Posts Tagged ‘sfeawards-special needs audiences projects’

2017 Special Needs 1st Place – Gardening Through Life, Milwaukee & Waukesha Counties, WI

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

GARDENING THROUGH LIFE

Love to garden?  We’ve got the tools.  For many of us, gardening is a weekend warrior activity.  We sit all week at our desks and then don our gloves and grab our shovels and head to the yard with a vengeance, only to pay the price Monday morning.  As we age, it gets harder or we quit all together.  Well there is a better way and gardening does not have to be a “no pain, no gain” hobby.

Introduction

The Lifelong Gardening Committee (LLG) of Southeast Wisconsin Master Gardeners supports and assists UW-Extension in community horticulture programs, and our particular project is to educate the public on principles and methods that will enable you to enjoy gardening throughout your lifetime.  We are continually refining and developing our curriculum with input from research, UW-Extension resources and you, the public who participate in our presentations.  We have grown from an educational tool demonstration to providing interactive displays and presentations.  We think gardening for a lifetime is best accomplished in two ways:  (1) modifying the garden – accessibility and plant selection, and (2) modifying the gardener – techniques and tools.

History and Development

In 2010, a group of Master Gardener volunteers in southeastern Wisconsin received a small donation of adaptive tools and began the Lifelong Gardening Committee, whose focus was primarily ergonomic tools for joint protection and to prevent back injury.  We provided an opportunity to touch and hold and use different tools in various ways.  Our goal was to educate people in ways that allowed them to remain active and continue gardening for their entire lifetime without pain or injury.

Since then, we have greatly expanded our inventory and as additional members joined the Lifelong Gardening Committee with varying backgrounds, knowledge and experience, we expanded our presentations and displays to include information on gardening exercises and body mechanics, enabling tools, plant selection, joint safety, back safety, vertical gardening, and container gardening.  The presentations, displays, and unique hands-on opportunity has been extremely well received.

We encourage feedback from our attendees providing them with a survey form at each presentation.

Some of the comments received include:

“I have so many of these tools and now I know how to use them properly.”

“I learned the importance of standing up straight, reducing stress on the back.”

“I learned of great new tools I did not know existed.”

“I learned I am gardening wrong and I need to make changes in body position, tools, etc.”

Due to the positive responses and success of our project, requests for presentations began to exhaust our time and resources.  In order to meet requests throughout the state, we thought we could best accomplish this by adding the power of technology.  So we created the “Toolbox” to share our knowledge in a way that could be replicated by other master gardeners to present in their counties.

The Toolbox is available to everyone and includes:

  • Lifelong Gardening Mission Statement
  • Basic Information to Enable the Gardener
  • Easy Care Plant Selection for Southeast Wisconsin
  • Gardening Exercises and Body Mechanics
  • Tool Book/Inventory – includes descriptions, features, availability, and approximate cost
  • Tools Recommended Based on Budget
  • Tool Checkout Form (used by the LLG Committee)
  • Survey Form
  • Gardening for Life Video (3-part)
  • PowerPoint Presentations
    • Joint Protection
    • Back Protection
    • Vertical Gardening
    • Container Gardening

LLG Board Displayed at Presentations Panels include information related to:

  • Lifelong Gardening – About Our Mission and Us
  • Member Presentations and Plant Selection
  • Protecting your Back and Joints
  • Using the Proper Tools for the Job
  • Good Advice and Gardening on a Budget
  • Garden Up – Container and Vertical Gardening

 

Next Steps

We are proud of the work we are doing to share our information with the public and other Master Gardeners.  We are currently developing a Train-the-Trainer and Mentoring Program that will be delivered to any Master Gardener Chapters that would like to replicate this project.  We will stay up-to-date on adaptive tools and injury prevention so that we can share this information with gardeners, groups or associations who are interested in lifelong gardening practices.  As additional information or educational needs are identified, we will develop and include that new material in our Toolbox.

