UC Gardening Blogs
The UC Master Gardener Program is proud to announce that two new UC implicit bias training courses are now available online to UC Master Gardener Program volunteers!
What's implicit bias?
Implicit bias refers to the unconscious short cuts (stereotypes or biases) our brains use when we are confronted with making real-world decisions, according to Jerry Kang, UCLA Vice-Chancellor. “We are all susceptible to automatic cognitive processes that throw our decision making off course,” says Kang.
While biases are normal, they can produce results that are unfair particularly for those who are not members of dominant groups.
To guard against the influence of bias in the interview and appointment processes, the University Office of the President and UC campuses developed resources and guidelines.
- Recommendations for building in enough time to engage in a quality process; Short timelines can increase the likelihood that confirmation or in-group bias will creep in
- Recommendations for using consistent procedures and rubrics for all candidates
- Recommendations that all hiring and selection committee members receive training about implicit bias, the consequence and impact of bias, and strategies for managing and disrupting bias
Training courses help guide new volunteer recruitment
UC Master Gardener volunteers, as agents of the University of California, and with guidance from program coordinators, advisors, and county directors, work to recruit and select new volunteers that perform educational outreach in their communities, sharing research-based information about home horticulture, sustainable landscaping, and integrated pest management.
Now, for the first time, all UC Master Gardener volunteers with recruitment and selection responsibilities will have access to TWO of the same critical training resources as staff and academics.
Training 1: UCLA Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion – Implicit Bias YouTube series
UCLA's implicit bias series consists of seven short videos developed by BruinX, the research and development arm of UCLA's Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. The video series defines and explores terms such as stereotype and schema, discusses the impact that bias can have on decision-making, and proposes countermeasures such as decoupling facts and assumptions.
Consider playing one of these short videos before each of your council, committee, subcommittee, or leadership meetings to build collective understanding of the reality and impact of bias.
The first video, linked below, describes how biases and heuristics can influence our decision-making and behavior without us even knowing it. These videos are free and available on YouTube.
Training 2: UC Managing Implicit Bias Series
The UC Managing Implicit Bias Series is a six-course online training series designed to increase awareness of implicit bias and reduce its impact. Each course is 15-20 minutes in length and covers a topic related to identifying, understanding, and managing the influence of bias. Because vocabulary is built throughout the series, learners are encouraged complete the modules in sequential order.
The UC Managing Implicit Bias Series is accessible to UC employees through their division-specific online UC Learning Center. The series is accessible to UC volunteers through the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) Human Resources website.
Volunteers - please follow the steps below to access the online course. Volunteers attempting to view the UC Managing Implicit Bias Series using other links will be unable to access password-protected online UC Learning Center resources.
For volunteer access to the course:
- Navigate to the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) Human Resources website's Systemwide Talent Management eCourse page.
- Click the name of the course you wish to take. Remember, learners are encouraged to complete the modules in order.
- Use the course controls and menu bar to navigate through all of the course pages. Below you'll find the landing page of the first course, “What is Implicit Bias?”
- Return to the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) Human Resources website's Systemwide Talent Management eCourse page and select the next course.
- Repeat until all six courses in the series are finished.
Consider hosting a session for volunteers involved in the recruitment and selection process. Play one or more of the videos to generate a discussion about reducing bias in volunteer application and interview procedures. The research about implicit bias is clear – awareness is the first step to interrupting and reducing bias in learning and working spaces. Now, volunteers and staff can take that step together.
- Training 1: UCLA Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion – Implicit Bias YouTube series - Contact UCLA Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to request support OR to let the Office know that you are using their resource WeListen@equity.ucla.edu
- Training 2: UC Managing Implicit Bias Series - Contact UC Systemwide Talent Management via their Contact Us page
- Project Implicit - Implicit Associate Test, Harvard University
- Implicit Bias Resources – Working at UC, UC Net
- Scholarship - Implicit Bias, UCLA
- Learn about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - How do I, UC Davis
What's in store this spring? That is exactly the question on PlantRight's mind as the program launches its 9th Annual Spring Retail Nursery Survey. PlantRight's spring survey helps keep a pulse on the sale of invasive plants in California.
The Spring Retail Nursery Survey began in 2009 under the management of the 501(c)3 non-profit Sustainable Conservation. After development of a comprehensive program and eight successful surveys, Sustainable Conservation transferred the management of the PlantRight program to Plant California Alliance in 2019. Plant California Alliance, an association of horticultural industry professionals, is a great fit to host the PlantRight program. Now, under the new leadership, PlantRight is excited to announce that they are re-launching the survey.
