Master Gardeners

I became a Centre County Master Gardener in 2010 to become more involved in community projects focused on horticulture and environmental stewardship.  The Centre County Master Gardeners have a close relationship with Penn State University and Extension but they are a vibrant institution in their own right.  The group organizes a variety of outreach, extension and service projects for the residents of Centre County, PA.  The members have diverse backgrounds and expertise which they are happy to share with their community.

Bellefonte Children's Garden
The Bellefonte Children's Garden is a community garden in Bellefonte, PA that provides a space for children to explore flowers, herbs and vegetables.  The Master Gardeners host weekly lessons for second graders from Bellefonte Elementary and monthly activities for the entire community.  I assisted with developing lesson plans for the second graders to teach them about the diversity of life in the garden, what plants need to grow and how they can be environmental stewards themselves.


Click on any picture to see an album from the Bellefonte Children's Garden

Snetsinger Butterfly Garden at Tudek Park
For years, three acres of Tudek Park in State College, PA has been carefully transformed under the guidance of Penn State entomology professor Dr. Robert "Butterfly Bob" Snetsinger.  The area has matured into a pollinator wonderland where a huge diversity of beneficial insects are supported by local plants.  The Butterfly Garden hosts many educational activities throughout the summer.  I have been helping with producing educational displays for the park (PDF linked below) and documenting the plants in the garden for a comprehensive database and factsheets.  I have enjoyed working directly with community members engaged in improving the space but especially liked organizing educational activities for the annual "Wings in the Park" extravaganza.  Please see pictures I took from the event HERE as well as examples from the "shutterbug photobooth" that I set up to engage the public.
 









Click on any picture to see an album from the Snetsinger Butterfly garden

Master Gardener Hotline
The Master Gardeners have incredible human resources: a group of knowledgeable and passionate members that are dedicated to assisting Cooperative Extension in serving the community.  One of the major hurdles for the organization is finding ways of organizing and disseminating the collective expertise of its members.  The Master Gardener Hotline has traditionally served as a link between Cooperative Extension and the public, but can sometimes fall short because of the way resources are organized and limited number of Master Gardeners available to answer questions at any given time.  I have been interested in the design and dissemination of information systems for a long time and have been thinking about the Master Gardener Hotline as a perfect example of how putting the collective knowledge of the group in the hands of any member (through accessible technology and intuitive organization) has the potential of making the service vastly more effective!

*other master gardener activities to be added soon:
-library and database of materials at the hotline headquarters
-designing and planning of "Wings in the Park 2012"
-Demonstration gardens at Discovery Space


  
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Steve Conaway,
Jun 14, 2011, 9:03 PM
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