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2021 Volunteer Training Program announced

By October 8, 2020Beet October 2020

Dear Gardeners,

I hope this finds all of you well. As I write this, it has been almost 3 weeks since the devastating fires began. I hope that you, your family, and your friends are all safe and well. If you lost your home or have otherwise suffered due to the fires, I send my deepest condolences. I also extend my deepest gratitude to all firefighters and emergency personnel who work so hard to keep our community safe. Additionally, a big thanks to the many folks who are volunteering their time towards fire relief efforts.

October is upon us, which usually means the announcement of the 2021 Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program schedule. While 2020 has delivered many challenges, Oregon Extension Master Gardeners have risen to meet them. Activities, from identifying pest problems to recommending plant options, have all gone from in-person discussions to virtual workshops, email, and web-based interactions. This has been a tremendous pivot, all while Oregonians’ interests in gardening, along with beginner gardeners, have skyrocketed in numbers.

In order to meet the needs of the community and to support our 3,000 active Master Gardeners, we are excited to begin announcing our approach to training in 2021.

Current Master Gardeners (including the Class of 2020 Master Gardener Trainees) statewide will be offered a free, innovative new curriculum, online, via a combination of self-paced learning, live webinars, and online conversations with OSU experts. Online discussion boards and meeting rooms will be used to foster connection, networking, and the exchange of ideas among Master Gardeners across the state. This curriculum will be delivered January-March, 2021, so that Master Gardener volunteers can launch the 2021 gardening season empowered to serve Oregon’s experienced and novice gardeners.

Training for volunteers new to the Master Gardener Program will occur again in 2022.

What this means for current Master Gardeners (including Class of 2020 Trainees):

• access to top level university training opportunities to connect, learn and grow with others in your local community as well as across the state

• learn how to take the deep well of horticulture knowledge you have and bring it to more people, friends, and neighbors through learning new online tools .

What this means for Oregonians:

• increased accessibility to OSU Extension Master Gardeners, questions and advice

• a whole wave of new regionally relevant resources to support Oregon’s gardeners

• increased topics of knowledge for growing plants for food, health and wellness

We will continue to offer our core services to gardeners in local communities, including answering your gardening questions, teaching and demonstrating locally-relevant gardening methods, and supporting local garden education opportunities. We are also expanding and strengthening our ability to develop and disseminate gardening advice and information in ways that are easily accessible to gardeners of all levels, on their own time, at their own pace, and at no cost.

Stay tuned for more information as we continue to develop the syllabus and registration materials!

– Erika