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2023 Oregon Master Gardener of the Year Award Winner: Lynn Kunstman

Jackson County Master Gardener Lynn Kunstman is the recipient of the 2023 Oregon Master Gardener of the Year Award!!  Lynn volunteers tirelessly for JCMGA.  She is always eager to share her knowledge relating to gardening and native plants. She has helped many of us to realize the importance of planting native plants in our own gardens.  I for one have started planting more native plants and have noticed a marked increase in beneficial insects in my own yard and gardens.

Lynn has been a Practicum mentor and a Garden Bud for students in the Master Gardener Program.  She started the Native Plants Nursery which grew hundreds of plants to sell when we had no other plants during the pandemic.  Lynn is instrumental in teaching us about the importance of native plants and how to grow them in our yards.  At the same time, she is encouraging us to make our yards into pollinator havens.

Lynn also has a weekly appearance on the Jefferson Exchange radio station, fielding all sorts of gardening questions. Lynn has up to 8,000 projected listeners with this radio series.   She contributes regularly to the JCMGA Garden Beet Newsletter on a variety of gardening topics. Her work propagating and organizing sales of native and non-native plants grown by students in the Practicum is tireless.  The money from the plant sales is a source of income for JCMGA.

Lynn teaches many gardening classes, including one for our Winter Dreams Summer Gardens Symposium.  She has taught at the OMGA Mini-College for the last three years.   

Lynn Kunstman has been very active in the leadership of the Jackson County Master Gardeners Association.  She served as the 2020 President-Elect, 2021 President, and the 2022 Past President.  Lynn spearheaded a “Go Fund Me” page calling and emailing Master Gardeners and friends to raise $10,367 for a water catchment system for the Jackson County Master Gardeners Association plant nurseries and demonstration gardens.

Lynn’s involvement in acquiring the water catchment system which we now have has allowed us to continue to grow and propagate plants in our nurseries.  Our well went dry (September 2021 and in the fall of 2022) and there were problems with the water pipes – yet we were able to water our plants using the water catchment system.

Using her innate leadership skills, Lynn challenges the Master Gardeners to step up and do what needs to be done.  She does this by example.  During the pandemic, Lynn’s leadership skills encouraged us to stay focused and continue as an organization. She was calm, organized, steady, focused, and supportive.

Lynn has made a huge impact on our organization with her emphasis on providing a healthy environment for our native pollinators by planting native plants whenever we can.  She is an excellent speaker and very knowledgeable in the subject of native plants.  Due to her presentations, many of us have started reducing our lawns and planting native plants instead.

Lynn has taken out her lawn at her home and planted many native plants.  She sets a model for what she has been speaking about – the importance of native plants to encourage pollinators and to provide them with the habitat they require to survive.  Her yard is recognized as a Native Plant Park.  She has been involved in tagging butterflies.

Congratulations to a very own Master Gardener extraordinaire – Lynn Kunstman!!!