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

Posts Tagged: SFE

Facebook Live: Search for Excellence, Engagement + Education + Enthusiasm = School Garden Success

Join us on Facebook on Fri., Dec. 1 for a LIVE event as we learn about Placer County's award-winning project, "Search for Excellence Second Place: Engagement + Education + Enthusiasm = School Garden Success." UC Master Gardener volunteers of Placer County created engaging, outdoor garden activities that go beyond traditional textbooks, sparking a love for nature and healthy living for students. The project delves into exciting topics like plant care, photosynthesis, the role of worms in soil creation, and the delicious benefits of eating fresh vegetables. No registration or special link needed, the talks will be streamed LIVE to Facebook and YouTube.


Carol Holliman, UC Master Gardener Volunteer Placer County
Melissa Johnson, UC Master Gardener Volunteer Placer County

Date: Friday, Dec. 1
Time: Noon
Link to recording: https://www.youtube.com/live/7v6EYjAcwM0?si=o-0H1U64-cwH2lM9

Facebook Live is an authentic and interactive way to interact with our audience in real time. It also allows the ability to build value, trust and raise brand awareness of the UC Master Gardener Program. Share the Facebook Live opportunity on your personal and local program pages and tune in to the UC Master Gardener Program Facebook Live broadcast! Let us know in the comments section what topics or questions you would like answered on Monday or on future Facebook Live topics.

Posted on Tuesday, November 28, 2023 at 4:00 PM
Tags: #SFE (0)

Facebook Live: Search for Excellence, Video Learning Reaches Larger Audience

Join us on Facebook on Thurs., Nov. 16 for a LIVE event as we learn about Sacramento County's award-winning project, "Video Learning Reaches Larger Audiences." This project was recognized for being innovative and has encouraged other programs across California to make videos that are informational, easy to watch and engaging. Their dedication to helping their community was especially clear during the pandemic, showing their willingness to adapt and keep delivering the UC Master Gardener mission.

No registration or special link needed, the talks will be streamed LIVE to Facebook and YouTube.

Date: Thursday, Nov. 16
Time: Noon
Link: https://fb.me/e/39IoRvOdg

Kathy Steuer, UC Master Gardener Volunteer Sacramento County
Mary Welch, UC Master Gardener Volunteer Sacramento County 



Facebook Live is an authentic and interactive way to interact with our audience in real time. It also allows the ability to build value, trust and raise brand awareness of the UC Master Gardener Program. Share the Facebook Live opportunity on your personal and local program pages and tune in to the UC Master Gardener Program Facebook Live broadcast! Let us know in the comments section what topics or questions you would like answered on Thursday or on future Facebook Live topics.

Find recording of LIVE events here: LIVE Series - UC Master Gardener Program (ucanr.edu)


Posted on Monday, November 13, 2023 at 9:20 AM
Tags: #SFE (0)
Focus Area Tags: Yard & Garden

Connecting, Learning, and Growing - A Conference to Remember

From Oct. 2-6, the Granlibakken Resort bustled as UC Master Gardener volunteers, program coordinators, academics, and staff gathered at the 2023 UC Master Gardener Conference in Lake Tahoe. A treasure trove of session topics, hands-on workshops, crafts and evening activities along with  tours, and dynamic speakers had been thoughtfully curated to fulfill attendees' requests. Meanwhile, the social media photo wall, Search for Excellence posters, and photo contest display transformed the Granlibakken Resort into a space of celebration where attendees mingled and networked with friends and colleagues from across the state.

The Granlibakken Resort in Tahoe was home to the triennial UC Master Gardener Conference. Photo by: Marcy Sousa

Welcome & Keynote Speakers

Missy Gable, Statewide Director, extended a warm welcome to all conference participants and encouraged them to embrace the chance to engage with the natural beauty and rich history of the Tahoe-Basin area, all while fostering connections and relationships with fellow attendees. The breathtaking Sierra Nevadas provided a majestic backdrop as JoLynn Miller, UC Cooperative Extension Director in Central Sierra, and Dan Macon, UC Cooperative Extension Director in Nevada and Placer Counties, greeted the gathering and celebrated the impact of UC Master Gardener volunteers.

