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Teaching Success - Speakers Bureau 2021

Updated: Jan 7, 2022

The Speakers Bureau had it's most successful year ever in 2021

– January 2021

Community Engagement

We hosted over 160 classes and reached over 3,200 residents from Ramsey County, wider MN, and US nationally through our online class format in 2021. (To compare, in 2020 we offered 103 classes and reached 2,000 residents.) These events were promoted on the RCMG website and through our Facebook page.

  • Over 40% of residents were attending an RCMG class for the first time

  • 8% came from a diverse race or gender identity.

  • Satisfaction with the classes remains at 96%. This number is a combination of participant feedback: confirmed increase of knowledge, plan to implement change with information, and recommending the class to others.

Volunteer Participation

Over 90 RCMG volunteers participated in the Speakers Bureau in 2021, compared to 60 in 2020.

A new role – Shadow – was added to all MG volunteers to experience teaching an online class without requiring presentation knowledge or technical skills. This was used mostly by interns.

Several volunteers led teaching efforts in 2021. Amazing work, everyone!

  • Lead Presenters

    • Sharon O'Connor taught 42 classes

    • Lesley Perg taught 27 classes

    • Emily Flagstad taught 14 classes

  • Aides

    • Jenny Krol & Donna Hall each assisted with 20 classes

    • Brenda Anderson-Moser assisted with 14 classes

    • Ellen Tveit assisted with 12 classes

New Classes

The Speakers Bureau added four (4) new adult education classes in 2021. You can find the new materials – presentation, study guide and handouts – on the RCMG website HERE.

  • Climate Resilient Garden: covers local impact of climate change and recommended garden changes

  • All About Seeds: teaches seed starting, seed collecting, and seed storage

  • Spring Into Summer: provides seasonal garden instructions for Mar-Aug

  • Fall Into Winter: provides seasonal garden instructions for Sept-Feb

Introduction to Vegetable Gardening remains the most requested class, making up 18 (11%) of all classes, though Home Composting , Planting for Pollinators, and Fall into Winter were also popular with 15, 13 and 14 classes respectively.

Community Partners

Most of our classes are scheduled with Community Education Programs (Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, WBL Township), the Ramsey County Library system, and St Paul Parks & Rec.

We began teaching for 4 new public organizations (Great River Greening, Bell Museum Gallery Programs, St Paul Parks & Rec—Linwood/Palace/El Rio Vista, and Little Canada Parks & Rec) and 12 new private organizations (MAPE -Minnesota Association of Professional Employee, Golden Valley Garden Club, St Timothy Lutheran Church St Paul, Lutheran Social Service of MN, Union Park District Council, Summit Hill Community Council, Falcon Heights Community Council, Pine Ridge Garden Club, Linwood Senior Community, The Transition Network, Lyngblomsten 2nd Half, NENA-Nokomis East Neighborhood Association)

Thank You!

I've had the chance to reflect on how the Speakers Bureau has grown since I became project coordinator back in 2018. I don't know that I would have imagined the kind of success we see today when I started. This project would not be possible without all of the volunteers involved in teaching and assisting with the classes and I would name everyone except the list would be incredibly long at this point! THANK YOU! I hope you continue to stay with the Speakers Bureau and help get good garden information out into our communities.

About the Speakers Bureau

The RCMG Speakers Bureau, which focuses on formal adult classroom events, is one of the strongest Master Gardener adult education programs in the state. We teach on 17 different topics, with prepared and reviewed materials available for volunteers to use. Our teaching program is being held up as the Gold-Star example for other counties in MN.

RCMG classes from the Speakers Bureau act as a small fund raiser for our program and has raised over $1000 that can then be used to support other projects.

The Speakers Bureau moved to teaching online in mid-2020 and we've seen a 35% increase to average class size since making the transition. Volunteers teach as a team, with 1-2 people teaching the materials and 1-2 people helping with the Zoom tools like Chat and Polls. This makes volunteering with the Speakers Bureau less intimidating and more approachable.

Brianna Gohde

Speakers Bureau Project Coordinator



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