Senior Extension Associate
167 Plant Science
I coordinate the Cornell Cooperative Extension's county network of community horticulture educators and Master Gardener Volunteers to connect with the 7 million gardening households in New York State. My goals are to advance environmental and scientific literacy, build community, promote human well-being and achieve other societal goals by creating opportunities for successful gardening experiences.
Through Citizen Science in Horticulture projects I address garden-related research questions by tapping the knowledge and enthusiasm of Cooperative Extension educators, Master Gardener Volunteers and some of the more than 90 million North American gardeners.
Through Cornell Cooperative Extension’s county network nearly 100 horticulture/environmental educators and their more than 2,000 program volunteers, Cornell University has a tremendous opportunity to meet societal needs by connecting with some of the 6 million New York State (NYS) households engaging in garden related activities. The documented benefits of gardening include enhanced life-long learning, environmental/scientific literacy, human well-being, social integration and community building. These and the many other benefits of gardening are maximized when success is achieved. Using best practices grounded in research-based knowledge is critical to success. Our Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) network is uniquely position to provide this valuable information to many gardening audiences. Our NYS Master Gardener Volunteers (MGV) alone spend more than 100,000 hours each year working in county horticulture programs. Supporting this networking of multipliers and peer educators is a priority as I lead adult and family education in Cornell Garden-Based Learning program. By creating professional development opportunities for CCE horticulture educators, MGV and other community horticulture and environmental volunteers including Master Composters and Environmental Stewards, I aim to connect them with research-based knowledge, emerging issues as well as Cornell University's faculty, staff, departments and programs. My work results in several thousand direct contact hours with these supporting stakeholders each year as I coordinate program work team meetings, campus and regional trainings, conferences, web-based forums and resources, e-newsletters, the Horticulture Resource Library, volunteer training resources and small group or one-on-one discussions. A public Internet presence also serves to provide all audiences easy access to research-based knowledge. Moreover, web-based Citizen Science in Horticulture projects provide an opportunity for CCE multipliers and gardeners across NYS, North America and beyond to connect with each other while also helping Cornell University scientists address research questions of concern to gardeners and sustainability in residential environments. The web-based citizen science project Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners (vegvariety.cce.cornell.edu) annually receives over 100,000 unique visitors and has over 6,000 registered participants from across North America. Programming success and future direction of adult and family education in Cornell Garden-Based Learning program is informed primarily through dialogue with CCE county educators, volunteers and gardeners as well as by connecting with colleagues throughout the nation via eXtension Community of Practices, Northeast Community IPM working group and other professional organizations and gatherings.
I work to provide undergraduate and graduate students with opportunities to connect with Cornell Cooperative Extension's county network of community horticulture educators and Master Gardener Volunteers through independent study projects.