The nursery survey has come a long way from its debut year in 2009 when it included 75 stores in 27 counties to its most recent survey in 2017 which included 332 stores in 45 counties. With almost half of all invasive plants in the state being introduced through the horticultural industry, the nursery survey is an important source of information on the prevalence of invasive plants in California's gardens and landscapes. PlantRight looks forward to continuing the legacy of successful data collection.
The survey would not have had the success it has had so far without the hard work of UC Master Gardener volunteers. Each spring, the nursery survey is conducted throughout California through the participation of volunteers from the UC Master Gardener program and a few other conservation groups.
How PlantRight Uses the Data
The information gathered during the survey allow PlantRight to:
- Collaborate effectively with thousands of plant retailers, wholesalers and growers;
- Provide gardeners with information about invasive plants and choosing beautiful non-invasive alternatives for their gardens;
- Inform our strategy, measure our progress, and keep our plant list relevant.
PlantRight works in partnership with the nursery industry and only releases aggregated data that protects the identity of, and data from, the stores that are surveyed.
To view past survey results visit this page.
UC Master Gardener Program counties may offer volunteer and continuing education hours to UC Master Gardener volunteers who participate in the Spring Survey and visit local nurseries to help PlantRight track the availability of invasive plants in California. Check with your local county coordinator to see if your county will be participating this year. Participation in the 2020 Spring Nursery Survey is easy, educational, and fun!
- View a training video online and pass a short quiz
- Download required survey materials (e.g. survey form & plant ID key)
- Sign up to survey a store in their county
- Visit the store and record information about any invasive plants sold
- Submit information to PlantRight
The survey process takes approximately 2.5 hours to complete. Volunteers start by RSVPing to participate on PlantRight's website. When it becomes available, volunteers will be notified and be able to view a training video. once completed, volunteers will take a short quiz and be able to claim nurseries to survey.
Nurseries will become available to claim on PlantRight.org:
- Southern California: Monday, March 9th at noon
- Northern California: Monday, April 6th at noon
Visit PlantRight.org to create an account and register as a volunteer in your region!
PlantRight Program Manager
The statewide office is thrilled to introduce three new Program Coordinators that started with the UC Master Gardener Program in Fall 2019. Please join is in giving them a warm welcome!
Danica Lea Taber
Santa Barbara County
Growing up in Denver, Danica Taber, was in awe of her mom's ability to grow orchids in the arid Colorado climate. In high school Danica experimented with germinating seeds from store-bought produce, and everyone in her family was shocked when a grapefruit seed not only sprouted, but grew into a little plant that flowered!
Danica further explored plant cultivation as a student at CU Boulder by volunteering at the university greenhouses to help care for the phenomenal teaching collection curated by Tom Lemieux and Janice Harvey. When she moved to Santa Barbara in 2012, her growing experience skyrocketed, “I was fortunate enough to serve as the manager for UCSB's research greenhouses and teaching collections. I got a crash course in IPM, and I also began to appreciate how valuable invested volunteers are,” says Danica.
After finishing a Master's programs in environmental science and public affairs at Indiana University, Danica moved back to the area to live with her husband. “The UC Master Gardener Program of Santa Barbara has truly helped me feel at home here. Between the friendly faces, the impassioned conversations about ground squirrels, and the ‘can do, will do' attitude that I see volunteers apply to projects, even as a trainee I felt like I'd hit on a big secret. Gardening grows more than just plants. Gardening grows communities,” said Danica. She looks forward to meeting and supporting Santa Barbara County's UC Master Gardener volunteers in our mission to share science-backed gardening wisdom with members of our communities.
Santa Clara County
Katherine Uhde started as the UC Master Gardener Program Coordinator in Santa Clara County in November 2019. Katherine comes to us from UCCE Alameda County where she was part of the UC CalFresh Healthy Living Program. While there, she led a gardening education program for older adults in partnership with the UC Master Gardener Program of Alameda County. Katherine also holds a Master Gardener Home Horticulture Certificate from Oregon State University Extension.
Katherine is originally from Iowa and earned her B.S. in Kinesiology, Public Health Option from Iowa State University where she studied human nutrition, exercise science, and public health. After graduating, Katherine moved to Kansas where she coordinated regional food access programs and led state-wide farmers' market, food policy, and school health initiatives, including the Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program which served over 5,000 eligible older adults through 19 local agencies and 450 certified farmers. Katherine also managed a weekly farmers' market on the Capitol grounds in Topeka.
“Katherine is passionate about community, policy, systems and environmental changes that are sustainable, protect the environment, and promote healthy lifestyles. We are delighted to have her as part of the UC Master Gardener Program,” says Lucy Diekmann, Urban Agriculture and Food Systems Advisor.
San Francisco & San Mateo
Kali Burke joined as the new Program Coordinator in San Franscisco and San Mateo this past September.
Growing up on the California coast, some of her earliest memories are of time spent in her large family gardens. Having dirt under her nails after a day in the garden still makes her the happiest.
