Serve – Nov ’13 Real Dirt


Gardening with Children: A Labor of Love

Gardening with Children: A Labor of Love

Nancy Denison

I began to volunteer at the Children’s Garden two summers ago and I was hooked!  Susan Kuschell and the Friendly Garden Club have done a fine job of designing and developing the gardens.  During the summer, community groups take a small plot within the planting area, plant and care for their veggies and herbs and then harvest either for themselves or to donate to various food distributors.  It is so much fun to see some of my former students who come with the Civic Center day camp and to help all of the students learn about soil, seeds, and weeds.  Then, there is the thrill when things actually grow and can be picked, washed and sampled. It is a joy to witness their excitement.

I was also a mentor this year for a small group of girls who had a planting plot. We weeded, selected seeds and plants in the spring and then enjoyed the harvest from mid-summer on.  Cooperation, discovery, dirty hands, and reflection abound from all. I know those who volunteer and help out in the Children’s Garden are growing lifelong gardeners every summer.

In mid August, Susan organizes a fun evening to showcase the gardens for families and other community members. Songs, sharing, homemade pizzas and certificates of participation are part of the activities.  This is truly a labor of love for all involved!

RSVP here for the 2013 Volunteer Recognition Dinner

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New Board Positions!

Open board positions!

Open board positions!

The MGANM board is pleased to roll out several new board positions in the interests of better sharing the volunteer work load and in having more energy (and fun!) at the board level. There are three new full board positions, and four advisory positions (non-voting, board meeting attendance optional but encouraged). Most of these positions will work by supporting existing committees or groups of volunteers in their efforts, though as first year positions you’ll also have freedom to define your roles. Please contact a board member or our coordinator, Matthew Bertrand, with any questions about these positions.

If you’re interested in fulfilling any of the positions or would like to nominate someone, please try to let us know by Sunday, November 3rd. We expect to hold elections at the annual Volunteer Celebration on November 6th.

Position Descriptions

  1. President – The President will preside over meetings of the general membership and the Executive Committee. The President will oversee the enforcement of the by-laws and policies as adopted by the membership of the Association.
  2. Vice President – In the absence of the President, Secretary, or Treasurer, the Vice President shall assume the duties of said office. The Vice President shall oversee all standing committees.
  3. Secretary – The Secretary shall take minutes of all Executive Committee and Association general meetings. At each meeting the secretary will have published or will read the minutes of the previous meeting. A copy of all minutes will be forwarded to the Advisor at the MSUE Leelanau County office. The secretary shall be responsible for maintaining complete records of all Association minutes attendance and correspondence.
  4. Treasurer – The Treasurer will be responsible for managing all Association income, expenses and bank accounts(s) according to the policies and procedures of the Association.
  5. Education/Events – Chairperson will be responsible for the initiation, planning and public relations for educational and other events.
  6. Communications – The Chairperson will be responsible for all internal communication amongst MGANM members and external communications with the public, including the Real Dirt newsletter, the Association website, and other opportunities as they arise.
  7. Development – The Chairperson will be responsible for strategies leading to increased membership and funding opportunities for MGANM and its activities
  8. Advisor – Master Gardener Coordinator – The Advisor will serve as a non-voting, ex- officio member. The Advisor is responsible for assuring the Association carries out its stated purpose in accordance with the educational mission and policies of Leelanau County MSUE and the Michigan Master Gardener program. The Advisor is the liaison between the Association and MSUE.
  9. Advisor – Environmental Stewardship — The Advisor will serve as a non-voting member. The Advisor will serve as a community liaison between the board, association members, community partners, and the public with the goal of improving Environmental Stewardship outcomes in the community.
  10. Advisor – Youth Gardening — The Advisor will serve as a non-voting member. The Advisor will serve as a community liaison between the board, association members, community partners, and the public with the goal of increasing support for Youth Gardening activities in the community.
  11. Advisor – Food Security and Hunger — The Advisor will serve as a non-voting member. The Advisor will serve as a community liaison between the board, association members, community partners, and the public with the goal of meeting community needs for Food Security and Hunger.
  12. Advisor – Beautification/Social Benefit — The Advisor will serve as a non-voting member. The Advisor will serve as a community liaison between the board, association members, community partners, and the public in order to meet community goals for Beautification and other Social Benefits that our gardens provide.