We think everyone can benefit from the Toolbox – Open it up – Dig around – See what you can find!
We wish everyone happy, healthy gardening for a lifetime

2015 Search for Excellence Awards – Special Needs — 1st Place Winner

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015
2 Camp Woodchuck at Demo Garden

2 Camp Woodchuck at Demo Garden

Accessible Gardening for Life

Master Gardeners from Sedgwick County in Wichita, Ks have been busy working  with people of all ages and “abilities” teaching them the many benefits of gardening.  Several Master Gardeners built wheelchair height garden beds making gardening more accessible for many.  Some of these beds are on site and are being used in our demo. garden by clients from various agencies.  Some of the special raised beds have been donated to various groups to use at their facilities.   Another master gardener drew up the design plans for these accessible beds and a pamphlet was published so the public could build their own.

What started with a Workshop for Activity Directors entitled Accessible Gardening for Life has led to new opportunities for us to work with a variety of groups and skill levels.  Several times during the spring and summer we work directly with clients from Assisted Living Facilities and Day Programs helping them select, plant and grow flowers and vegetables.  At one of the facilities, we will have a “Tasting Party” with the clients,  sampling the vegetables they have grown.

Master Gardeners are involved in a Community Garden working with developmental and intellectual “differently-abled” adults.  Time in the garden is “hand on learning” for the clients.  We work together teaching them to water, weed, plant and grow a variety of vegetables and flowers.

2015 Search for Excellence Awards – Special Needs — 3rd Place Winner

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

TWICE ON TUESDAY PROGRAM

set up areaThe Sumter County Master Gardeners offer many events and volunteer services to the residents of Sumter County Florida.  One of the most successful is our “Twice on Tuesday” talks offered to the residents of the very active retirement community of The Villages, Florida.  These talks are given at two of the larger recreation centers on the fourth Tuesday of every month.  The topics of the talk’s center on the most asked questions from our plant clinics, held throughout the community.  T on T presentationThe retired residents, of the Villages come from all around the world and are not familiar with the growing conditions here in Central Florida.

Recognizing the need in the community for answers, Master Gardeners of Sumter County developed a program that would provide an opportunity for the busy retirees to gain answers to their many questions.  This program was developed to educate the residents to Florida Friendly Landscaping practices, with topics such as Turf Talk, Palms, Plant this-Not That, Vegetable Gardening in Central Florida, Irrigation, Compost and Mulch presented once a month.T on T audience

2015 Search for Excellence Awards – Special Needs — 3rd Place Winner (tie)

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Project GROW Garden

The Project GROW garden began in 2006 as a small native soil plot within the razor wire confines of the multi county juvenile detention center.  “We do a wide range of counseling and intervention with our residents” said Natalie Landon, COYC Superintendent.  “We hoped getting the kids in the garden with positive Master Gardener role models would complement their rehabilitation efforts.  We had no idea how good this would be for our kids” she said.

Since its’ beginning nine years ago, the garden has been expanded to 2000 square feet including six, 4’ x 12’ handicap accessible raised beds.  “We began with typical produce like lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers so these could be used by the kitchen staff for meals at the center” said Al Burnard, Union County MGV who coordinates the garden project. “But with our increased capacity, the garden now produces nearly 30 varieties of vegetables and fruits for use in house or for donation.”

The springtime garden, June 2015

The springtime garden, June 2015

The residents are involved with nearly every aspect of gardening from planting to harvest and routine garden care.  Many have never stepped foot in a garden and have no idea what vegetables look like or how they grow.  To help bridge this knowledge gap, Burnard developed the Master Gardener Minute, a series of 40 vegetable gardening topics providing basic “how to” gardening information.

Each topic is covered in a one-page format consisting of a photo about the topic and five to six brief bullet points.  The bullet points serve as talking points, enabling the MGV’s to fill in the concepts associated with each topic.  “It only takes a few minutes at the start of each work session to offer a quick, informal overview of a particular gardening subject which really helps the kids learn basic gardening practices” Burnard said.  “We’ve also found the kids are very comfortable asking questions when we encourage learning.”

Beginning the work session with the Master Gardener Minute to learn a bit about gardening.

Beginning the work session with the Master Gardener Minute to learn a bit about gardening.

“Another aspect of the garden that has been valuable to the kids is planting and harvesting vegetables to support our area food pantries” said Betsy Hauck, COYC Program Manager.  “We’ve always donated a portion of our harvest.  The awakening moment for us was when so many of the kids appreciated helping others in need.  Many of their families have needed assistance from their food pantry and so they realized the importance of what they were doing.”