Kali graduated from UC Santa Cruz where she earned a bachelor's degree in Sociology. After graduating, she pursued her interests in food, agriculture, and education. Working with the local farm and garden community for close to 10 years now, she has experience in both the programs and operations sides of small nonprofits.
She considers herself a life-long learner and believes that gardens are a powerful tool for building community, educating the public, and learning more about ourselves and the world around us. She couldn't be more excited to be a part of the UC Master Gardener community!
Established in 1980, the UC Master Gardener Program has been extending UC research-based information about home gardening and pest management to the public for forty years.
Starting in Riverside and Sacramento Counties the program is now in more than 50 counties across California and functions as a volunteer based public service and outreach program under the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), administered locally by participating UC Cooperative Extension county offices.
Without the passion of volunteers, local communities, and support from UC academics the UC Master Gardener Program would not have grown into the extensive educational volunteer network it is today. Last year 6,154 active UC Master Gardener volunteers donated 446,237 hours, and 6.8+ million hours have been donated since the program's inception. Our volunteers are the core of the UC Master Gardener Program and are serving in a way that creates positive change for people, communities and our environment.
40 and Counting
Guided by our mission to extend research-based knowledge, the program is currently focused on three primary impact areas: sustainable landscaping, food gardening and community well-being. Through recently implemented statewide program evaluation and data collection efforts the first ever annual report was published in 2019. “The annual report spotlights volunteer and the impacts they are making in their communities every day,” says Missy Gable, statewide Director, “Our volunteers continue to set us apart. With the continued support and commitment from volunteers, UC, and local communities the program will continue to grow and support gardeners across the state.”
Celebrate with Us!
Join us throughout the year in helping celebrate the 40th year of the UC Master Gardener Program making a difference across California's landscape. This landmark anniversary is being celebrated through the use of the new 40th anniversary logo, events and special recognition throughout the state.
- Anniversary Logo:
Members of the UC Master Gardener community are encouraged to use the 40th Anniversary log on social media pages, email signatures, and in printed materials during the year-long celebration.
- 2020 Statewide Conference:
Volunteers, University of California Academics, and specials guests will be able to celebrate at the triennial Statewide UC Master Gardener Conference, in Lake Tahoe Sept. 28 – Oct. 2, 2020. Special themed commemorative conference pin, apparel, awards dinner and celebrations are being arranged for the conference.
- Photo Contest:
A special photo contest will also be held where everyone can participate and celebrate.
- State and County Recognition:
Proclamations at both the state and local levels will call attention to and recognize the achievement of volunteers and their commitment to the mission and community service.
- #GivingTuesday & Big Dig Day:
UC ANR's 2nd annual Big Dig Day will take place this year on Friday June 5, 2020 and focuses on raising funds to support local county programs or projects. Save-the-Date for #GivingTuesday taking place Dec. 1, 2020 and is primarily a social media movement to show support through volunteering or making a gift.
The holiday season is upon us! As you check off the presents on your shopping list, consider a gift from the garden. Here are some great gift ideas with sprinkles of garden angels in mind for those special gardener's in your life:
Even though poinsettias are tropical plants, they have become synonymous with the winter holiday season. The poinsettia plant (Euphorbia pulcherrima) has both dark green and bright red leaves as well as small clusters of green and yellow flowers.
Seed packets make a great holiday gift because of the large number of varieties available. The gardeners in your life will be able to grow their own vegetables and fruits or have a colorful array of flowers for their spring landscape. Seed packets contain planting instructions and tips that help guide all gardeners from novice to expert.
Jar It Up
Homemade items are always a pleasant addition to gift giving. Fruits can be made into marvelous jams and jellies; vegetables can be pickled or made into relish; nuts can be candied and placed in a jar. Use a piece of burlap and some ribbon for the finishing touches on a beautiful gift.
Be a Garden Angel! Make a card with a handwritten offer to mentor a beginning gardener or an offer to help plant or harvest for a seasoned gardener or a person who loves to garden but may not be able to. This is truly a gift from the heart.
Press or dry flower arrangements from your garden. Pressed flowers look beautiful in a picture frame with a special note, poem, or quote.
Recycled Bird House
Bring out your crafty side and upcycle old material around the house to create a birdhouse. Construction basics are available online along with video tutorials. This gift keeps on giving as it provides seasonal interest and excitement once a bird chooses it as home.
Fill a basket with any bountiful harvest of fruits, vegetables, or flowers from your garden. You can also include seed packets, a Garden Angel card, and jarred goods. This is a fun way to share your enjoyment of your garden with others.
During this holiday season give the gift of garden and share joy, peace, and love on this bountiful time of the year. Wishing you and yours a very Merry Holiday and a Happy New Year!