President’s Letter – March 2021

by Michele Worden, AEMG, MGANM President

As we slog through of slush of late winter, I am excited by the opportunities that I see and by the progress we have made on our mission of education.

I am amazed and grateful for the wonderful volunteers that have stepped up and made our association better.  Great things are happening!  Thank you all for answering the call and sharing your numerous talents.

Molly Bacon has led the charge to update and improve our website.  Please look at the new ease of finding useful information and upcoming events.  We have a committee that is working with Molly, but we also welcome any input on how to make things better from the membership.  Let us know what works and what needs improving.

Molly has also been leading the effort to expand and improve The Real Dirt with her prolific group of Master Gardener writers and editors.  We discovered that not all members were receiving the newsletter because of confusion around how to subscribe to it.  Thus, we have moved the delivery platform from MailChimp to our membership management software, Wild Apricot.  By going through Wild Apricot to distribute the newsletter, all members will get The Real Dirt via email.  Archives of past Real Dirt articles will still appear on the website and be discoverable for the public.

A big thank you to Nancy Popa, our Vice-President, and the two Programming Co-chairs, Kay Goodall and Kathleen Mullaney.  They have taken the reins on getting the execution of the programming calendar working like clockwork.   I especially appreciate this as I have some family commitments that prevent me for being as active in the programming as I have in the past.  They are doing an amazing job of working with speakers, writing press releases and distributing them, creating the Facebook and Wild Apricot events and managing the registration process.  It is a lot of work.

MGANM programming has been more popular than ever.  In January we hosted a fascinating event on “Composting and Biochar” by Nate Walton and Tim Overdier that had 80 registrants. 

In February, we saw an amazing presentation on “Seed Starting” by our own Sue Newman.  Our Facebook post on this event went viral and had over 70,000 views and hundreds of shares.  We had 189 registrants.  I think we tapped into the pandemic desire of many to learn how to start a garden from seed.  We had so many registrants for Seed Starting that we had to move from the MGANM zoom platform (max 100) to Nate’s MSUE platform that can host effectively unlimited participants. 

For March, we are excited to welcome tribal member Nathan Wright on “Plants that Native Americans Used”.  So far, we have 128 registrants, and once again have had to  move to the MSUE zoom platform.  I am really looking forward to this talk!

The surge in interest in our programming has had another impact.  We have had an increase in new memberships as well as many of the optional $5 donations to view our programs.  We welcome all to our programming but ask for the optional donation to defray costs. The increase in memberships and programming donations has had a positive impact on our budget.  We will send our Annual Report out in March to the membership.

I am grateful that we have been able to expand the reach of our educational mission through virtual speakers and connecting people to resources.  But I also am itching to get in the garden and in our volunteer projects where we can promote horticultural education the old-fashioned way by getting our hands dirty. 

Start your seeds and plan your gardens.  Spring awaits!

Many thanks for all you do for our community.

 


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