 

“We wanted to make sure the kids knew much of the harvest would go to the food pantries so we became affiliated with the Garden Writers Association’s Plant a Row for the Hungry (PAR) network and added signs and row markers throughout the garden.  We also met with the pantries and asked what we could grow for them” said Landon.  “Their feedback led us to plant asparagus, green beans and strawberries – fresh produce they rarely receive” Landon said.  Since 2013, over 1 ton of fresh produce has been donated to the Marysville and Salvation Army food pantries from the Project GROW garden.

Sharing our harvest with others with over 2000 lbs. donated to food pantries since 2013

Sharing our harvest with others with over 2000 lbs. donated to food pantries since 2013

“It’s always a treat to see the kids trying veggies fresh from the garden and discovering how delightfully good they can be” said Burnard.  “We added a sink and rinsing table in the garden so the kids can sample right there.   We’ll see the feeding frenzy develop when one of the kids samples something they’ve never had before and then tell the others they’ve got to try it too” said Burnard.  “It’s not hard to encourage them to sample strawberries but it’s a hoot to see them get excited about fresh sugar snap peas or sweet peppers” Burnard said.

Enjoying watermelon fresh from the garden!

Enjoying watermelon fresh from the garden!

“While we don’t do a formal assessment of what they’ve learned, we know they are picking up a lot about gardening based upon their questions and the discoveries they’ve made in the garden” said Hauck.  “The kids are always amazed at how fast what they’ve planted germinates and develops, how good it tastes or generally how plants grow.  We’ve had kids who had no idea carrots grew in the ground or that green beans came from something other than a can” Hauck said.  “We also weigh every harvest so the kids see how much they can grow in a backyard garden.”

“Friends and neighbors often ask about our garden at COYC” said Burnard.  “We offered an open house to the public that was attended by nearly 60 people.  The residents served as tour guides, talking about their gardening experience and answering questions.  They really surprised us at how much they had learned in a short period of time.  Needless to say, our visitors were impressed with the garden and especially with the kids” Burnard said.

Project GROW Garden Open House, July 2014

Project GROW Garden Open House, July 2014

“The kids really look forward to being in the garden and are always asking when the Master Gardeners will be back” Landon said.  “Spending time in the garden with good people who don’t judge them has had so many positive benefits.  We just don’t see the flare ups like we did before we started the garden program.  They’ve got a positive outlet.  I just couldn’t imagine us not having this garden for them” Landon said.

 

Written by:  Al Burnard, Union County, Ohio Master Gardener Volunteer

2015 Search for Excellence Winners are Announced!

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Congratulations to the Twenty-one 2015 Search for Excellence Awards winners!IMGC Logo

Search for Excellence (SFE) is the recognition of outstanding projects by Master Gardener volunteers throughout the United States and Canada. These twenty-one awards were presented at the International Master Gardener Conference 2015 (IMGC 2015), Horticultural Horizons in the Heartland.Horticultural Horizons in the Heartland Logo

SFE Awards are presented every two years at the IMGC conference where Master Gardener volunteers, Extension staff and faculty gather to learn from each other, share projects and to network with their peers from around the world. Twenty one Master Gardener programs were recognized for their outstanding achievement from a field of seventy two applications, submissions from twenty six USA states and two Canadian provinces.

First, second and third place awards are presented in seven categories:

• Community Service
• Demonstration Gardens
• Innovative Projects
• Special Needs Audiences
• Research
• Workshop or Presentation
• Youth Programs

All SFE applications must show that significant learning took place. The SFE projects need to be ongoing projects for at least two years; one of the winners this year has been going on for twenty six years. The IMGC Committee judges the applications. Winning projects were chosen on the basis of their originality and creativity; practicality of the program; simplicity of replication by other Master Gardeners and their significant impact on their communities.

First place winners received a plaque and a small stipend to continue their educational projects. The twenty one awarded projects displayed posters of their projects at the IMGC 2015 conference. Congratulations to all the SFE awardees that are involved in these excellent projects.

Beginning next week and continuing over the next several months, this blog will feature stories and pictures from each 2015 Search for Excellence award winners. Watch for the upcoming postings and read about these outstanding projects.

The 2017 SFE awards nominations soon, more information will be found on the 2017 IMGC Webiste.

