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What a GREAT Class!

By June 29, 2023Beet 2023 07 July
Jane Moyer
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Preparation for the 2023 class started in the summer of 2022.  With no Jackson County Master Gardener Coordinator hired yet, a team composed of Josephine County Master Gardener Coordinator Danielle Knueppel, Jackson County Extension Administrative Office Manager Heidi Gehman, and Jackson County Master Gardener Jane Moyer was formed to plan for the 2023 class.  Heidi and the JCMGA Communications Working Group began recruiting potential students.  In the fall, Jane and Lynn Kunstman began interest group meetings to acquaint potential students with the Master Gardener Program and informed them of the requirements for students.  Over 100 people attended the meetings, and 55 signed up for the class.


Jump forward to the first day of class, January 25, 2023.  Grace Florjancec, the new JCMG Coordinator, had started just eight days before. Yet here came 55 new students plus a handful of perennial MGs (veterans) who wanted to retake the class, and additional perennials serving as Garden Buds (mentors) or providing help for the day.  And were they ever enthusiastic!


Enthusiasm is the word that best describes this year’s class!  They have been ready to participate in every activity with glee!  They planned and gave presentations on 14 plant families including facts, samples, humor, food, songs and even poetry.  They organized and ran an MG clothing sale.  They signed up for Plant Clinic, worked in the gardens, helped in working groups and committees, and participated in Practicum.  They planted seeds, transplanted seedlings, watered, fertilized, and helped keep equipment and supplies organized, neat and clean.  And each Practicum session planned and held a celebration for all they had accomplished so far.


The first Spring Garden Fair since 2019, and the first to be held at the Extension instead of the fairgrounds, was held on Saturday May 6. Students assisted customers and vendors, helped direct traffic, pulled wagon loads of plants to the research parking lot for pickup, continued to stake tomatoes, collected empty trays, and just kept going and going.  Then they came back on Saturday May 13 to do it all over again at the After Sale (1/2 price greenhouse plant sale).


We, the perennials, want them to know how much we appreciate their efforts!  Especially due to the students’ enthusiastic labors, we estimate that Practicum brought in over $13,000. Of course, expenses still need to be deducted from this amount. Yet to put this in perspective, the most Practicum ever earned in two days at the fairgrounds was $16,000, with $12,000 to $13,000 being the norm.


What a GREAT class!  Hopefully, they will continue with JCMGA for a long time!