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Board Blurb: November 2023


Summary for the November RCMG Board of Directors Meeting

The RCMG Board Meeting was held on November 14, 2023 on Zoom. The next Board Meeting is scheduled for January 9, 2024. Board meetings are open to all volunteers.

Sandy welcomed Kay Wimer (2024 Vice-Chair) and Tiffa Foster (2024 New Member Co-Chair) to the meeting.


Committee Updates

Education Committee Update

Be sure to attend next week’s member meeting (in person or online) where RCMG’s will share their personal gardening “highs and lows!” A reminder that there is no meeting in December.

The committee has secured a speaker for the January meeting (Zoom only). Dr. Mitch Hunter, Associate Director of the Forever Green Initiative and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Agronomy will address our organization. The Forever Green Initiative is focused on developing new crops to ensure agricultural production and strengthen economies while protecting water and other natural resources.

New Member Committee Update

Judie reported that we expect about 60 interns joining our program in 2024. Interviews are completed and background checks are underway. We need more mentors (Zoom orientation scheduled for December 19th) so please consider sharing your time and experience with our new Master Gardener class!

Communications Committee Update

Give to the Max Day 2023

A reminder that Give to the Max / Give MN is underway! A generous donor has offered to match up to $500 in donations. Monies received will support financial assistance for interns.

Canva Account

Canva, an online graphic design platform that is used extensively by the Marketing and Communications Committee, has announced plans to significantly raise user fees. Stacy is working to convince them that we are a non-profit organization with the hopes that we’ll soon be provided with a free account.


Leadership Updates

Secretary Update

The October Board Minutes were approved.

Treasurer Update

Kathy presented the October Treasurer’s Reports (Transaction Report, Bank Statement and Fidelity account) which were approved. Items of note:

  • We’ve earned over $400 in interest since moving some of our funds to a high yield savings account.

  • Our Fidelity account is trending upward due to recent improvements in the stock market.

A discussion ensued about whether we should consider opening a Venmo account to accept donations and/or payment at events, particularly the Plant Sale. The Board will revisit this option after discussing with those who might benefit from using this method of payment.

Program Coordinator Update

Plans are underway for an Awards Meeting / Ceremony to be held at the Bell Museum, tentatively scheduled for a weeknight evening in February or March. Darren is also working on Phase I of the annual report to the State, which details stories of our experiences during the past year.

Chair and Vice-Chair Report

2023 Election Results

Julie reported the results of our election, which will also be shared at the November member meeting.

  • 138 members submitted a vote (quorum was 86 members)

  • Updated Bylaws = approved

  • 2024-25 Board Directors = all approved

Sandy thanked the current board members for their service to the organization. She will hand over the reigns to Julie at the December 2nd transition meeting. Thank you Sandy for your excellent leadership this past year!


Old Business

Board Retreat

Julie is working with Karen on the December 2nd Board Retreat and Transition meeting.

Karen presented a Power Point with details of the Board Retreat and Transition Meeting which she will facilitate on December 2nd at the Ramsey Washington Metro Watershed District headquarters.

New Business

Scholarship Funding

Our budget for 2023 included $1500 in scholarship assistance for interns taking the Core Course. Darren reported that should the need exceed this amount in 2024 we will access monies held in our name at the University of MN Foundation—RCMG Funds, currently in the amount of $3022. The State expects counties to cover the cost of the program for any applicants who request assistance so that no one is turned away due to financial need. The Board agreed to this proposal with the concern that should we experience greater needs in the future, a discussion will take place with the State. We don’t want to jeopardize the many programs we currently support.


2023 Board Leadership: Sandy McDonald (Chair), Julie Bechtold (Vice-Chair), Gretchen Hesli (Secretary), Kathy Passe, (Treasurer), Jane Carlstrom (Education Chair), Simba Blood (Education Co-Chair), Judi Ginter (Membership Chair), Karen Randall (Membership Co-Chair), Stacy Sola (Communication Chair), Nanette Boudreau (Communication Co-Chair), Darren Lochner (Program Coordinator).


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