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By Erika Szonntag

OSU Program Advisor 


Dear Master Gardeners,

Happy July! Summer is in full swing, and I hope this finds you and your families healthy and stable. I will highlight some key points about SOREC’s phased reopening, in addition to the new OSU Master Gardener Program vision and mission statements.

As of June 24, 2020, OSU Extension/SOREC moved into Phase II/Modified Operations. The front office is open to the public on a very limited basis, and faculty have been invited back to work, but only on a limited, necessary basis. Once again, OSU Extension operates under Executive Order 20-28, specific to institutions of higher education. This Executive Order is different from that under which county governments operate (Executive Order 20-27). You can read more about OSU Extension’s Resumption plan here.

Face-to-face volunteer activities within the Master Gardener program are still restricted. The Master Gardener Coordinator community, however, has received permission from OSU administration to resume work in demonstration and community gardens on a limited basis. Work days at the SOREC Demonstration Gardens are limited to Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon, and to 20 people maximum per day. For now, GEMs and students have been invited to return. Depending on the number of people who sign up ahead of time to come, we may be able to open work days to other perennial Master Gardeners. Work in the gardens is limited to maintenance and is not open to the public or for educational instruction or events. Volunteers must register ahead of time to come work in the gardens, in addition to completing readings and a mandatory OSU COVID-19 training that Erika will provide if necessary.

OSU Extension regional directors and program leaders are developing an authorization process to conduct in-person programs, activities, meetings, and events over the coming weeks and months. Details are forthcoming, and any in-person Extension programming (including volunteer led) needs approval in order to be conducted.

We are still holding Plant Clinic virtually, and no in-person Master Gardener activities have been approved aside from limited work in the SOREC Demonstration Gardens.

The OSU Extension Master Gardener program has also updated its mission and vision statements as of June 11, 2020. This work began back in the summer of 2019 among all volunteer coordinators and Gail Langellotto. The advent of the current racial and social movement and the call to truly embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion have made this the perfect time to finalize our mission and vision to reflect how we want to move forward in serving those who need our services most, and how we can create the most inclusive culture possible within the Master Gardener program.

Our Mission: Cultivating resilient and healthy communities throughout Oregon through sustainable horticulture education and gardening projects that are rooted in science and that are supported by OSU Extension volunteers.

Our Vision: We provide accessible and equitable education programs that nurture life-long learners and volunteers who can expand the reach and impact of science-based sustainable gardening practices to benefit all Oregonians.

As always, stay tuned for more updates regarding reopening status, and please do not hesitate to contact me at with any questions you may have. Stay safe and healthy!

– Erika