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September 2022 Monthly Meeting Recap

The September 2022 meeting included information about RCMG Leadership, Healing Gardens, Compost Sites, and Urban Trees dealing with climate change.


The September 20 monthly meeting was held in-person and online via Zoom. RCMG purchased a new computer to help with monthly meetings and there were some issues using it during the meeting. Please note that the meeting had audio difficulties for the first 17 minutes.


Many thanks to the RCMG volunteers involved with the September Meeting:

  • Education Committee: Sue Ellen Campbell & Jane Carlstrom

  • Project Leaders: Susan Mitchell & Martha Lantz (Healing Gardens) and Liz O'Toole (Compost Sites)

  • Journalist: Mindy Johnson

  • Set-up: Colleen Bell & Carla Olson

  • Greeters: Sharon Hardy & Molly O'Rourke

  • Zoom Aide: Britta Greene

  • In-Person Aides: Diana Rankin & Pat Gannon

  • Clean-up: Sharon Hardy & Colleen Bell

  • Tomato Tasting Team: Barbara Porwit, Gene Ranieri & Kristine Balsiger-Ranieri

6-6:30 pm Volunteer Training – RCMG Leadership Roles

Leaders bring expertise and passion to a program, drive innovation, and create new projects. They connect with new communities and audiences and build relationships. Leadership Roles include County Program Coordinator, Assistant Coordinator, Board of Directors, Committee Chair and Co-Chair, Project Lead, Event Lead, Mentors

  • PROGRAM COORDINATOR: Darren Lochner is Program Coordinator. He is paid staff who supports volunteers, works with local leaders, and fulfills obligations to County leadership. Brianna Gohde is Assistant Coordinator. She supports Program Coordinator and local leaders and assists volunteers. Brianna does the Newsletter, and behind-the-scenes tech support.

  • BOARD OF DIRECTORS: (Chair, Co-Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer) Any Master Gardener can be a Board member. They work with committees, attend monthly meetings, and manage finances. They also interpret guidelines as needed. Oversees local policy and program needs, oversees committees. The next election is Nov 22. RCMG is a 501c3 Non-profit and is the only MG program in MN to do so.

  • COMMITTEE CHAIR & CO-CHAIRS: (Education, New Member, Communications, and Plant Sale are currently active committees.) They get internal work done. (Example: Plant Sale committee.) Attend board meetings, and provide annual report, determine succession plan

  • PROJECT LEAD: Work with Program Coordinator. Ensure project alignment, create sign-ups, recruit volunteers, submit annual report and budget. Assure that the project aligns with organization values. Main contact for the project. Communicate with partners.

  • EVENT LEAD: Lead set-up and tear-down, guide volunteers, collect and return handout materials.

  • MENTOR: Support interns, provide advice and encouragement. Attend RCMG monthly meetings, 1 year term year-round position. 15-30 hours

  • STATE ADVISORY BOARD: Understand RCMG & state policies/ procedures. Organizes regional educational gatherings. They are Master Gardeners nominated by their peers. 15-30 hours, active year round, 3-year term.

If you would like to be an Event Leader or Project Leader, year round sign-up is available. RCMG volunteers can apply to be a Board Member, Committee Chair, and mentor in October. You can apply to the State Advisory Board in December.

Training and resources are available to volunteers interested in participating as a volunteer leader. You can find many on the Train-the-Trainer links under the Continuing Education menu on the RCMG website.

  • Project Leadership

  • Creating Events in SignUpGenius

  • Designing New Projects

  • Mentor Training

If volunteers are interested in pursing more ways to get involved with RCMG, they can look at the new Continuum of Volunteering pdf. (below)

Continuum of Volunteering
Download PDF • 158KB

6:30-6:45 pm: Project Updates

Healing Gardens

Susan Mitchell and Martha Lantz speak about the Healing Gardens project. After several years of development, phase 1 was launched on August 10 at the Muriel Sahlin Arboretum. There were stickers, a survey and signage designed by the Marketing Communications Team to promote and educate the public about the healing gardens. Martha gave a brief overview of the neuroscience behind a healing garden and the power of nature. The idea is to expand healing gardens to other park spaces.

Phase 2 is to create new partnerships. September 27 Martha will lead a guided tour of the healing gardens at the Muriel Sahlin Arboretum. The tour will be posted on SignUpGenius. Contact Martha ( or Susan( with questions regarding the healing gardens.

Youth Projects

Ed Shinbach speaks about Youth Projects. The Tulip Test Garden Project, Pollinator Planting with RWMWD, Hayden Heights Library After School Program, and Arts Us are still in need of volunteers. Shifts available on SignUpGenius. School projects are year-round volunteering opportunities.

Yard Waste Sites

Liz O’Toole speaks about volunteer opportunities at the yard waste sites. Volunteers approach people with handouts and bookmarks and ask people if they have any gardening questions. Check SignUpGenius for available shifts.

Darren Lochner's Coordinator Updates (6:45pm-7pm)

Darren talked about the need for filling the yard waste shifts until mid-October. He also mentions the award winning tomatoes that were provided at the in-person meeting this evening.

Guest Lecture – Future Climate and Tree Species for the Twin Cities Metro Area by Lee E. Frelich (7-8pm)

Lee’s talk covers change in summer (June, July, August) temperature, biomes of Minnesota, boreal interactions with temperate forests, and growth measurements.

He also discusses the effects of precipitation on the trees and high or low C02 emission scenarios. He presents a slide of climate tracks for the Twin Cities by 2070. He states that eventually we will get ash borer resistant trees. He speaks of potential neo-native trees in the Twin Cities area and that not all species will get here via natural migration processes. He talks about drought resistant trees in the area and the effects of landform on vegetation in southeastern MN.

He also speaks of the Green Again Madagascar Project, whose goal is to restore the rainforest in Madagascar.

Questions asked during the Guest Lecture

  • How do you know dying oak trees are caused by climate change?

  • Are we in Zone 5 or are we Zone 4 in the Twin Cities?

  • Are you willing to comment on jumping worms?

  • In the fall months, considering how dry it’s been, how would you water trees?

  • What are the chances of a Bur Oak surviving an insect infestation? What recommendations do you have?

  • Do your scenarios for 2070 take into account the water shortages in the Colorado River, etc.? Could the scenarios be worse if conditions south of us aren't revolved?

  • So the red and sugar maples are moving farther north, I assume? Since they preferentially replace the balsam fir.

  • How much are we banking on storing carbon in forests… to mitigate climate change?

8-8:30 p.m. RCMG News from the Board of Directors leaders

Darren stated that RCMG volunteers and interns need to complete the Skills and Interest survey that was emailed to everyone. Be sure to record your hours. There will be an email reminder sent out this week. RCMG applications are still accepted until October 1.

New garden tours will begin in 2023, Now is the time to start planning for the 2023 plant sale. see October Newsletter for more information.

Jennifer Porwitt said there are forms for people attending the RCMG monthly meeting in-person to fill out and sample tomatoes, choose their favorites and the most popular varieties may be posted in the October newsletter.

A Gibbs Farm video from the August 2022 meeting is shown, followed by a Barn Garden video, which you can find on the Featured Projects page of the RCMG website.

Recap provided by Mindy Johnson


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