2017 Workshop 1st Place – 10-Minute University, Clackamas County, OR

A Shortcut to Gardening Know-How: 10-Minute University™, Clackamas County, Oregon

Introduction

10-Minute University™ offers a shortcut to research-based gardening know-how. During 2015 & 2016, 10-Minute University speakers taught one hundred and fourteen classes serving 3,883 clients with 5,370 educational contacts. Classes and handouts are offered free to all persons.

A Shortcut to Gardening Know-How: 10-Minute University™, Clackamas County, Oregon

Clackamas County Master Gardeners began 10-Minute University™ as short classes for busy shoppers at their popular Spring Garden Fair. In 2006, they tested the idea by offering 10 classes, each lasting only 10 minutes. Client evaluations immediately showed that the audience liked every aspect of these classes except their duration. Today, the average class lasts 25 minutes.

Every class is evaluated in writing to assess the overall class, content, presenter, and likelihood of using what was learned. Clients participate on a voluntary basis. Results are tallied, shared, and tracked over time for action.

Program Design

A strong evaluation system is just one core tenet. The other two are highly-skilled MG instructors and well-crafted take-home handouts.

Instructors are active Master Gardeners who excel in public speaking and horticultural knowledge. All are committed to research-based information.

A Shortcut to Gardening Know-How: 10-Minute University™, Clackamas County, Oregon

A two-sided, one-sheet handout accompanies each class. Its development begins with a review of extension literature and ends with review comments from Extension agents, with many drafts and revisions in between. MG volunteers do the research, drafting, revisions, editing, and publishing.

Currently there are forty-three handouts posted at www.cmastergardeners.org

SFE A Shortcut to Gardening Know-How: 10-Minute University™, Clackamas County, Oregon

Venues

10-Minute University classes are featured at two Clackamas County Master Gardeners annual educational events. In March, Garden Discovery Day helps jumpstart the gardening season. In October, Fall into Gardening shows how to put a garden ‘to bed’.

Classes continue to be part of the Spring Garden Fair in May, the MG Speakers’ Bureau year-round, and are offered at the Oregon City Farmers Market during the summer.

Outcome

A. Written Survey (upon completion of class)

Evaluations show the vast majority of clients find 10-Minute University classes an effective way to learn. During 2015 and 2016, every class was evaluated in writing by clients. The graph below shows the results.

88% of clients surveyed strongly agreed with the statement “I will use what I learned today.”

B. Longitudinal Survey (3 months after class)

Two themes emerged from their responses to the question “Have you used anything learned from those classes? If yes, would you share some specifics?”

First, clients used what they learned.

  • “I successfully deterred slugs from my new plants, planted some beautiful potted containers, and reseeded my entire lawn. I also amended my soil this year with compost.”
  • “The class on pollinators was wonderful! I started a new garden just for bees and butterflies.”

Second, clients gained confidence in gardening.

  • “My husband and I planted our first vegetable garden using the information given to us by this series of classes. It gave us our confidence to do things correctly, instead of trial and error.”
  • “Yes! You guys are my source to current gardening practices and how-to. Without you I would not have the confidence I have today.”

2017 Workshop 2nd Place – KCEMG Speakers’ Bureau, Knox County, TN

Prior to 2013, the Speakers Bureau made presentations in response to specific requests from a garden club or civic group. That all changed in 2013 when a librarian at one branch of the Knox County Library System approached the Speakers Bureau with a request for monthly talks on organic vegetable growing. She had observed that many adult branch patrons were checking out organic vegetable gardening books. Planning began for a series of presentations in cooperation with the Knox County libraries.

The organic vegetable series began in April of 2013, with monthly talks through November. Attendance confirmed the librarian’s observation about the local interest. We began planning seasonally appropriate talks and “pushing” them to the public, rather than waiting for a request.

In 2014, we scheduled seasonally appropriate talks for January through October, on both vegetable and ornamental topics. By April, attendance at the vegetable series was regularly exceeding the library meeting room capacity (25) and we had to change locations. We moved to the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden, where hands-on activities could be implemented.   One YMCA, with 12 raised vegetable beds, asked that the monthly presentations be repeated at their site. Presentations on ornamentals were given at another local library and several local garden clubs and civic organizations.

Also in 2014, feedback forms were implemented. On the front, the audience assesses the presenter(s) as well as the content. On the back, there is a list of possible topics for future talks, and attendees are asked to mark the topics of interest. We also started to use a sign-in sheet, so that we could track attendance and collect email addresses from those who wanted to receive notices of upcoming events.

In 2015, the organic vegetable series (January through October) added two more venues for presentations, as did the herb and ornamental series.

In 2016, we stopped scheduling separate vegetable and ornamental talks as separate series and simply decided to do talks that were seasonally appropriate for either vegetable or ornamental gardening activities. Each month usually has a vegetable topic and an ornamental topic. (Some topics, like composting, apply to both vegetable and ornamentals.)

There was a lot of interest in pruning, so 2016 had a “Pruning 101: Rules & Tools” early in the season. Later on there was a “Pruning Hydrangea” talk as well as a “How to Prune Foundation Shrubs”. And for the first time, we did a “Fall Lawn Repair”, for which the attendance totaled 47 people.

In 2016, we did a total of 80 public talks, with a total attendance of just over 1750 people.

In 2017, because of the blazingly hot 2016 summer, followed by a fall drought, we added a “Spring Lawn Repair”. This talk had to be given twice. Next, because of a high interest in blueberries, we added “ABC’s of Blueberries”.

All of this supports one of our basic goals: to be aware of where the community interests are, and to develop new talks to address those interests. People come to our talks to learn something, and our evaluation/feedback form lets us know if we hit the mark.

 

NOTE: The photos submitted separately show that we present in a wide variety of venues. We often use PowerPoint, but as the photos also show, we often use a lot of props, like the photo of Marsha Lehman with the model raised beds. Finally, the Knox County Library system makes lovely color posters to publicize the talks held at their locations.

2017 Workshop 3rd Place (tie) – Beginner and Newcomer Gardening Series, Hamilton County, TN

Chattanooga may have twice been voted Outside’s “Best Town Ever,” but its primarily clay soil and often unpredictable Southeastern weather can be a challenge for new gardeners as well as experienced gardeners who are new to the area.

Master Gardeners of Hamilton County hosts a series of classes on soils, fertilization, turf care, wildlife, trees and shrubs, landscape design, herbs, perennials, annuals, and wildflowers specifically tailored to the Tennessee

Valley. Since the series is about local gardening, a number of local nurseries and gardening suppliers also participate. “We felt the newcomers should become familiar with the local green industry, not just the big box stores,” said Mike Payne, who has led the beginner and newcomer class for the past 22 years. Many Southeast Tennessee retailers shared information and donated materials and door prizes.

Hamilton County Master Gardeners’ motto is “We teach you how.” In addition to teaching these new gardeners and newcomers to the region, the series opens the door for community-wide education through coverage on local television and radio stations as well as newspaper articles.

Since 1995, an average of 50 people have participated in the annual newcomer series, and anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of each year’s participants go on to take the Master Gardener training classes. Master Gardeners have volunteered more than 450 service hours to the series over the past two years, which provides them with opportunities to develop their teaching skills, learn new gardening techniques, and extend the resources of the University of Tennessee to the public.