Herman Fillmore

Herman Fillmore, the esteemed Culture and Language Resources Director of the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, played an integral role in welcoming us to Lake Tahoe. With a unique blend of cultural pride and linguistic expertise, Fillmore guided us through an immersive experience of the history of the region. He addressed us in the Wá?šiw language, a linguistic treasure that has been preserved through centuries of tradition, and thoughtfully rendered translations into English, ensuring that all those present could fully understand and appreciate his message. Fillmore's message went beyond words; it was a deep invitation to connect with the natural world around us. He encouraged us not just to appreciate the beauty of the landscape but to fully embrace it. He emphasized the importance of leaving no trace as we are all guests for a short time on this planet, reminding us of our responsibility to protect the earth for future generations. 

Herman Fillmore, the respected Director of Culture and Language Resources for the Washoe Tribe in Nevada and California. Photo by: Linda Lewis Griffith

Abra Lee

In her keynote address, Abra Lee took attendees on a journey back in time as she vividly portrayed the inspiring stories of pioneering women in horticulture. She told the history of Blanche Hurston who ran the first Black-owned florist shop in Jacksonville, Florida in the 1920's. Hurston grew many of her own flowers for her well sought after arrangements and also sourced plants from local woods and swamp lands. Lee also shared the tale of the formidable Mahalia Jackson, who ingeniously sold beautiful blooms and offered to sing at your funeral. The riveting chronicles of these invincible women, who not only carved a path for themselves but also paved the way for many others, continue to inspire generations of plant lovers today. Lee presented an opportunity to learn from the past, grow in the present, and inspire for the future.

Abra Lee: Storyteller, Author, and Director of Horticulture at Oakland Cemetery. Photo by: Marcy Sousa

Awards Banquet and the Search for Excellence Winners

After a captivating afternoon filled with inspirational guests and keynote speakers, attendees gathered for an awards banquet. Beneath the stars and patio heaters, the highly anticipated moment arrived to recognize and celebrate the exceptional Search for Excellence projects. The recipients of the Search for Excellence awards were individually honored and received special recognition from their respective State Senators for their remarkable achievements and impactful projects.

Search for Excellence first place winner, Riverside County received special recognition at the awards banquet. Photo by: Melissa Womack

Learn more about each of the winning projects here:

Search for Excellence Posters are Online

Here's some exciting news: The UC Master Gardener Search for Excellence posters are now available online. Participants printed and displayed their posters for the entirety of the conference but now they can viewed by all online. These posters are not just showcases of excellence; they are windows into the world of community-driven gardening initiatives, educational projects, and innovative solutions. To view the individual posters use this link https://ucdavis.box.com/s/2iritqsclrrqudqc6p17gbqpdmgeojwo


Search for Excellence posters educated attendees on UC Master Gardener projects around the state. Phot by: Marcy Sousa

Sessions, sessions, and more sessions!

With 25 break-out and intensive sessions and a keynote speaker, there was a wealth of knowledge and experience available to all who attended the triennial conference. Session presentations and handouts were made available online using this link: https://ucdavis.box.com/s/rd7d0onqthtixg576zo6dzhdnxnshuar. Don't forget to enter your continuing education hours into the Volunteer Management System, use the guide on the conference website to help https://na.eventscloud.com/website/58914/continuing-education/

Volunteers attended various sessions throughout the conference. Photo by: Marcy Sousa


Creativity was unlocked at the crafting hypertufa pot and magical fairy sticks workshops. Attendees got to take home their own unique imaginative creations. People were all smiles getting as they were led through their activities, a truly fun hands-on experience. Night activities included the highly anticipated bingo night, a movie showing of "The Biggest Little Farm" with snacks and beverages, and of course an evening under the stars on the patio with fire pits.

Photo Contest Winners 

The conference also had a photo gallery where attendees could view and vote on their favorite photo contest finalists. The UC Master Gardener Photo Contest's Gardeners Choice award went to Vincent McGrath of San Diego County, for his photo titled, “Looking for a snack.” Congratulations to all of the finalists and thank you to all who voted.

