Talbot County’s Master Gardener Program will receive an International David Gibby Search for Excellence Award in September during the 2021 International Master Gardener Conference. This prestigious award – named for the founder of all Master Gardener Programs – spotlights our University of Maryland Extension Master Gardeners’ “Nurture Nature Coaching Workshop.” The event took place in person, pre-pandemic, in the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s Van Lennep Auditorium in early March 2020.
This year’s IMG Conference, hosted by the Virginia Extension Master Gardener Program, will take place virtually. More than a thousand program volunteers from 50 states, Canada, and South Korea are expected to attend. The award, judged by peers, recognizes “exemplary group projects that show significant learning by Master Gardeners or the public” that “frequently serve as models, influencing the development of Master Gardener-led programs throughout the world.” Talbot County’s 3rd place award appears in the “Program/Workshop” category with those from Fulton County, Georgia and Manatee County, Florida.
Photo: Talbot County Master Gardener Volunteers have been recognized with an international award for an innovative workshop designed to help our community garden more sustainably. Sharing the award are (Back) Mary Ripple, Melinda Hudson, Pat Jessup, Marilyn Reedy, Mary Sue Traynelis, Reenie Rice, Mikaela Boley (Front) Kathi Bangert, Mary Ellen Olcese, Janet Mackey, Rita Mhley, Sheilah Egan, Carol Jelich. Not pictured are Desne Roe, Leslie Coleman, Elizabeth Whiteley, Mary Revell, Janet Friedberg, Charlotte Meyer, Mimi Morris, Janis Trainor, Chris Myles-Tochko. Photo credit: Ron Ketter
The “Nurture Nature Coaching Workshop” involved more than 20 local Master Gardener Volunteers. As educational outreach, it encouraged residents to take actions in their own yards to make room for nature and create healthier living landscapes.
The workshop began with a brief video segment from a Joe Lamp’l “Growing a Greener World” television episode featuring entomologist Doug Tallamy, emphasizing how important it is for gardeners to plant native plants and create habitat for insects and birds.
In a subsequent panel discussion, 5 Master Gardeners shared stories and examples of ways they reduced their lawns and increased garden areas to support wildlife.
Afterwards, participants were offered the opportunity for one-on-one coaching with Master Gardener volunteers stationed around the auditorium.
To reinforce key points of the workshop, volunteers developed a brochure highlighting 10 achievable steps that participants could take to reduce lawn and “nurture nature” on residential properties ranging from multi-acre to small, townhouse yards.
The free program reached audience capacity with nearly 90 registered more than a week in advance. Post-program evaluations demonstrated that participants were enthusiastic to include more native plants, reduce lawn, and increase wildlife habitat. Additionally, nearly a dozen audience members requested Bay-Wise consultations by Master Gardener volunteers to help identify natural stewardship strategies for their own properties.
Talbot Master Gardeners continue to offer free Bay-Wise property consultations by request to:
Senior Agent Associate Mikaela Boley / firstname.lastname@example.org / 410 822-1244
To learn more about the Master Gardener Program, visit: https://extension.umd.edu/locations/talbot-county