2011 Search for Excellence Innovative Project Winners- 3rd Place Tie

Two projects: Emerald Ash Borer Awareness/Management by Greene County Ohio Master Gardeners and Grow It! Eat It! Summer Camps by Anne Arundel County Maryland Master Gardeners tie for third place in the Innovative project category at the International Master Gardener Conference.

Emerald Ash Borer – Greene County Ohio Master Gardeners

Ohio’s Greene County Master Gardeners were awarded the Search for Excellence Award, 3rd place, at the International Master Gardeners Conference for their Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Program.  In their thorough approach, the Master Gardeners worked with local government to not only raise general awareness but to manage the impact of the EAB.

Master Gardeners check a city tree for signs of EAB damage.

Seminars and meetings reach 1000+

Under the leadership of Thais Reiff, Xenia, Ohio, the group hosted three major seminars and 40 group meetings, reaching over a thousand government officials, landscape professionals, and private citizens.  To emphasize the need for EAB training and provide all Ohio Master Gardeners information, they developed, aired, and archived nine EAB and tree related training programs over the internet.  This innovative program delivery provided the impetus for the creation of the Ohio State University sponsored “EAB University.”  For more information, visit: www.emeraldashborer.info.

EAB Tree Inventory of ~25,141 Green County Specimens

Lead by retired engineer, Steve Mehaffie, Beavercreek, Ohio, the Master Gardeners and volunteers inventoried every city-maintained tree in Greene County, totaling approximately 25,141 specimens.  To achieve this amazing feat, Steve provided a thorough document, “Guide to the Beavercreek Tree Inventory”.  Also, he shared his tree inventory techniques in 90-minute presentation on “How to Do a City Tree Inventory” for organizers. The goal was to allow local governments to better manage their urban forests in light of the EAB infestation.  Both presentations are available to all Master Gardeners throughout Ohio and beyond at: www.greene.osu.edu/topics/master-gardener-volunteer-program/links-1.

For more information, visit www.greene.osu.edu.

Written by Susan Richardson, Greene County Ohio Master Gardener


Grow It! Eat It! Summer Camps – Anne Arundel County Maryland Master Gardeners

Anne Arundel County, Maryland Master Gardeners also received a third place award for their project with youth- Grow It! Eat It! Summer Camps.

Children enjoy getting their hands dirty while learning about soils and nutrition at Grow It Eat It Summer Camp.

Basic Food Gardening Lesson for Youth in Summer Camps

In partnership with the Anne Arundel County Recreation and Park, Annapolis City Recreation and Parks, and the Family and Consumer Sciences at University of Maryland the MG established a lesson on basic food gardening for underserved youth between ages six and twelve who were attending Recreation and Parks summer camps.

Lessons included Soil and Nutrition, Seeds, Plant Parts, Whole Grains, and Colors. Over 760 children attended the camps where they learned basic gardening principles and were given the tools to make healthier choices at home. The Master Gardeners were also asked to return to work with children ages four and five to introduce basic gardening concepts.

For more information visit the website at http://annearundel.umd.edu/MGFiles/GrowIt.cfm

posted by Monica David, IMGC Vice President

2011 Search for Excellence Innovative Project Winners -1st place

The Emerald Ash Borer/Ash Tree Inventory project by the Boone County Illinois Master Gardeners was awarded first place in the Innovative Projects Category at the International Master Gardener conference. Barbara Wych, chairperson for this project tells us about this award winning effort:

Boone County Master Gardeners show the results of mapping ash tree locations in one township which was surveyed.

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) First Found in Michigan

In the summer of 2002, a ½” long bright metallic beetle native to areas of Asia, was first discovered in the United States near Detroit, Michigan.  This insect is the Emerald Ash Borer and as its name implies, it only uses ash trees during its life cycle.  Tree damage occurs as the larvae or borer feeds on the inner bark, effectively disrupting the movement of water and nutrients and ultimately killing the tree.  If the Emerald Ash Borer is not contained and eradicated the impact of this borer on ash trees in North America will be similar to that of chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease.

EAB discovered in Illinois in 2006

Four years later, in 2006, the insect was discovered in Illinois.  Since Boone County is near this Illinois site, in 2009, the Boone County Master Gardeners took the opportunity to be proactive in the community.  We formed a partnership with the city and county governments, Illinois Department of Ag., the parks and conservation districts, Extension educators and staff.

Ash tree inventory helps community understand EAB impacts, make informed decisions

As part of the partnership, the Boone County Master Gardeners conducted an ash tree inventory by recording the GPS coordinates, measuring tree diameters and assessing the health of all ash trees on all county, township and city right of ways.  This information was entered into the county’s Geographic Information System (GIS) which plotted color coded locations of all the ash trees; green for healthy, yellow for declining and red for dead.  The Emerald Ash Borer/ Ash Tree Inventory project was conducted with two goals that were successfully met; to

1) provide the county with accurate ash tree impact data for resource planning and budgeting, and

2) to educate the community on Emerald Ash Borer facts to enable them to make informed decisions.

County Ash Tree Inventory saves $10,000

Master Gardener Barb Wych teaches homeowners about the Emerald Ash Borer.

In the process, the Master Gardeners inventoried nearly 3200 ash trees with almost 500 volunteer hours.  The inventory process was a cost savings of over $10,000 to the county but beyond that showed the value of Master Gardeners as a significant part of the community.

For more information about the University of Illinois Boone County Master Gardeners, visit: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/bdo/boonemg/

Written by Barbara Wych, University of Illinois Extension Boone County Master Gardener
Posted by Monica David, IMGC Vice-President

EAB Monitoring and Management Online Course

A few weeks ago, we learned about EAB University hosting live and recorded webinars available to Extension Master Gardeners and the public so they can stay current with Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and other invasive forest pests. Now we have learned of an online course available to Extension Master Gardeners who want to know more about monitoring and managing EAB.

This free online course,  Emerald Ash Borer Monitoring & Management, is hosted by the National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN), and provides an overview of EAB ecology; empowering learners to effectively detect and manage EAB in their communities.  The entire course takes about 90 minutes to complete and consists of 6 modules which users can take at their own pace.

The course was developed by Virginia Tech’s  Eric Wiseman, Sarah Gugercin, Dave Close, and Heather Boyd, funded by the USDA Forest Service (Forest Health Protection),  and reviewed by Jodie Ellis (Purdue University). When I talked with Sarah Gugercin about how this would be different than the EAB University webinars we blogged about several weeks ago,   Sarah explained that the EAB Monitoring and Management online course is meant to serve as an introduction to EAB, and allows users to interact with the content through quizzes and other interactive course features. The EAB University webinars complement this introductory course because they go into detail about specific issues, and in fact, those that take the online course are referred to EAB University webinars if they are interested in learning more advanced EAB topics.

Virginia Cooperative Extension has approved 1.5 continuing education credits for (Virginia) Extension Master Gardeners taking this course (check the Virginia Tech EAB Online Course website for other organizations that can receive continuing education credits) .   Note to Extension Master Gardeners in other states: You’ll want to be sure to check with your local coordinator to see if this course may apply for continuing education in your state, region, or county.

To learn more about taking this free course, visit the  Virginia Tech EAB Online Course website: or download the CourseAnnouncement flyer.