 

2013 Search for Excellence Award First Place – Special Needs Audience

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

“My Little Green Friends” Horticultural Therapy Program at Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota

The “My Little Green Friends” program is in its 27th year of partnering with Children’s Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota. The program serves hospital patients–generally between the ages of 3 and 20–plus parents, siblings and visiting friends.

Proud Patient in the 'My Little Green Friends Program'

Proud Patient in the ‘My Little Green Friends Program’

Horticultural projects are usually conducted with children on a one-to-one basis in the patient’s room or playroom. There are approximately 35 projects in all, each documented with an activity plan that includes the project purpose, materials needed, and activity procedure, thus assuring consistency among different Master Gardener volunteers, and from year-to-year. A project typically takes 10-15 minutes to complete. Separate projects are designed for children who cannot be exposed to soil.

 

 

 

 

Project examples and learning outcomes include:

  • Houseplant Zoo Various plants with names that suggest an animal (for example, Elephant Bush, Portulacaria afra) are planted and the child chooses a small plastic animal as “protector;” learning about general care of indoor plants.
  • Bulb Garden Daffodil bulbs are planted on a bed of pebbles, learning how bulbs grow and the role of soil in plant growth.
  • Autumn Leaves Making a collage of colorful autumn leaves, learning where leaf color comes from.

Each Master Gardener volunteer must complete the hospital’s volunteer training program on patient interaction, safety and confidentiality. One or two Master Gardeners at a time conduct the projects, twice a week, year round, including holidays.

The goals of the program are twofold: First, provide an enjoyable activity that brightens the atmosphere of what can be a tedious, fearful and painful experience, while giving children a sense of accomplishment. Second, introduce children to plants and plant care in a fun way, laying the foundation for a long-term appreciation for and enjoyment of horticulture.

The project has shown to have a significant impact on patients’ in-hospital emotional well–being. A more concrete measure of the project’s impact is that the hospital has built a rooftop garden for patient relaxation and therapy. Funding is underway for the second phase of the project, including an on-site greenhouse to provide plants for the horticultural therapy program.

Written by: Tom Guettler, Ramsey County Master Gardener Program, University of Minnesota Extension

2013 Search for Excellence Award Winners

Friday, June 27th, 2014
IMG Search for Excellence

International Master Gardener Search for Excellence Awards

On September 7, 2013 twenty one Search for Excellence Awards were presented at the International Master Gardener Conference 2013 (IMGC 2013), Cruise to Alaska Flowers, Fjords & Friends. Search for Excellence (SFE) is the recognition of outstanding projects by Master Gardener volunteers throughout the United States and Canada. 2013 logo for IMGC

SFE Awards are presented every two years at the IMGC conference where Master Gardener volunteers, Extension staff and faculty gather to learn from each other, share projects and to network with their peers from around the world. Twenty one Master Gardener programs were recognized for their outstanding achievement from a field of seventy two applications, submissions from twenty six USA states and two Canadian provinces.

First, second and third place awards were presented in seven categories:

• Community Service
• Demonstration Gardens
• Innovative Projects
• Special Needs Audiences
• Research
• Workshop or Presentation
• Youth Programs

All SFE applications must show that significant learning took place. The SFE projects need to be ongoing projects for at least two years; one of the winners this year has been going on for twenty six years. The IMGC Committee judges the applications. Winning projects were chosen on the basis of their originality and creativity; practicality of the program; simplicity of replication by other Master Gardeners and their significant impact on their communities.

First place winners received a plaque and a small stipend to continue their educational projects. The twenty one awarded projects displayed posters of their projects at the IMGC 2013 conference. Congratulations to all the SFE awardees that are involved in these excellent projects.

Beginning in October and continuing over the next several months, this blog will feature stories and pictures from each 2013 Search for Excellence award winners. Watch for the upcoming postings  and read about these outstanding projects.

The 2015 SFE awards nominations will begin in September – to apply follow the links.

Written by: Patty Driscoll, 2013 SFE Chair

Search for Excellence Award Blog Posts (Listing by Project Category)

Monday, February 6th, 2012
IMG Search for Excellence

International Master Gardener Search for Excellence Awards

In early November, Monica David, the 2011 IMGC vice president, announced we would be sharing 18 blog posts about each of the Extension Master Gardener volunteer projects that received a 2011 International Search For Excellence Award. These projects were awarded among six project categories during the 2011 International Master Gardener Conference.

