RENO – University of Nevada, Reno’s Extension plans to bring its Master Gardener Program online, improving access to the plant-growing education and training to a wider swath of Nevadans. It has hired a new state coordinator, Katelyn Brinkerhoff, to lead the program.
Brinkerhoff said she hopes to grow the volunteer program and sees online education as a way to more efficiently reach learners across the state.
“I’m hoping to increase the awareness of what the Master Gardener Program is and what Master Gardeners are doing in their communities,” Brinkerhoff said. “With making it more of a statewide effort, we can bring more power to the program as a whole and share with others the amazing efforts of the volunteers.”
Extension’s Master Gardener program includes 50 hours of instruction along with at least 50 hours of volunteer work each year in the community to apply their knowledge and skills to meet community needs. Under Brinkerhoff’s leadership, the program will create statewide online courses for all counties, alongside county-specific education, activities and volunteer opportunities led by local Extension coordinators.
As volunteers, Master Gardeners provide free, research-based horticulture information to their communities by answering telephone and email questions, staffing booths at events, conducting educational presentations, serving as docents at area demonstration gardens, and consulting at school and community gardens. Master Gardeners also provide plant diagnostic services and can help identify plants and insects.
“Extension is excited to have Katelyn leading Nevada’s Master Gardener Program,” Holly Gatzke, Extension northern area director, said. “Her experience will enable us to expand and teach more people in Nevada on plant growing for food, beauty and environmental improvements.”
Brinkerhoff previously worked for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach as a horticulture educator. She worked with Master Gardeners on creating sustainable projects and coordinated yearly trainings and continuing education, which moved online the last two years. After working closely with the state coordinator in Iowa, she decided to apply her knowledge and skills on a statewide level.
For more information on Extension’s Master Gardener Program visit https://extension.unr.edu/master-gardeners/default.aspx.
Source: UNR Extension