- Author: Pamela M. Geisel
- Contributor: Janet Hartin
As a long-term UCCE environmental horticulture advisor, I would like to express my appreciation to Master Gardener Program Director Pam Geisel and Program Representative James Sigala for providing outstanding statewide leadership.
In a mere six short years under Pam’s direction, the UC ANR Master Gardener program has received $ 300,000 in grants that provided support to the CA Garden Web; updates to the Backyard Orchard; the FAQ system; outreach materials such as posters and tips; sustainable landscape ‘train the trainer’ workshops and PowerPoint presentations; ‘Your Sustainable Backyard Training’ (in collaboration with CCUH); a SARE grant to support further sustainable landscape training; and, a recent ANR competitive grant to develop and extend training in edible landscapes across the state.
A great example of what the statewide Master Gardener office has accomplished is the formation and regular updating of timely information found on the CA Garden Web website (http://ucanr.org/sites/gardenweb). If you haven’t taken a look at it for awhile, it’s well worth a visit. The website serves as a portal for organizing and extending the University of California's vast collection of research-based information pertaining to home horticulture. Information focuses on sustainable gardening practices and includes how to select and maintain edibles as well as ornamentals. Be sure to take time to scroll down to the ‘Advice to Grow By – Ask Us!’ feature which includes questions and answers that you are very likely to encounter in your county.
While the tremendous service the statewide Master Gardener program provides is evident up and down the state, it’s important to note that although UC ANR provides some hard funding to support the statewide Master Gardener office, support for the statewide MG office at the local level is crucial, as well. At our recent statewide Master Gardener steering committee meeting, we discussed priority needs at the statewide level such as the development of online training modules; several additional continuing education WebEx’s; updating the Volunteer Management System, and many other dynamic enhancements. We also discussed potential mutually beneficial strategies to provide funding support for both local programs and the statewide office. Stay tuned for updates on this important topic and ways in which your voice can be heard.
Environmental Horticulture Advisor
San Bernardino and Los Angeles Counties