"Looking for a Snack" was the overall winner of the photo contes, congratulations to Vincent McGrath, UC Master Gardener volunteer in San Diego County. Photo by: Marcy Sousa

You can view all the photo contest winners here https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=57905

Thank you, we hope you join us in 2026!

Many thanks to the numerous volunteers, host counties and conference planning team members who made the 2023 conference a reality. Without their dedication and support the conference would not have been possible. We look forward to continuing the celebration of the program and the magic of its volunteers at the next UC Master Gardener Conference in 2026. 

Have a location suggestion for the 2026 conference? Let us know in the comments below! 

Do you have a suggestion for the next conference location, topics, activities, possible speakers? Let us know via this survey link https://surveys.ucanr.edu/survey.cfm?surveynumber=22144 

Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2023 at 12:35 PM
Tags: #2023UCMG #SFE (0)

Sacramento County: Video Learning Reaches Larger Audiences

In 2020 near California's state capital, UC Master Gardeners of Sacramento County awaited with excitement for its annual Harvest Day they organized each year. But the ongoing pandemic forced the cancellation of this much-anticipated event leaving the usual over 1500 attendees disappointed. Each year Harvest Day provided a colorful assortment of speakers, vendors, and food all in celebration of sustainable gardening. In the name of resilience, the UC Master Gardeners of Sacramento County charged a path of embracing change while cultivating accessibility to gardening help and the beloved tradition of Harvest Day. 

With grit and determination, the UC Master Gardeners transformed Harvest Day into “Virtual Harvest Day,” an online learning experience that overcame the barriers that Covid created. An incredible video learning experience took the place of the in-person festival. Instead of Harvest Day's typical speeches and demonstrations, UC Master Gardeners created over 20 captivating videos debuting on its newly established YouTube channel.

UC Master Gardeners of Sacramento County video team film a video on pruning techniques for fruit trees in their demonstration garden's orchard.

“Virtual Harvest Day” was an extraordinary success attracting an audience of 4,389 viewers, nearly three times the normal average number of in-person attendees. This victory inspired the program to continue providing gardening support through online webinars and recorded videos. This innovative approach eliminated the many obstacles of the pandemic and welcomed gardeners from around the world. Now, plant lovers, garden enthusiasts and gardening beginners from all walks of life can access UC Master Gardener help.


Since the launch of the YouTube Channel, subscriber counts have skyrocketed to about 22,800 with an astounding increase of +4,500 since April and more than 200 views daily. The comments section showcases gratitude for the helpful content with comments like, “Very informative and helpful video! Thank you” and “I have learned mistakes made previously in my garden. Well done!!!”

The green thumb classroom enriched the lives of the UC Master Gardeners of Sacramento County themselves. Through the video creation process, UC Master Gardeners were able to dive deep into research, writing, and production allowing their gardening knowledge and ability to educate to blossom.

The video production team works hard to produce simple and clear videos, that are engaging and relevant to its viewers.

Hard at work, the video team reviews the video objectives before filming a video with tips on composting.

UC Master Gardener of Sacramento County's video project serves as an inspiration across the state and has inspired other programs to create accessible video content. The setbacks of the Covid pandemic demonstrated the UC Master Gardeners of Sacramento County's resilience and dedication to giving back to their community. Volunteers turned a pandemic cancellation into an educational experience that transcends the limitations of time and location and creates an online community space centered around gardening. The program's YouTube channel has opened the doors of gardening education to people who never had access before. Congratulations to UC Master Gardeners of Sacramento County for their dedication and perseverance that won them third place in the Search for Excellence awards competition!


Posted on Monday, August 14, 2023 at 10:49 AM
Focus Area Tags: Yard & Garden

Award-Winning Excellence, Community, and Empowerment in El Dorado County

In the rolling foothills of El Dorado County, Calif., a beautiful community garden thrives. Not just an ordinary garden plot, but a community space that cultivates life skills, self-confidence, and weaves a vibrant tapestry of community. The architects of this garden are the UC Master Gardeners of El Dorado County and their partners CalFresh Healthy Living, UCCE (CFHL, UCCE) and the Mother Lode Rehabilitation Enterprises (MORE), a non-profit supporting adults with disabilities. Together, they've crafted a pathway to equal opportunities, inclusivity, and engaging experiences for the clients at MORE.

