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Posts Tagged: volunteer

Announcing the 40th Anniversary UC Master Gardener Photo Contest Winners!!

The UC Master Gardener Program is pleased to announce the winners of the 40th Anniversary UC Master Gardener Photo Contest.  Thank you for helping tell our story by submitting over 480 photos and to all the people who voted.

 People's Choice”  Winners
1st - “Lettuce Grow”, My Thanh Kim, San Diego County

2nd - “Early Head Start Students”, Marti Lindsey, Los Angeles County

3rd - “Stairway to a Heavenly Garden”, Leora Worthington, Monterey County


First, Second and Third place winners were notified by email and will receive prizes and be showcased on the statewide UC Master Gardener Program website, UC ANR Repository, UC Master Gardener social media channels, program marketing materials and the 2019 annual report. Winners will also be recognized by having their photo displayed in a gallery at the 2020 UC Master Gardener Program statewide conference. 


Thank You for your Support
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Photo Contest! The gallery of submitted photos represents what it means to be a UC Master Gardener. The photos will be used to communicate our impact, message and mission through the use of imagery. 

Together we are making a difference!


Honorable Mention
4th - “Kids+tools= Cool School Garden”, My Thanh Kim, San Diego County

5th - “Drip Irrigation or Dripping in Paint”, My Thanh Kim, San Diego County

6th - “Queen Bee surrounded by her Entourage at the Master Gardener booth, Amador County Fair”, Betty Olson-Jones, Amador County

7th “Master Gardener Butterfly Garden (Alice Keck Memorial Garden Santa Barbara)”, Karen Twibell, Santa Barbara County

8th - “MG Coordinator, Maggie O'Neill is also a cake decorator! Celebrating Volunteers”, Robin Rowe, San Bernardino County

9th - “Future UC Master Gardener!”, Lauren Snowden, Yuba-Sutter Counties

10th - “Working Together for better gardens”, Julie Enberg


Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 at 11:51 AM
  • Author: Donna Valadez
Focus Area Tags: Yard & Garden

Happy National Volunteer Week

It is National Volunteer Week and we're reaching out to honor each and every UC Master Gardener volunteer past and present for their incredible work and generosity. Every part of our mission is possible because of dedicated UC Master Gardener volunteers. 
Thank you to for being agents of change in your communities, for connecting people to research, for protecting our environment, for connecting people to nature, and for so much more.
To help us celebrate this week, we invite you to share your stories about volunteering on Facebook and Twitter. Follow us at @UCMasterGardeners, so we have an opportunity to celebrate you and thank you for your generosity, for your commitment, and for your passion.  
Happy National Volunteer Week!


Posted on Thursday, April 4, 2019 at 2:57 PM

Volunteer Insurance Coverage for Master Gardeners


Reappointment is now complete - along with digitally signing the appropriate documents to continue as a University of California Master Gardener you may have also heard about a fee for insurance.

Hartford Accident and Injury insurance acts as a secondary insurance and covers up to $10,000 of personal expenses tied to an injury sustained while serving as a Master Gardener. For example, if injured while serving as a volunteer, you would first allow your primary insurance to take effect and file a claim with Hartford for any out-of-pocket expenses, such as a co-pay. In the event that an injury is sustained by a volunteer who does not have primary medical insurance, a Hartford claim may be filed but the policy limit remains at $10,000.

Hartford insurance is for personal injury only and does not cover property damage, liability, or injury to any non-volunteer parties.

A separate Automobile Liability insurance covers volunteers acting in official capacity. Volunteers must confirm through an annual agreement that they meet UC minimum insurance requirements, commonly referred to as “50/100/50” and have a valid driver's license in order to qualify for this coverage.

This is often confusing for volunteers as fees for the Hartford Accident and Injury insurance are collected at reappointment time when volunteers identify whether they will drive on behalf of the University and are asked specifically about their vehicle insurance coverage. By opting not to drive for the University , volunteers are not exempt from needing Hartford Accident and Injury coverage.

Whether you are asked to pay the fee individually or the county program finances the fee for the group at large, every UC Master Gardener volunteer must be covered under the Hartford Accident and Injury Insurance.

For more information about Hartford insurance or to download a claim form click here.

Posted on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 9:50 AM
  • Author: Aubrey Bray
Tags: Hartford (1), Insurance (1), Master Gardener (32), Volunteer (3)

Happy New (Program) Year!

Happy New Year!  I’m sure I’m not the first to welcome you to a new program year for Master Gardener programs statewide, but am I am pleased to share with you some exciting news from this past year now that the dust of recertification has settled.  Program Year 2012-1013 was a busy one for California Master Gardeners, as I’m sure you’ll see for yourself from the numbers below!  Last July 1st marked the first time all 45 Master Gardener programs recertified at the same time of the year, and since then we’ve been going like gang busters! Just check out some of the amazing things that UC Master Gardeners did in the last year!

