UCCE Master Gardeners of San Bernardino County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of San Bernardino County

In the News

UC ANR Celebrates Black History Month

In February of each year, the University of California joins organizations across the country to mark Black History Month, a celebration of achievements by Black Americans and a time to recognize Black History as American history. This month invites engagement in personal and organizational reflection about the legacies of injustice and inequity in the United States, as well as histories of Black resilience and resistance.

In a recent blog post, we outlined UC Master Gardener Program priorities for the upcoming year, focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion. In this four-part, Celebrating California Gardens, blog series we aim to highlight plants, gardening practices, and extension education history sometimes missing from the UC Master Gardener Program curriculum. Because we, the authors of this blog, are not experts but rather learners in Black History, we would like to showcase a list of events and continuing education resources developed by our colleagues. We hope you'll join us in deepening our knowledge!

Upcoming UC ANR Events:

UC ANR Black and Allied Staff, in collaboration with UC ANR Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Alliance members are hosting online educational programs and activities to celebrate Black History Month. All events are open to all UC ANR employees and volunteers.

Registration Link: 2021 UC ANR's Black History Month Meetings Registration

  • Feb. 3, 2 – 3 pm - Keynote Speaker Sonia Lewis. "The Black Lived Experience is a Matter of History" with remarks from Glenda Humiston and John Fox

Sonia Lewis, founder of ASCRIBE Educational Consulting, will speak on "The Black lived experience is a matter of history." After nearly 20 years in the traditional classroom teaching history and social studies and managing a small magnet program, Lewis founded ASCRIBE Educational Consulting. Their focus has always been geared towards educational/racial equity and resource distribution. Since 2009, ASCRIBE Educational Consulting has centered on the development of programs and the writing of curriculum for marginalized and vulnerable student populations. In addition, Lewis' work involves speaking and training around the topics of equity, race relations, and social justice.

  • Feb. 10, 2 – 3 pm - "Lived Experience" with Virtual Museum Piece & Discussion Intro by UC ANR's Mary Blackburn, Health & Nutrition Advisor, National Museum of African American Culture and History
  • Feb. 17, 2 – 3 pm - Chanowk Yisrael, "The Importance of Food Sovereignty" Virtual Farm Tour & Discussion Yisrael Family Farms located in Sacramento, Calif.

Yisrael Family Urban Farm, founded by Judith and Chanowk Yisrael, is an urban farm located in Sacramento's South Oak Park neighborhood. Learn more about the farm's vision and mission on the UC ANR Urban Agriculture webpage or the Yisrael Family Urban Farm website.

  • Feb. 24, 2 – 3 pm - Priorities & Experiences of Black Farmers, Discussion and Q&A

The UC Master Gardener Program gives thanks to the UC ANR Black History Month planning committee members Keith Nathaniel, County Director and 4-H Youth Development Advisor, Esther Mosase, Climate Smart Community Educator, and LeChé McGill, Human Resources Specialist, for curating this important event. 

Black History in the Garden

Today, we honor plants and gardening practices significant to Black and African American gardening and cuisine, and the many contributions of Black gardeners and researchers to the field of horticulture. As learners of Black History, we are consuming articles and information that grow and nurture our understanding. Two such articles are “A Garden So Brilliant with Colors, so original in its Design” by Dianne D. Glave, published in Environmental History and “Sisters of the Soil: Urban Gardening as Resistance in Detroit” by Monica White, published by Indiana University Press.

Glave, a professor of African American Studies and a historian with expertise in African American environmentalism, provides insight into the relationship between African American gardening and Progressive reform (education shared by the Cooperative Extension system) in the early 1900s. She explains that “African Americans practiced two types of gardening that conflicted with and paralleled Progressive agricultural techniques: mimicking nature and cultivating the row system.” These techniques, suggests Glave, the gardens reject some Euro-American techniques and adapt others. In this way, we witness that the garden served as a space for subsistence, beautification, spiritual connectedness, and rebellion.

Similar to the stories shared by Glave, White's article also touches on gardening as a resistance strategy. White is a scholar of environmental justice as well as a historian focusing on African American farmers in the United States. Her study is one of modern-day African American women gardeners in Detroit. These women are gardening activists whose effort to create green space on vacant land is a protest against social, economic, and gender oppression that interferes with access to healthy food for poor people and communities of color. While 100 years separates the stories in these two articles, the determination, purpose, and vision shared by African American gardeners throughout the years is a poignant lesson learned for all gardeners and garden educators.  

Are you a UC Master Gardener Program volunteer with a story to contribute to the Celebrating California Gardens blog series marking Black History Month, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, and American Indian Heritage Month? Reach out to Marisa Coyne, Volunteer Engagement Coordinator, at macoyne@ucanr.edu to share your idea! We are committed to celebrating California garden heritage and history throughout the year, so it's never too late to reach out to share a story or provide your input.