Recently, the team's extraordinary efforts were recognized statewide in the UC Master Gardener Program's Search for Excellence awards for their commitment to expanding the program's reach to a typically underserved audience. “I was moved after reading the El Dorado MORE volunteer project that focuses on teaching adults with disabilities about gardening and growing food. UC Master Gardeners' dedication to creating an inclusive and empowering environment where individuals of all abilities can learn and flourish is inspiring,” commented a Search for Excellence committee member.

Transitioning from childhood to adulthood can be challenging for many people with disabilities. The path to continued learning and independence often becomes foggy and winding. It's a journey that calls for customized support, guidance, and resources. At the heart of MORE's fully inclusive program is a commitment to improving the quality of lives and making dreams come true for the people they serve.

The Sherwood Demonstration Garden is a space where MORE clientele can explore nature, learn gardening skills, and enjoy its beauty. Photo credit, Summer Brasuel

In late 2018, a seed of collaboration was planted as MORE, the UC Master Gardener Program and CFHL, UCCE initiated a partnership built on shared goals—cultivating an enriched life for adults with disabilities. The blossoming garden-based lessons led by UC Master Gardener volunteers perfectly intertwined with CFHL, UCCE's nutritional education and MORE's education and MORE's mission.

In 2020 and 2021, despite the many challenges of COVID-19 UC Master Gardeners continued to provide harvested fruits and vegetables and deliver projects to MORE, even when in-person meetings were on hold. Following the pandemic shutdown, the partnership thrived anew in 2022, breathing new life into their mission with revised plans, fresh goals, and an updated curriculum. The renewed goals of the collaboration were as multi-layered as a well-tended compost heap: providing practical garden and nutritional instruction, introducing sustainable practices, promoting healthy food choices, and fostering skills leading to increased independence.

Diane Hernandez, UC Master Gardener of El Dorado County presenting gardening lessons on the parts of a plant at MORE. Photo credit: Tracy Celio

UC ANR's “Teams with Intergenerational Support” or TWIGS program for gardening and healthy eating curriculum, complemented by CFHL, UCCE's "Harvest of the Month" curriculum, was a perfect fit. This hands-on, research-based approach provided the ideal way for MORE clients to delve into the fascinating realms of botany and nutrition. Traditional methods of assessment often miss the mark when catering to adults with various abilities. Hence, the team innovated, embedding assessments within instruction, using interactive and engaging tools like stickers, thumbs-up/down gestures, and verbal responses. This fluid, dynamic approach ensures each participant can connect with the concepts and apply them to their daily lives.

One rewarding highlight includes clients adopting fruit trees at the Sherwood Demonstration Garden orchard, learning about seasonal changes, and assisting with pest management. This sense of ownership and responsibility is a profound result of the program's influence. Clients are actively involved in the food cycle—harvesting crops, preparing healthy meals, and understanding the nutritional value of what they eat.

In a world often focused on individual achievement, the story of the UC Master Gardeners of El Dorado County,  CalFresh Healthy Living, UCCE, and Mother Lode Rehabilitation Enterprises serves as a reminder of the transformative power of community and collaboration. As their clients and garden continue to flourish, we are reminded that the journey to excellence is best undertaken together. This is a celebration of their award-winning work, a testament to the importance of community, and a heartwarming reminder of how we can all grow together!

At MORE campus garden, Charlene holds up a fava bean root to show nitrogen nodules on cover crop. Participants get to help with everything from planting and harvesting to eating the food grown. Photo credit: Tracy Celio
Posted on Monday, August 14, 2023 at 7:37 AM
Tags: El Dorado (2), gardening (22), Search for Excellence (9), SFE (7)
Focus Area Tags: Food, Yard & Garden

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