Meet the Extension Master Gardener Social Media Team

In 2012 – 2103, a dedicated and passionate group of people from different states came together to become our National Extension Master Gardener Social Media Team.

We meet monthly via Google+ Hangout’s technology, where we are able to discuss ideas and learn together quite fluidly as we generate ideas, respond to current issues, and discuss our statistics (e.g. Will avid or Extension Master Gardeners find it useful? Should we make it shorter? Add more pictures? Get feedback from Facebook, then write the article? Post it on a certain day of the week?)

Meet the National Extension Master Gardener Social Media Team via Google+ Hangout

This year, we are eager to add more personal experiences to the blog, and to kick off this plan, we’d like to introduce you to a group of people I look forward to hanging out with every month! Below, and in alphabetical order, are the members of our team (click photo to enlarge):

National EMG Social Media Team Meeting via Google+ Hangout

Linda Brandon (not pictured above), a talented writer and EMG volunteer coordinator at North Carolina’s Guilford County Cooperative Extension office, edits blog posts and the monthly update at the drop of hat, which helps the collaborative blogging logistics fall into place.

Emily Eubanks, communications coordinator at UF Center for Landscape Ecology, recently joined our team and provides ideas and ways to support Extension Master Gardeners and programs to use social media to empower learning and communication with the general public.

Mary-Jean Grimes,  a WSU Master Gardener volunteer coordinator in Pacific and Grays Harbor counties (Washington) , MJ came to the team not having blogged before. Mary-Jean first jumped in by helping to make new connections to new blog contributors, ideas, and stories. But she now appears to have the ‘blogging bug,’ as she is now capturing and sharing amazing views of Washington and doing some  reporting!

Terri James, an Extension Assistant from University of Nebraska and a big supporter of Extension Master Gardeners,  is a social media team adviser and rep for the EMG Program National Committee.  Terri helps move this social media effort forward with whatever the task may be (posts, leadership, measurement, promotion), but we admire most her ability to find that “just right” Facebook photo or post that ignites and unites discussions among Extension Master Gardeners from across the country.

Karen Jeannette – that is me, a horticulturist/virtual community and content development facilitator of sorts. I help facilitate meetings, consult with bloggers, and help us summarize what we are learning in monthly updates by blogging together as a national Extension gardening network. I also support Extension professionals, like the EMG Program National Committee, and help them work within eXtension to meet their objectives with new connection technologies.

Eileen Kane shares with us how to make infographics to debut gardening information

Eileen Kane (not pictured above) a Maricopa County Arizona Extension Master Gardener, was the first to engage our Facebook fans to fuel a blog post on native plants, and she continues to come to meetings full of ideas, like how to make infographics to promote a workshop (see image to the right) or how Extension Master Gardeners can make use of social media to promote face-to-face events like science cafes or plant nerd night!

Maggie Lawrence (not pictured above), an Extension Master Gardener and communications specialist at Auburn University. Maggie knows how to “Go Where the People Are” as she puts science-based gardening information into the hands of the public as Backyard Wisdom, and then shares what she learns with all of us, both during team meetings and through many of the blog posts she’s shared this year (like her recent post on gardening books)!

John Porter, an extension agent for West Virgina University cooperative extension,  is a fount of botanical and horticulture information (as we saw in his holiday myth busters edition). He’s captured our attention by sharing blog posts about experiences responding to gardening questions in WV, building community gardens, or participating in events hosted at places like Thomas Jefferson’s residence at Monticello!

Connie Schulz, a Johnson County, North Carolina Extension Master Gardener. Connie thought she signed up to blog, but really jumped in with both feet. First we benefited from her curiosity as she started to report on the world of citizen science, then composting, then local foods. You can tell that through her experience being a gardener and an Extension Master Gardener in different states, Connie “thinks big” about the small details.

Foy Spicer, a horticulturist, and now a Purdue (Indiana) Wabash County Master Gardener. Foy has been marrying the “low tech” (gardens, preserving food,) with the “high tech” (blogging, social media), and she helps us to do the same. She blogs on ‘hot plants” (like skunk cabbage) but also moves us forward to bring gardeners together through ideas and tools like blog hops, and “Linky” tools (as in her dwarf conifers post). Stay tuned for some of these ideas coming to life in 2013.

What’s next for Extension Master Gardener Social Media Team in 2013?

Our Extension Master Gardener team is really just winding up. This year, expect to see more interviews with our team, other contributors, extension master gardeners, and partners of the extension master gardener program.

We also plan to engage in more discussions about gardening, the resources we are using, new fascinating biochar research from a bioenergy project, and available online learning experiences (e.g. webinars, courses, etc).

Thank you to all who tune in on a monthly basis. We hope to connect with you in one of several places:

-Karen Jeannette
eXtension Consumer Horticulture Community Development

8 Responses to “Meet the Extension Master Gardener Social Media Team”

  1. Sylvia Hacker says:

    I didn’t realise you’re on Pinterest. See you there!