Program rosters now tell us that statewide we have 5,404 volunteers who dedicate themselves to extending UC research-based home horticulture information to the public.  Programs range in size from fourteen to over three hundred Master Gardeners, but the thing they all have in common is their passion for horticulture and the desire to not only learn more, but share what they learn with other Californians.  From July 1, 2012-June 30, 2013 UC MGs donated over 348,132 volunteer hours to their respective communities.  If we want to think about this monetarily (and who doesn’t?!), the value of this time to UC ANR comes in at over $8.6 million!* Another way to think of it, is to compare these hours to current resources UCCE has at its disposal.  As of this last year the University of California Cooperative Extension had  171 advisors listed in the directory that were categorized as specializing in “Plant Commodities or Products” –only forty of which specialized in “Ornamental Plants, Landscape, and Turf”. When we compare the staggering number of volunteer hours, we find that this figure equates to approximately 180 full time employees** for the University of California.   In effect, with the Master Gardener program in place, we more than double our “staff” available to answer plant and pest-related queries from the public and provide that invaluable arm of extension by connecting California residents with UC research.

Mary Lou Flint leads a group of MGs through an exercise at the UC IPM Advanced Training in Stockton. Photo credit: Marcy Sousa.

Volunteering for their communities is not the only way UC Master Gardeners spend their time, however. Last year over 76,480 hours were logged in continuing education as Master Gardeners worked to keep themselves informed about new or advanced horticultural topics and trends.   In addition to presentations and workshops presented at the local program level, the Statewide Master Gardener Program hosted six 2-day regional trainings on Edible Landscaping and four regional workshops on Advanced Citrus and Avocado Care (including special focus on new citrus threat, Asian Citrus Psyllid).   The Statewide UC IPM program also hosted opportunities for Master Gardeners to expand their knowledge of home and garden pests and treatment options via three regional Advanced IPM trainings.

The volunteers aren’t the only ones putting in the hours, though!  The Statewide Master Gardener Program has also been hard at work this year working to support and provide developmental opportunities for the 45 Master Gardener programs around the state.  One of the most exciting ways we were able to offer support in the last year and moving forward was a grant opportunity for programs to seek partial or full funding for a Program Representative (local MG coordinator) position starting July 1, 2013 and continuing through June of 2015. Many applications were submitted and in total the grant funded  19 county-based positions, including one brand new program that will take shape in the Lassen, Sierra, and Plumas counties.   In order to aid programs in continued development, the Statewide Master Gardener Program also hosted 13 webinars and a two-day training for Program Coordinators, ranging in topics from best practices for Social Media to Volunteer Recognition.   In November 2012 the Statewide Program also hosted the first ever Volunteer Leadership Summit, in which we invited each program to send a Master Gardener volunteer who was directly involved with the leadership of the local program to attend a day-long training on Middle Management topics and provide an opportunity for networking across counties.  

Advisor Ellie Rilla presents on ways to build community within your program at the Volunteer Leadership Summit.

It certainly has been a year of many triumphs for the UC Master Gardener Program.  Thank you for the time and effort that you put into this program.  We are continually astounded by the work that is accomplished by California Master Gardeners and feel extremely lucky to work with such talented and selfless individuals. We look forward to another incredibly successful year and can’t wait to chart the leaps and bounds we are sure to take statewide this year! 

*Value of volunteer time found by using Independent Sector estimate of $24.75/hour in California. Find current rate at:

** assumes 1928 working hours per year.

Posted on Monday, July 15, 2013 at 9:32 AM
  • Author: Aubrey Bray

Volunteer Leadership Summit- November 9th

The Volunteer Leadership Summit is the first ever leadership training designed for California Master Gardener volunteers. At this free one-day workshop participants will hear from a range of speakers and be challenged to engage in the larger Master Gardener community by networking with their peers from across the state. The workshop will be held November 9, 2012 at the UC Davis Campus.

The idea for this conference was actually introduced by a volunteer earlier this year. She had noticed that other volunteer organizations have trainings and conferences specifically towards making better leaders out of their volunteers and requested that the Statewide Master Gardener Program do the same.  We quickly recognized what a powerful tool this could be and set to work creating a program. At the workshop, participants will hear from Associate Director of UC Cooperative Extension, Bill Frost; discuss the importance and process of building community within their programs from Ellie Rilla, and hear from select volunteers from diverse programs throughout the state during our panel talk. Participants will also explore ideas for program and board structure, meeting facilitation, and the nitty gritty on financial policies. Breakfast refreshments and lunch will be provided.

Unfortunately, to stay within fire code and to make the workshop as interactive and meaningful to participants as possible each program may select one volunteer to attend. For more information and access to registration please contact your local coordinator.  

UPDATE: Thanks for those who commented, to remind me to say that we will be recording the day's session for those who are unable to make it and would like to see it later! It will not be a live webinar because the logistics of audience participation and such via Adobe Connect and teleconference would be nearly imposible, however the DVD of the taped session will be available to all counties.

Posted on Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 2:31 PM
  • Author: Aubrey Bray
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