Additional readings and resources: 

Posted on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 at 1:06 PM
Focus Area Tags: Yard & Garden

'Trees for Tomorrow Start Today' Workshop (via Zoom) March 9, 2021 (8:15 AM - 3:00 PM)

Landscape trees provide shade, cool urban heat islands, reduce interior energy use and related costs, provide habitat for pollinators and wildlife, and beautify our communities. They also help clean our environment by absorbing carbon dioxide emitted by vehicles and other producers of fossil fuels.

Taking care of our urban trees is an important way to maximize these benefits. Unfortunately, their average lifespan in our cities is less than 1/4 of their potential due to poor selection and care. You can help enact change and increase the health, longevity and canopy coverage of our urban forests by encouraging your city leaders, local non-profit organizations interested in ‘green cities' arborists, landscape architects, nursery growers, HOAs, and concerned citizens to register for our free ‘Trees for Tomorrow Start Today' workshop (via Zoom) on Tuesday, March 9, 2021 (8:15am – 3pm).

Please reach out to your city leaders and local ‘green industry' professionals to encourage their attendance and participation. While the workshop is free, registration is required through this secure link: http://ucanr.edu/u.cfm?id=264

A bevy of speakers including certified arborists, horticulturists, planners, water district personnel and other non-profit and green industry representatives will discuss the benefits of urban trees; recommended practices for their selection and care; how to avoid hazardous trees that damage property and structures; and share success stories resulting from partnerships through cities, non-profit organizations, the green industry, HOAs, and street tree committees.

A highlight of the workshop will be the opportunity for attendees to participate in breakout sessions that cut across professions and interest groups (city planners, community service directors, arborists, landscape architects, landscapers, water district managers, HOA managers, golf course superintendents, nursery growers, UC master gardeners, concerned citizens, etc.) to enact positive change regarding tree selection and care.

Thank you for sharing this opportunity to help ensure a healthy future for our children's children with your city leaders and decision-makers.

In the meantime, here are some tree care tips to ‘start the conversation' between now and the workshop:

• Select trees that perform well in your climate. The Sunset Western Climate Zone maps are more precise than USDA zones for our warmer climates. Trees should also be selected based on their adaptation to the ‘micro-climate' in each particular landscape, as well (shade, proximity to buildings, space needs below as well as above ground, soil type, water source, etc.)

• Plant trees the same depth they were in their container in holes at least 2-1/2 times wider. Do not add compost or organic matter to the hole. This practice can result in circled roots that never grow laterally out of the confines of the dug hole.

• Remove any tree ties that are cutting into the trunk or branches of your trees. If trees must be staked due to windy conditions, make sure that the ties are loose enough to allow trees to gently flex in the wind. This helps trees develop the necessary lower trunk strength and stability to support the tree as it matures. Over time, you may be able to completely remove the ties and stakes once the lower trunk becomes stronger and self-supporting.

• Keep all plants and mulch several inches away from tree trunks.

• Keep tree trunks dry. They should not come into contact with water from sprinklers or hoses.

• Regularly water newly planted trees but water mature trees infrequently and deeply. Watering too often reduces the level of oxygen in the rootzone and can lead to waterlogged soils prone to crown and root rots. During fall, trees require only about 15% of the water they require in the summer.

• Prune trees only as needed and avoid topping them. Invest in the services of a credentialed and knowledgeable professional to correctly care for your valued trees. Find a list of International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborists in your area here: https://www.treesaregood.org/findanarborist.


Posted on Monday, February 1, 2021 at 8:22 PM
Focus Area Tags: Environment

2021 Program Priorities: Diversity Equity and Inclusion Focus

Sunflowers grow beside an open garden gate at Bayer Farm in Sonoma County. Bayer Farm represents a collaboration between the UC Master Gardener Program in Sonoma County, LandPaths, and other local entities working together to offer bilingual (English and Spanish) garden education in Santa Rosa, CA.

As we close out the first month of the New Year, our hope for the UC Master Gardener Program is that 2021 will be a year of continued growth in gardening education and support for our neighbors, friends, and communities.

The online demand for trusted information about gardening is at an all-time high. Individuals and families are looking to access the therapeutic benefits of spending time outdoors and the health benefits of eating homegrown produce. The work of the UC Master Gardener Program is more relevant now than ever!

Annually we establish priority areas to focus on important issues. For the 2020 and 2021 program year, our priorities include the following:

The UC Master Gardener Program is guided by our program's mission, "To extend research-based knowledge and information on home horticulture, pest management, and sustainable landscape practices to the residents of California" and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources' Strategic Plan.