  2. Jim Ewoldsen says:

    Does your team have any guidelines for MG and extension use of social media?

  3. Karen Jeannette says:

    HI Sylvia, Yes, we are on Pinterest now. Looking forward to seeing you there!

  4. Karen Jeannette says:

    HI Jim, We established an EMG Blog Policy when we first launched the blog a couple of year ago: http://blogs.extension.org/mastergardener/2010/02/27/extension-master-gardener-blog-policy/

    In the policy, there is a code of conduct, you might want to take a look at. However, we have had some discussions with Extension Master Gardener coordinators about what kind of resources would be helpful to support local programs. We don’t have these support resources developed yet, but we are having discussions about how best to develop these resources, because we hear others are looking to develop them, too.

    As for how to blog, etc… we follow these eXtension Blogging Guidelines @ http://create.extension.org/node/2926
    As for using certain social media tools, the Network Literacy Community of Practice, is a group of Extension professionals (and beyond) that discusses and teaches about using social media to engage learners. Many of these resources are quite helpful to anyone learning to get better at social media. They can be found at their home page: http://www.extension.org/network_literacy. Their Webinars and Webinar recordings are available on the eXtension Learn site (webinar listings open to all) @ https://learn.extension.org/events/tag/network%20literacy Please feel free to attend a webinar of theirs or use their resources.

    I hope that answered your question, but if not, please let me know!

  5. susan harris says:

    Hi. I’ve written about MGs over on GardenRant and told readers I’d ask for a response from you guys. http://gardenrant.com/2013/03/so-what-do-we-think-of-master-gardeners.html

  6. Karen Jeannette says:

    Hello Susan,

    Several EMG coordinators have replied to your post. I can say, working with many Extension Master Gardeners and coordinators through this Extension Master Gardener Blog the past several years, I have become well acquainted with many EMGs and stories about passionate, humble volunteers who continually and selflessly seek to learn and understand the application of gardening research for improving their communities and local environments in many different ways.

    While, I could go on and on about these volunteers, below I’d like to share just a few links that I think embody the spirit of EMGs, and how they generally approach being EMG volunteers. However, you can find many other examples on this blog, as well.

    *National Volunteer Week> http://blogs.extension.org/mastergardener/tag/national-volunteer-week/
    *Search for Excellence Awards> http://blogs.extension.org/mastergardener/2012/02/06/search-for-excellence-award-blog-posts-listings-by-project-category/
    *How I Became a Master Gardener> http://blogs.extension.org/mastergardener/2012/05/13/how-i-became-a-master-gardener/
    *2012 CenUSA Bioenergy Biochar Test Gardens> http://blogs.extension.org/mastergardener/tag/2012-cenusa-bioenergy-biochar-test-garden-research/

  7. Gladys Hutson says:

    I am proud to be a Union County North Carolina Extension Master Gardener!! I first heard about the program, believe it or not, through a TV program called “The Gardener Guy”. He was my hero and a Master Gardener. I had been a long time gardener and decided that I wanted to be a Master Gardener. I found our local Extension Agent and asked him how I could take the class. Unfortunately, at the time the class was only being held on a weekday and I worked M-F. I quit my M-F job to take this class. (well, really I did not want to do Paralegal work anymore and wanted a new career…Gardening!) To date, the class is now offered on a weekday and a repeat of the class on a Saturday for those the work M-F. Maybe my passion about becoming a Master Gardener helped to bring about that change?
    I have been a Master Gardener going on 4 years. Shortly after getting my badge and certificate, I took a local beekeeping class. I am now also a Beekeeper. I became a Beekeeper to increase pollination in my garden, but soon realized that there is a desperate need for Beekeepers and also a desperate need to teach proper beekeeping. The average person has heard the words “colony collapse”, but how many really know what it means and why it is happening. Not many people know how truly wonderful this creature is. I have made it my mission to tell as many people as I can about what is happening to our bees. From shoppers at where I currently work part time, to teaching classes at elementary schools, to writing the newsletter for our local Beekeepers Association, I am consumed with the subject of Bees. I think that Bees and Master Gardening go together like peanut butter and jelly and I think Beekeeping education should become a part of the Master Gardener Program.
    Is there a blog for beekeeping on your site?

  8. Karen Jeannette says:

    Gladys, Thanks so much for telling your story. I often see a trend with Extension Master Gardener wanting to bee keep — it seems like a good fit, as EMGs know how to tend gardens and plants that can be helpful to their success!

    The eXtension site has a Bee Health section @ http://www.extension.org/bee_health, and within that some resources on Bee Keeping: http://www.extension.org/category/basic_beekeeping_techniques. You may also like to visit their Facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bee-Health-eXtensionorg/218620291454

    I like to follow Denise Ellsworth blog (at The Ohio State U) @ http://www.osupollination.com/2013/02/honey-bee-strength-assessment-course.html and the BugSquad @ http://ucanr.org/blogs/bugsquad/index.cfm

    If you know of other beekeeping resources let us know……