Extension Master Gardener volunteers have a new communication tool to encourage interaction and sharing at the national, state and local level. Cooperative Extension Master Gardener (EMG) program coordinators are gearing up to launch the first national blog for EMG volunteers on Monday, May 3, 2010.
Blog posts can be found directly at http://blogs.extension.org/mastergardener or through the new national Extension Master Gardener website at http://extension.org/mastergardener. With over 94,000 volunteers contributing more than $100 million in service nationwide, the EMG program is hoping to take its volunteer program to a new level by increasing the social interaction of its participants.
Beginning Monday, May 3, EMG coordinators and guest contributors from various states will take turns sharing a weekly blog post on a topic geared toward the national EMG community. Master Gardeners will be encouraged to discuss items appearing in blog posts by submitting comments using the blog’s commenting features.
Monica David, Illinois EMG coordinator and Consumer Horticulture National Committee chair, said, “ I hope the EMG Blog will be a place where Master Gardeners are encouraged to ‘talk shop.’” David also noted that the blog can be a place for EMGs to interact around blog post topics that may highlight many Master Gardener activities including:
• Project ideas, successes, and learning points
• Educational opportunities and curricula
• Contributions to the public good (value and benefit)
• National updates and events
In addition, David noted that collaboration via the EMG blog could lead to more cross-state and regional cooperation on projects and provide expanded learning opportunities for Master Gardeners. “Hopefully they will share and discuss researched-based knowledge from different land grant universities related to their project and volunteer opportunities. Another equally important component of utilizing the EMG blog is to reach audiences who primarily use blogs and the Internet for communicating or getting information,” she said.
“While we don’t all grow the same plants or have all the same exact program needs, there is much to learn from each state,” said Rick Durham, Kentucky EMG Coordinator and current leader of the eXtension Consumer Horticulture Community of Practice. “Maybe the EMG blog will help provide a more freely flowing river of ideas within and between states,” he said.
Please help spread the word that on May 3, EMGs will be blogging live via http://blogs.extension.org/mastergardener