New events for the week of 9/2/13

Part of The Commons still in disrepair

Part of The Commons still in disrepair (by Whitney Miller)

Here are a few events we would like you to know about.

  • 9:30 tomorrow morning (Wednesday 9/4/13) the Herbal Renewal group will be touring the BGS site, including the visitor center.
  • The Art Center’s Art in the Garden grand opening reception  is this Friday at Building 50’s north Mercado from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. – the Botanic Garden will have a display so you’re encouraged to drop by, view the artwork and have a snack.
  • As I mentioned, you’re also welcome to join us at the Visitor Center Saturday morning at 9:30 to select tables and chairs.
  • Anyone willing to help with the advertising/marketing piece for our Revolutionary Gardens benefit is encouraged to come to the home of Karen Schmidt this Thursday at 5:30 p.m.  I’ll provide hot dogs, lemonade and homemade pie and we’ll pass out posters and contact information.  Folks will be asked to help by delivering a poster or two to a specified place, contacting a garden club or other group, or following up with a newspaper, radio or TV on a press release.  Anyone who could help would be greatly appreciated.

Serve – Sep ’13 Real Dirt


Learning About Grandma’s World
The Real Dirt is Doing Real Well

Learning About Grandma’s World

Sue Sensenbaugh-Padgett

Grandma's books pic by Sue S-P

My first gardening experience was the “chore” of weeding. Gardening meant sweat and dirt but it also meant spending time with Grandma. When Grandma passed away, I dug into gardening as a way to stay connected to her. In a search for more information on gardening, I scoured Grandma’s book shelves, but found the real treasure in her attic. What I found was a series of garden primers for beginners from 1937. I never imagined what I would learn from these books.

Instead of learning about gardening, I learned about society when Grandma was growing-up. This series was written by Cecile Hulse Matschat and consist of five slim volumes: How to Make a Garden, Planning the Home Grounds, Bulbs and House Plants, Annuals and Perennials, and Shrubs and Trees. The similarities are interesting but unremarkable. Advice such as “plan ahead for your purpose” and the “growth of the plants”, “test the soil” and “use the right plant in the right place” ring with the sound of Master Gardening classes. Plant anatomy and physiology remain unchanged as does the admonition to use pesticides according to the label.

The truly interesting aspects of the series came in the differences. For books directed at beginners, there was a high level of assumed plant knowledge. Fertilizers were very different. Today we would use the term organic or green for the humus based fertilizers but Matschat simply refers to the family compost pile. She does refer to the more expensive artificial powders that are “… of little long term use.” This points to the pre-WWII period, a time when artificial nitrogen was still expensive. Also the spray Matschat recommends contains lead. Purchasing seedling or even seed starting soils is referred to as an “…expensive indulgence available in a few areas.” The largest change is seen in the advice on planning a home grounds. The list of items needing space include coal wagons, grocery deliveries, compost area, garbage incinerator, and laundry area (outdoor washing and clothes lines). Even an area for chickens must be added. Today we don’t have coal and grocery deliveries and trash is sent to the landfill. But compost piles and chickens are reappearing. The changes aren’t linear but more of a cycle. In the end, I found so much in these books to help me form a deeper connection to Grandma.

The Real Dirt is Doing Real Well

Whitney Miller

We, at The Real Dirt, would like to thank all of our readers for your patience and understanding while we’ve been undergoing our changes. Although at times it has not been easy, the end result is exactly what we had envisioned: an interactive, fun, and fresh newsletter.

During our transition, we have been keeping a close eye on the statistics that are offered through this new platform, and boy are we excited! On average, we have almost triple the amount of people actually reading our newsletter than industry average for non-profit organizations. We also are more than quadrupling the average number of people who click on an article to read further. WOW! Having such great reader interaction with our newsletter keeps us excited for each publication, so keep it up!

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