Colorado Master Gardener 2016 State Conference Recap

Colorado Master Gardeners from around the state gathered together October 3-4 to be entertained, educated and inspired at the first state-wide conference. Lunch and snacks were excellent, too.

After the welcoming remarks by Mary Small, state Master Gardener coordinator, JoAnn Powell, Extension Front Range Regional Director, thanked attendees for their valuable contributions on the 40th anniversary of the Master Gardener Program.

She challenged the group to think about the direction of Master Gardeners for the future. “It takes all of us to make Extension Master Gardeners work well,” she said. “We need to be in touch with our communities, adapt to our communities, and try new things.”

One of those new things included the filming of a Master Gardener promotional video to help increase the program’s visibility in the community.

Here’s a brief recap of the first conference. Hopefully you can join us next year!


The keynote speaker, Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott from the Puyallup Research and Extension Center at Washington State University, signed books and answered questions before the start of the conference. Chalker-Scott is the author of  “How Plants Work” and “The Informed Gardener Blooms Again.” During her two sessions she dispelled myths about common gardening products and practices. She also helped Master Gardeners understand how to apply The CRAP Test to evaluate gardening information.


Master Gardeners in attendance included representatives from all three state regions: Western Region, Peaks and Plains, and the Front Range. In addition to the keynote presentations, attendees could choose breakout sessions on topics such as Taxonomy of Vegetables, Tomato Diagnostics, Insects, Extending the Season, Facts and Fiction about GMOs, Landscape Design, Low-maintenance Perennials, Pesticides, Herbs, Turf, and Advanced Plant Physiology.


Master Gardeners were encouraged to engage with fellow gardeners throughout the day. The social hour was a good excuse to meet and mingle over an impressive assortment of appetizers.


Table talks were a highlight at the end of the first day of the conference. Displays included programs from around the state like Jefferson County’s guidelines for using social media to promote master gardener volunteer programs. Other displays included Denver County’s Anchor Center for Blind Children, Arapahoe County’s work at the Colorado Center for the Blind Legacy Garden, and Pueblo County’s display featuring its Plant Diagnostic Clinic.







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