Master Gardener Blog
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 now! Monday, 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.
Program Coordinator Sacramento County,
Phone: (916) 875-6719
(Please include your county name with all correspondence)
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
Third Place: Orange County – Composting/Worm Composting Video Series
If you think one of your county projects is a candidate, let your Master Gardener Program Coordinator or leader know about it!
(Please include county name in subject line for all email communications)
Southern California (San Luis Obispo, Kern, San Bernardino, and south)
Program Coordinator, San Diego
Northern California (Monterey, Kings, Tulare, Inyo and north)
Program Coordinator, San Joaquin
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:
- Moreno Valley/Perris
- The Pass (Banning Beaumont)
- The Mountain area
- Desert areas
- Hemet/San Jacinto/ Menifee
- South County (Temecula/Murrieta)
- Lake Elsinore
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:
- To provide UCCE Master Gardener services to all of Riverside County, including information tables, speakers and docent services for approved organizations, and,
- 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.
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.
The conference brings together dedicated volunteers, advisors, specialists and industry leaders from across the country to discuss the latest in home horticulture. Feedback from the previous conference and suggestions you provided via surveys, phone calls and committees shaped this year's sessions, speakers and schedule. Download the Registration and Tour Checklist before you start the registration process and prepare your conference journey.
$295 registration fee includes:
- 58 breakout sessions with first-class speakers
- 2 keynote speakers
- Welcome conference bag and water bottle
- Awards Banquet dinner
- Breakfast, lunch and snacks
- Conference activities: MarketPlace, Search for Excellence, Silent Auction, book signings … and more!
Special conference rate:
- $169 single/double occupancy
- $194 triple occupancy
- $219 quadruple occupancy
Make your reservation at the discounted conference rate online using the direct UC Master Gardener Conference link, or call (562) 491-1234. Remember to refer to the "UC Master Gardener Conference" room block when booking.
Conference tour offerings
- Explore the Huntington Botanical Gardens
- Go California Native!
- Community Engagement with Gardens and Nature
- Dramatic Gardens from the Desert to the Sea
- Los Angeles Farms and Garden History
- Visit the Activities – Tour webpage for more detailed information
This event only takes place every three years so don't miss this unique opportunity to learn, be inspired and make new connections. Please join us for this engaging event and we look forward to seeing you in Long Beach!
If there is one thing I appreciate about my UC Master Gardener volunteer groups, it is their desire to rethink, change, evolve and avoid stagnation. Now, sometimes there are “growing pains” involved with expanding a program or developing a new one, but the energy is needed to refresh the enthusiasm of both the volunteers and local gardeners who keep tabs on their outreach projects.
Years ago, a group of my volunteers came up with the idea to create a new community event that would bring amazing speakers into the county to deliver fun and interesting gardening topics to our local gardening clientele. They called it, “A Gardeners' Gathering”, it was created as a one-day event located in an historic fruit shed renovated to host large groups in the “middle” of the county so as to be convenient for both our urban and rural gardeners. The six speakers were chosen carefully and related non-profit groups were invited to have tables at the event. Since it was a full day event, food and beverages were provided, pre-registration was required and the cost was relatively high (although the event was not a fundraising event).
It was very successful in many ways – one big product of the event was the first online credit card survey created and used in our office for registration. For years, we packed the fruit shed with eager gardeners looking forward to networking, listening to some great speakers, and enjoying good food too. After doing this event for years, the volunteers noticed that the same folks were attending year after year and we were limited to 130 registrant because of space limitations. This meant, there was no options for expansion of the event in its current form. So, it was brought up that maybe we should rethink the event which was difficult to contemplate considering how well it was running.
The event was reviewed in a series of meetings and UC Master Gardeners decided it was time to change it up and reach more local gardeners with a different event format. Enter the new “GardenFaire” – an event created and put on for the first time last year reaching more than 300 people. This event had the goals of being inexpensive with no registration required, a kid's area to bring in families, less speakers, more tables and an “Ask a UC Master Gardener” area that had plenty of visitation! We believe this event has a huge potential for future growth.
So, here we are about to put on the 2nd Annual Garden Faire in Placer County and it shows how sometimes a pivot with an event can quickly double or quadruple (fingers crossed!) the number of people we can reach through our program. Remember, even if you have a successful event going for years - take the time to review and reconsider after a while. It may end up being the best path forward to change it up and keep all of our local gardeners wondering, “What will those UC Master Gardeners do next?”
For more information about the UC Placer Master Gardener Program and their upcoming events, visit their website at pcmg.ucanr.org.