Blog Posts Created New National Recognition and Discussion Opportunities

This year, blogging about these award winning projects helped bring new recognition and understanding of the value of Extension Master Gardener volunteers through pageviews on this blog, shares through our Facebook page, and retweets on Twitter.

Many of these projects received kudos in the blog’s comments section and created opportunities for Extension Master Gardeners from different states to discuss and learn about how local programs are participating in similar or different ways across the United States. To make these blog posts easier to access and find by category, we’ve grouped the 2011 International Master Gardener Search For Excellence award winning blog posts by project category and listed them for you below.

As you work toward new volunteer projects this year, you may want to take another glimpse at these posts, share these with a friend, or perhaps add your insights to the comments sections for a particular project that applies or resonates most with you….or (hint, hint) perhaps these posts will encourage your local program to submit an application for the 2013 International Master Gardener Search for Excellence Awards!

Blog Posts by Project Award Category

Workshop attendees learn how to properly construct their own rain barrels in Macon, County Iowa

The next International Master Gardener Conference and Search for Excellence Awards will take place in 2013.  For more information on the next International Master Gardener conference, see the IMGC 2013 Website or Facebook page.

Karen Jeannette
eXtension Consumer Horticulture Content Coordinator

2011 Search for Excellence Special Needs Audiences Award Winner- 3rd place

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Cookeville Regional Medical Center Healing Garden- Putnam County, Tennessee

An overview of the Cookeville Regional Medical Center Healing Garden.

In January of 2008, The Putman County Master Gardeners began work on the transformation of an unfinished drainage area between two Cookeville Regional Medical Center buildings into a beautiful four-season garden that can be enjoyed by patients and visitors. The group of Master Gardeners selected the spot specifically for its visibility. Not only do 47 patient rooms and 4 visitor areas now overlook the garden, but the garden is visible through the large, ground level windows for patients receiving chemotherapy. The Master Gardeners also designed a multi-story mural for a blank wall to extend beyond the garden that was painted with help from the community. Also, stepping stone paths were designed and were crafted and personalized by community members and hospital staff in remembrance of those with cancer.

2011 Search for Excellence Special Needs Audiences Award Winner- 2nd place

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Therapeutic Horticulture Program at Brooke Grove Retirement Village Assisted Living- Montgomery County, Maryland

Master Gardeners visit Brooke Grove Retirement Village Assisted Living residents once a month. The goal of their visits is to provide a life-enriching, sensory-stimulating, group experience for these residents through hands-on garden and nature-related activities with educational opportunities.

Many of the residents here are memory-impaired with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Some also have limited mobility, fine and gross motor skill deficits, and/or sensory deficits. Yet, all are able to participate in and benefit from these programs.

A Master Gardener teaches a Brooke Grove resident how to do floral arranging.

Sample projects include:
Butterflies –discussion of butterfly life cycle, and making of small arrangements of butterfly-attracting  flowers
Salad Box Gardening – planting of seeds and seedlings, watering and harvesting of greens
Apples – discussion of different kind s of apples, tasting, and apple print-making
Winter Evergreens – discussion of characteristics, and making of holiday centerpieces

 

Projects are adapted to what residents can do giving each a feeling of being successful, useful and productive. Stimulation is provided for all senses. When sensory deficits are present, strengths are drawn from, i.e. when vision is impaired the sense of smell or touch is stimulated. Plant materials for the programs are obtained from the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden and Master Gardeners’ home gardens. Recyclables are used for containers whenever possible.

Residents have shown great delight in hearing about and working with fresh flowers and natural materials. Those who can remember have commented over and over how they look forward to this, their favorite activity. (For most, this is their only direct contact with nature.) Positive social interactions among group members are frequently observed, and attendance has increased from 12 to almost 30 residents due to the successful engagement of participants and the enjoyment expressed by them.

Written by JoAnn Mueller, Montgomery County, MD  Master Gardener

To learn more about the Montgomery County Master Gardener visit their webpage at http://mastergardener.umd.edu/local/Montgomery/index.cfm