- Author: Katelyn Ogburn
While the UC Master Gardener Program has been around since the 1980s, thankfully our technology has changed with the times. Most recently, the Volunteer Management System (VMS) received its long overdue upgrade – we've launched version 3.1!
Great feedback was collected from volunteers and coordinators to lay the foundation for the new system. VMS 3.1 maintains all the functionality of the old system with up-to-date branding and design. Additionally, VMS 3.1 has many of the new features YOU requested.
Check out what's new!
- Updated hours display (year and lifetime)
- User-centric navigation
- Automatic alerts and reminders
- Search bars
- ... and so much more!
It's exciting to have a system designed specifically to meet the needs of the UC Master Gardener Program. Enjoy the new features built just for you! If you have any feedback for future improvements, please submit your comments through the Feedback Survey at ucanr.edu/vmsfeedback.
If you have any questions about the new system, help is only a click away. Check out our VMS help page, which includes a new VMS User's Guide and How-To videos for commonly used functions. See for yourself at: ucanr.edu/sites/vmshelp.
- Author: Sheila Clyatt
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.
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!
- Author: Melissa G. Womack
All of the success of the UC Master Gardener Program is due to the hard work and dedication of its volunteers, for this we would like to say a sincere THANK YOU for all you do!
Volunteers make a difference
Volunteer hours focus on services and outreach to the general public, sharing research-based information about water conservation, green waste reduction, pest management, and sustainable gardening practices. UC Master Gardeners are creating healthier communities and gardeners through their love for gardening and hours of volunteer service.
Impacts by the numbers
Last year 6,237 volunteers gave their time and shared their talents, resources and gardening knowledge with communities across California. From July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016 more than 328,540 hours were donated, a monetary value worth more than $9 million. It is hard to put a value to the service volunteers make for the program, but over the course of our 35 year history more than 5 million volunteer hours have been donated worth more than $137 million to California.
“This year we celebrate hitting the impressive 5 million volunteer hour's milestone,” says Missy Gable, statewide director. “We are so proud of the UC Master Gardener Program and its volunteers and the incredible work they do across the state. This hour milestone represents thousands of volunteers giving their valuable time, horticulture knowledge and sharing their passion about sustainable home gardening with their friends, neighbors and communities.”
Telling our story by reporting
We look forward to reaching our next hour milestone together, a sincere thank you to our incredible group of volunteers, for sharing their passion and valuable time with the UC Master Gardener Program!
- Author: Melissa G. Womack
2015 marks the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, which is celebrated by more than 1 billion people worldwide. The national theme for this year's Earth Day is It's Our Turn to Lead, a phrase that directly describes the more than 6,000 UC Master Gardener volunteers actively leading in their local communities.
UC Master Gardeners are critical in supporting UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources' (UC ANR) strategic initiatives for healthy communities, healthy environments and healthy plants across the state of California.
“UC Master Gardener volunteers represent the most passionate and dedicated group of people I have encountered,” said Missy Gable, statewide director of the UC Master Gardener Program, “they are enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge of research-based gardening information with the public and their commitment of time to this practice is both generous and inspiring. UC Master Gardeners are an unbelievable resource for all residents in California and I want to recognize their efforts this Earth Day. Volunteers are taking the lead to provide sound advice to CA gardeners as we all work to use water appropriately, connect to our food systems and protect our environment.”
Join us on Earth Day 2015!
Perhaps you've seen your local UC Master Gardeners answering questions at the Farmer's Market or you've read an article by a volunteer in your local paper. If the 45th anniversary of Earth Day has inspired you to become more active with your environment, consider connecting with your local UC Master Gardener Program.
Sample of UC Master Gardener Events Happening Across the State the Week of Earth Day:
- Calaveras County:
Open Garden Day
April 25, 10 am – 2 pm
- Contra Costa County:
Antioch High School Earth Day Festival
April 22, 12 – 3 pm
Lafayette Earth Day Festival
April 26, 11 am – 3 pm
- El Dorado County
Rainwater Harvesting/Greywater Use
April 25, 9 am – 12 pm
- Lake County:
Yuba College Earth Day
April 22, 10 am – 1 pm
- Napa County:
Earth Day Celebration
April 25, 10 am – 3 pm
Sierra College Earth Day 2015
April 22, 10 am – 3 pm
- Sacramento County:
Plant Clinic - Greener Gardens Expo and Garden Tour
April 25, 10 am – 3 pm
- San Diego County:
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton Earth Day Celebration
April 22, 11 am – 2 pm
- Santa Clara County:
Earth Day - San Jose
April 22, 10 am – 3 pm
- Sonoma County:
Drip Irrigation - Rincon
April 25, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
- Ventura County:
Front Yard Landscape Irrigation and Water Usage
April 22, 1 – 3 pm
UC Master Gardener volunteers receive University training in horticulture from experts in the field, mostly UC Cooperative Extension Advisors and Specialists. In exchange for training, UC Master Gardener volunteers extend research-based information on sustainable home horticulture practices to the public. Whether you are looking to reduce your landscape water use, grow tomatoes or even become a UC Master Gardener yourself, volunteers are ready to help you. Find a program or event near you!