disbursed. We provide each homeowner with a packet of pertinent Virginia Tech publications and lists of relevant websites to assist in their planning for a sustainable and attractive landscape. A sincere thank you to all of the volunteers who are the vital part of Landscape Love. Your knowledge and willingness to educate our community epitomizes our volunteer educator mission. ■

Inspired by the Landscape Love program? Click here to view the Landscape Love mission statement and sample timeline to get ideas for your unit!

To learn more about the landscape Love program, visit the JCC/Williamsburg Master Gardener website here.

In Season | Fall 2018 | 15

1. 2. 3. 4.

Fall is an excellent time to add soil amendments to increase soil organic matter. Dry and save your favorite seeds. Keep up your planting garlic streak!! Just make sure to mulch well. Clean out those bird feeders. Birds are more likely to come if they’re not full of foul odors and debris.


Don’t store apples and pears with vegetables such as potatoes and squash. The fruits give off ethylene gas that speeds up the ripening process of vegetables and may cause them to develop “off’ flavors.


If you like lush grass, late-summer to mid-fall is the best time to establish cool-season turfgrass.


Pick those beautiful pumpkins and winter squash before the frost strikes!


Mulch your trees and shrubs to avoid low temperature injury to roots this winter.


From the Cookbook to the Community Who are Master Food Volunteers? The Extension Master Food Volunteer program provides community education that compliments the work of Master Gardeners.

By: Gabrielle Sanderson The famous red and white cookbook Joy of Cooking is a timeless classic for any kitchen, and it’s referenced throughout the training manual for the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Food Volunteer program. Just as Joy of Cooking educates its readers about the food they are preparing, Master Food Volunteers (MFV) are able to reach and educate people around Virginia about food preparation, nutrition, food safety, and physical activity. The program allows volunteers to merge their appreciation of cooking, nutrition, and physical activity with the act of helping others. Melissa Chase, Master Food Volunteer Virginia

State Coordinator, states that an aspect that draws people to this program is “their love of cooking,” although their love for volunteering fuels their passion as well. One of the requirements to become a Master Food Volunteer is to complete a mandatory 30-hour Master Food Volunteer training course and then reciprocate with 30 hours of service within one year of training. Once the volunteers are trained, they are able to work with a number of different programs aiding in the expansion of program activity. The more volunteers that are trained, the faster Extension is able to educate Virginians about In Photo Above: Master Food Volunteers prepare a meal at a food demonstration. In Season | Fall 2018 | 17

food and physical activity. While the program is small compared to the Master Gardener program, Chase states that it continues to grow. The Master Food Volunteer Program started with about 50 volunteers, but currently has 200 – 225 statewide. The program has grown through the volunteers’ participation at farmers markets, health fairs, and by word of mouth. “They probably see more people at the farmers markets programs, if it is located in a fairly high-volume area,” states Chase. In addition, a lot of communities are putting on health fairs now, which allow Master Food Volunteers to exhibit the behaviors of preparing safe and nutritious food. “The thing that I hear the most is that the volunteers are really interested in helping people to make better choices and improve their eating behaviors. It is an important part of service,” states Chase.

Master Food Volunteer logo There are also a lot of opportunities in the program to reach children. “If you can get [children] excited about preparation, then their families are more likely to get involved.” The Master Food Volunteers can show them different, tasty ways to prepare food that provide people incentives to go back and prepare the same dish at home. The program enables the community to be involved in the food preparation process, while also working hands-on with food that they love.

18 | In Season | Fall 2018

There is a growing interest for Extension Master Gardeners to also become Master Food Volunteers because there is a relationship between how people harvest food and how they prepare food. “We see the connection between being a Master Food Volunteer and the Extension Master Gardener Program, because it is a continuum. Master Gardeners really bring an element to this that we haven’t seen before, because we can talk to people about where their food comes from,” explains Chase. The Master Food Volunteers can then demonstrate what can be done with the produce once it is harvested, making it a collaborative effort. Even though many volunteers are drawn to the program for their love of cooking, many leave with more than they bargained for. Volunteers are setting the example for the community to follow. “Volunteers come in by participating; they can make changes and become healthier by being in the Master Food Volunteer program. They can really be the example that others need to see to make those changes. They can reach the public more easily than we can. They’re a living example,” says Chase. By becoming a Master Food Volunteer and an Extension Master Gardener, new skills can be brought to the table that allow Extension to better reach the public. “Volunteers can do things that we probably couldn’t do without them,” states Chase. “When they can bring those skills, it really strengthens the program. We value that.” Just as Joy of Cooking brings different ingredients together to make a spectacular dish, Master Food Volunteers and Extension Master Gardeners bring together different skills that greatly benefit their communities. ■


Strategic Planning Results of 2018 strategic planning session Summary

Key Goals & Action Items

On May 2, 2018 members of the Extension Master Gardener (EMG) strategic planning team met to discuss strategic goals for the next two years and to evaluate how well goals set in 2016 have been met. The team is comprised of EMG State Office staff, current Master Gardener volunteers, Master Gardener coordinators, and Extension Agents.

Discussion yielded several goals and items for immediate action. Action items were compiled and voted on in order to assign priority to each suggestion.

Discussion began with a review of the 2014 strategic planning session then progressed to a discussion of short-term goals for the EMG State Office and a short discussion of longterm goals.

Evaluation of Outcomes Discussion began with a review of goals set in 2016 and evaluation of how fully these goals have been met. In 2016, strategic goals were identified as: • Define plan during agent absence. This goal has not been met in full, though steps have been taken to develop such a plan. • Education about VCE and Association relationships. This goal has been largely met, though efforts are ongoing. So far, a new coordinator manual has been developed and relevant training has been incorporated training into the State Office webinar series. • Recruitment. Efforts in this area are ongoing. • Retention. Efforts in this area are ongoing.

Ongoing Goals: • 2019 Master Gardener College (test-run for 2021) • 2021 International College



• Training resources for volunteers and for agents & coordinators

Action Items: • Create a “Basics for Running a Program”type manual for agents and coordinators • Create a recruitment video for potential EMGs • Regional Leadership Trainings • Modules & YouTube videos (training resources)

Long Term Goals: • Explore possible opportunities



• Collaborate more with other “Master” volunteer programs • Improve program diversity

Conclusion The State Office will continue working towards goals set in 2016, incorporating the specific action items identified above in pursuit of these larger goals. Another strategic meeting is planned for 2020. In Season | Fall 2018 | 19

Profile for VCEMasterGardener

In Season - Fall 2018  

Fall 2018 issue of In Season, the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener newsletter.

In Season - Fall 2018  

Fall 2018 issue of In Season, the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener newsletter.