California's strength is its diversity; our mission has always been to serve all communities in our state's population. This blog will outline key statewide priorities for 2021, focusing on our responsibility to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

Support diversity, equity, and inclusion

Every five years UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) develops a strategic plan to establish a framework and help guide staff, academics, and volunteers to fulfill its land-grant mission of teaching, research, and public service. UC ANR Strategic Goal 6: Improve Diversity Equity, and Inclusion aims to increase access to and equity in UC ANR programs, research, and work environments for all populations in our state, to make a difference in the lives of all Californians.

National data indicates that Master Gardener volunteers are overwhelmingly white, college-educated, affluent, retired, and female-identified. We do not have data specific to the UC Master Gardener Program, but incomplete data from 2015 indicates that California's volunteer population is in line with the national trend. Therefore the UC Master Gardener volunteer population does not reflect the diversity of California's residents and gardeners.

Improving Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Cooperative Extension has been and will continue to be a goal for the UC Master Gardener Program. To truly achieve our mission, we must improve our outreach to communities historically underinvested by Cooperative Extension, including Black, Latino, Native American, LGBT and disabled Californians. We must also uplift the voices of current program leaders who hold identities underrepresented in our program, and increase our staff and volunteers' cultural competency and equity awareness.

A look back at our progress in 2020

In 2020, we laid a foundation for our statewide diversity, equity, and inclusion work by introducing educational resources, revisiting current practices, and engaging in peer dialogues.

In early 2020, we introduced implicit bias resources and trainings on our statewide blog, UC Implicit Bias Training – Now Available for Volunteers. All UC Master Gardener volunteers are encouraged to take these online implicit bias trainings as part of their ongoing continuing education.

The UC Master Gardener Program Coordinator annual meeting focused on inclusive volunteer selection and recruitment strategies. Dr. Maria de la Fuente, County Director, Farm and UC  Master Gardener Advisor in Monterey & Santa Cruz Counties, offered the keynote Increasing Diversity in the UC Master Gardener Program. De la Fuente's powerful presentation focused on workplace values and how they are influenced by culture. We also heard from Janet Hartin, County Co-Director San Bernardino County and Environmental Horticulture Advisor in San Bernardino, Riverside, and Los Angeles Counties, on how County Directors can help support diversity, equity, and inclusion.

In July, Elaine Lander, UC Integrated Pest Management Statewide Program Community Educator and Marisa Coyne, UC Master Gardener Program Statewide Volunteer Engagement Coordinator, hosted a discussion for coordinators, Racial Equity in the Garden, which provided an overview of a new racial equity resources webpage on the coordinator website and the UC ANR Diversity Equity and Inclusion page.

Please note: While this post focuses on statewide efforts. Throughout 2020, counties such as Alameda, Sonoma, Santa Clara, Orange, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and others undertook and sustained their own projects and initiatives to enhance equity at the local level.

Looking ahead to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in the future

We've mapped out an active approach to raise the bar for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the UC Master Gardener Program by identifying barriers to engagement and addressing social justice shortfalls. 

  • Learning and Development: Foundational to the success of our goal, we are committed to promoting and participating in lifelong learning opportunities for our UC Master Gardener community that will improve our understanding of racial and social justice. 
  • Equity Assessment: In the coming months, a preliminary equity assessment, focused on racial equity, will be completed by the UC Master Gardener Program's statewide office and UC ANR's Program Planning and Evaluation team in order to evaluate our program's status and to identify next steps and future interventions.
  • Inclusive Volunteer Selection: We will continue to expand on our effort to evaluate program resources through the filter of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The work started in 2020 to re-vamp the new volunteer application and volunteer position description will be completed and new templates released in 2021. We will also improve the accessibility of our digital education and training materials for people with disabilities. 
  • National Network: To ensure that we learn about different approaches as well as successes and missteps, we will continue to connect and collaborate not only within UC ANR but also with national Extension Master Gardener colleagues.
  • Celebrating California Gardens: Together, with coordinators and volunteers, a blog series will be developed celebrating culturally important plants and foods, sometimes missing from UC Master Gardener curricula. For 2021, we look forward to celebrating Black History Month, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, and American Indian Heritage Month.

As UC ANR's Vice President Glenda Humiston said, “California's strength is its diversity; our UC ANR mission has always been to serve all segments of the state's population.” We are committed to making sure the UC Master Gardener Program's resources are relevant and available to all gardeners across California. Together, we can learn and grow.

Are you interested learning more? Check out UCANR's Diversity Equity and Inclusion page for anti-racism resources and information about gender inclusion. Are you a UC Master Gardener Program volunteer with a story to contribute to the Celebrating California Gardens blog series mentioned above? Reach out to Marisa Coyne, Volunteer Engagement Coordinator, at macoyne@ucanr.edu to share your idea!


A green garden hose is coiled next to a splash of orange and yellow Icelandic poppies at City Slicker Farms in Oakland, CA during a UC Master Gardener Program collaboration in 2017.


Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 at 10:00 AM
Focus Area Tags: Yard & Garden

Planting Right with PlantRight

UC Master Gardener Program partner PlantRight had a information packed LIVE talk about their efforts to phase out invasive plants in California.  Alex Stubblefield, PlantRight project manager led the LIVE talk featuring their mission, partners, work and what we can do to help stop invasive plants. If you didn't get to join us LIVE you can watch the video below.



Here is a quick written recap of the LIVE talk:  

What is an invasive plant?

An invasive plant is a plant that is non-native to the ecosystem under consideration, and whose introduction is likely to cause economic or environmental harm, or harm to human health. Visit PlantRight's website for more detail.  

What's the problem?

Invasive plants harm California's environment and economy in many ways. They can overtake crops or rangeland; harm wildlife by eliminating plants they need for food and shelter; clog waterways used for commerce or recreation; and increase fire hazards and flood risk.

What's the alternative?

There is no shortage of superior alternatives. The vast majority of garden plants are well behaved and will never become an invasive problem. Our plant list includes several suggested alternatives for each invasive plant

How can I help?

Be a part of the solution by planting right. Whether you are a retail nursery, grower, landscape professional, or home gardener — everyone can play a critical role in preventing the spread of invasive plants. PlantRight has many educational resources and materials available online to read and share. 

Plants to watch!

Although the list of plants PlantRight is currently working with is not all-inclusive there is a list of plants to watch.  Find the current list of plants to watch on their website

LIVE Series

To see past LIVE talks and what is coming up please visit the LIVE series web page. 

Attention UC Master Gardener Volunteers: Whether you join LIVE or watch the recording, be sure to record your continuing education hours in the Volunteer Management System.

Posted on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 10:07 AM
Tags: PlantRight (8)
Focus Area Tags: Environment, Natural Resources, Yard & Garden

LIVE: Planting Right with Plant Right Talk

UC Master Gardener Program and PlantRight have partnered for a LIVE Facebook and YouTube talk about invasive plants on Jan. 19at noon. Invasive plants harm the environment and cost California millions of dollars to monitor and manage each year. Almost half of invasive plants in the state get their start through the nursery trade, and many invasive plants are still legal to sell today. Educating people on the impact of invasive plants is just a small piece of removing them from the environment.

What is PlantRight?

PlantRight is a program that works together with the nursery industry, conservation, science, and government agencies to identify and help nurseries voluntarily phase out invasive plants. For each invasive on the list, PlantRight suggests safer, regionally appropriate alternative plants. PlantRight's goal is to teach everyone from landscapers to home gardeners how toplant “right”. Learn more about PlantRight at www.PlantRight.org. Stay up on the latest from PlantRight by following them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

UC Master Gardener Partnership

The partnership between the UC Master Gardener Program and PlantRight supports planting the right plant in the right place. The right plant in the right place leads to a healthier environment and healthier plants. Because of UC Master Gardener volunteer efforts, PlantRight can survey plant nurseries all over California.  Armed with clipboards, cameras, and data sheets, specially trained volunteers collect and report to PlantRight. The information volunteers gather is vital to PlantRight for three main purposes:

  1. Tracking the sale of invasive plants currently on the plant list and retiring those that have been mostly phased out of retail.
  2. Helping PlantRight determine whether or not to add candidate plants to the plant list.
  3. Informing industry outreach strategy with information about sales in different regions and store types.

UC Master Gardener volunteers play a vital role in educating the public on right plant, right place, and helping PlantRight survey California's plant nurseries.

Planting Right with PlantRight, LIVE on Jan. 19

The UC Master Gardener Program is celebrating this great partnership by hosting a free LIVE talk titled Planting Right with PlanRight. No registration is required. The discussion will be live-streamed to Facebook and YouTube on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at noon. Guest speaker, Alex Stubblefield, PlantRight Project manager, will be educating us on invasive plants in California and offering plant alternatives as well as the importance of the annual plant survey.

LIVE talks are an authentic and interactive way to interact with our audience in real-time. Share the Facebook and YouTube Live opportunity with your friends on social media and tune in to the UC Master Gardener Program LIVE broadcast! In the comments section below, let us know what topics or questions you would like answered on Tuesday, Jan. 19, or ideas for future LIVE topics. The event will be recorded and available for later viewing for those who can't make it. Attention UC Master Gardener Volunteers: Whether you join LIVE or watch the recording, be sure to record your continuing education hours in the Volunteer Management System.

Ask your local UC Master Gardener

For more gardening help and local county resources, click here to Find a Program. You will be redirected to your local county website and contact information. UC Master Gardener volunteers, staff, and our extended community's health and safety is our number one priority. Many UC Cooperative Extension offices are offering only phone and virtual services but are here to help, be sure to check your local program for resources. Thank you for your understanding.


Posted on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 2:05 PM
Focus Area Tags: Yard & Garden

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