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New for 2021 from JCMGA: Horticultural Study Groups

By Susan Koenig

Master Gardener 2016

Have you ever wanted to take a deep dive into a gardening topic such as growing tomatoes, succulents, native plants, mushrooms, house plants, herbs or the hundreds of other possible subjects? Do you need educational or volunteer hours toward graduation or certification? Now is your chance to join with other Master Gardeners to form a “study group” to delve into a topic of particular interest to you.
The purpose of a study group is to enable a small group of Master Gardener veteran members and students to explore in depth a horticultural topic of their choosing. An example would be “growing tomatoes” or “raising succulents”. Study groups may not choose topics such as marijuana or herbal medicine, which are topics prohibited by OSU.

The study groups are being sponsored by the JCMGA Member Services Working Group. As it’s the first year, we consider this a pilot project and are looking to form 3-4 groups on different topics suggested by members. We envision small, self-directed groups organized by a facilitator. The volunteer “facilitator(s)” of each group will recruit other members for the group, organize meetings, ensure that minutes are kept, facilitate the meetings and promote communication among members.
Each group will determine how it goes about studying the subject it has chosen and how often it meets. Any member of the group may research topics, conduct experiments, develop handouts and lead group discussions. Until we can meet in person, groups will meet via Zoom, using the JCMGA Zoom license. When we are able to, the groups may meet in person, visit each other’s gardens, take field trips, have taste testings, create and share recipes, invite speakers or other activities. Groups are expected to use scientifically-based information sources when developing self-study materials.

So many possibilities!

We ask that each study group write a short article for the Garden Beet describing their findings which will pass on information and suggested reading to the larger Master Gardener community. Groups may also want to prepare an outline or PowerPoint presentation on their topic that could be given as a Community Education talk or through the Speakers Bureau. Students who help to produce educational materials for the public may earn volunteer hours toward graduation, with approval of the MG Coordinator.

Now Recruiting Facilitators

We are currently recruiting facilitators who want to devote a few hours a month to organizing a study group and helping it to function. There is no expectation that a facilitator will have to “teach” the group or be an “expert” in the subject. The role of the facilitator is to have a keen interest in the topic, keep the group organized, participate in discussions and moderate the Zoom sessions. If you have a topic you would like to facilitate, please contact Susan Koenig 541-897-4238 or srkoenig@aol.com for more information. In a few weeks, we’ll let members know what groups are forming so they can join.

Now Recruiting Members for the Tomato Study Group

A Tomato Study Group is now forming. Students and veteran Master Gardeners interested in studying how to raise better tomatoes, contact Susan Koenig at 541-897-4238 or srkoenig@aol.com for more information.

Now Recruiting Members for the Succulent Study Group

A Succulents Study Group is now forming. Students and veteran Master Gardeners interested in studying how to raise succulents and use them in decorating, contact Marcie Katz at marciek10@gmail.com for more information.

Enhancing Urban and Suburban Landscapes to Support Pollinators and Wildlife Study Group

A Study Group on Enhancing Urban and Suburban Landscapes to Support Pollinators and Wildlife is now forming. Students and veteran Master Gardeners interested in joining this Study Group should contact Cassandra Toews at 530-925-0310 or Cstoews@gmail.com for more information.

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