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Coordinator Corner – November 2023

Updated: Nov 22, 2023


Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. — Marcel Proust

Message from the Coordinator

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday it is another opportunity to think about and share what we are thankful for. In my conversations with colleagues, friends and family I have been known to mention the Master Gardener program and how thankful I am for the dedicated, passionate, innovative and great group of Master Gardener volunteers I have an opportunity to work with in Ramsey County. Thank you again for all of your hard work this past year.

Following quickly on the heels of Thanksgiving are those shopping pseudo-holidays: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We want to tell you about Giving Tuesday. It's a hyper-local charitable effort to improve our communities. This year, RCMG is testing it out and asking our volunteers, if they are interested and able, to contribute to a special fund that supports financial assistance for fellow volunteers. We value your contributions. Please refer to the Giving Tuesday message below for more details..


Materials Collections

We want to collect all of the RCMG equipment to conduct an inventory, update materials, and replace anything that is wearing out.

If you have any handouts, bookmarks, tote boxes, props, displays, signs, tables, awnings, or anything else, please bring it to the Diagnostic Clinic between now and December 15.


Be a Mentor

We finished interviewing our newest RCMG volunteers on Nov 11 and there are some GREAT folks in the mix. We can't wait for you to meet them!

They will need YOUR HELP to have a successful first year. We are expecting 63 interns for 2024 and we need current volunteers to step up to mentor them. This is a well-run volunteer activity with a lot of support and resources like the One-On-One Mentoring Guidelines for 2024 and the Mentoring Checklist.

Mentors (and their interns) are also grouped geographically into Mentor Teams, which is a great way to collaborate with others and build relationships with RCMG volunteers in your neighborhoods.

Please consider being a 2024 Mentor! Visit SignUp Genius to join that group. Please sign-up before Nov 25.

Contact Judie Ginter and Karen Randall with any questions.


Giving Tuesday is November 28

There are more Master Gardener volunteers in Ramsey County than ever before. There are also more incredible opportunities for volunteers to learn than ever before!

  • Core Course (for interns; free for returning MGs)

  • State-sponsored Toolkits & Online Courses (Climate-Ready Gardens, Food Preservation Consultant, Invasive Species Course, Nature Heals)

  • Specialized Master Gardener Training (Apple Pruning Workshop and Apple Module, Children's Garden in Residence Workshop, Junior Master Gardener Training, Schoolyard Gardens Conference,)

  • Master Gardener Conferences (Regional, State, and National Conferences)

We want to make sure that all volunteers can access to the many great educational opportunities and are creating a scholarship fund specifically to help with this. Help us increase the availability and accessibility of the great learning opportunities available to all RCMG volunteers!

If you are able, consider making a donation online this year.


Background Checks

Reminder! Every 3 years, Extension volunteers – like Master Gardener volunteers – must resubmit a background check and update their safety of minor training. If they lapse, you won’t be able to log in to enter your hours and are functionally "removed" from the volunteer program.

If you joined RCMG in 2020, 2017, 2014, 2011, 2008, 2005, 2002, 1999, 1996, 1993, 1990 or 1987you MUST update your Background Check and Safety of Minors training before the end of the year.

If you are not sure if this affects you, contact Brianna or Darren ASAP.


20% of Volunteers Have 0 Hours Entered

At the start of the November, we saw that 20% of the volunteers in RCMG haven't started entering their hours for 2023. YIKES!

As a reminder, all volunteers are expected to record hours in the State database according to their volunteer status (intern, active, emeritus, etc). On January 1, the database for 2023 is frozen and no more hours for that year can be counted. Volunteers who failed to entered the minimum number of hour are flagged with a warning; volunteers who failed to enter their hours 2 years in a row are removed from the program.

This feature was disabled in 2020, 2021, and 2022 because of the pandemic but they are ACTIVE this year and there will be consequences for those volunteers who miss the window to enter their hours.

Don't let it happen to you!

Finding Additional Hours

The activity season is winding down. There are fewer things for RCMG volunteers to do. We'll do what we can to find a few things to help carry you over the line but we can't help if we don't know.

  • If you need a few additional volunteer hours or want to know if something you did earlier in the year can be counted as Volunteer Service towards your Volunteer Service requirements, let us know ASAP!

  • If you have questions about whether something counts as Continuing Education for your Master Gardener requirements, ask us!

Contact Darren or Brianna as soon as you know and we'll work on figuring out a plan.


Darren Lochner

RCMG Program Coordinator

Brianna Gohde

RCMG Assistant Program Coordinator


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