Biweekly Update – July 15, 2021

New Announcements:

1.    The Extension Master Gardener State Office is conducting a research study to identify factors that characterize successful EMG groups. This study will allow us to better understand EMG priorities, recommend best practices, and potentially increase long-term volunteer retention. We expect to share the information gathered across Virginia and with other EMG programs throughout the country. Your thoughtful responses and input are valuable and we hope you personally will participate in this survey. It should take no more than 15 minutes to complete. Closes August 13. Take the survey here

2.    International Master Gardener Conference, 2021: REGISTRATION OPEN NOW, (REGISTRATION WILL NOT REOPEN FOR RECORDINGS) IMGC 2021 is now open for registration! Since we are hosting IMGC, there will be no state Master Gardener College for 2021—register for IMGC instead! We are excited to bring you more than 40 different VIRTUAL sessions, expert panels, and fun conference bonuses (like Virginia themed recipes and virtual tours). To learn more and register:

a.    View the full program here:

b.    If you plan to attend IMGC, please register as early as possible! Registration is now open to the public.

c.    Be aware that IMGC registration will NOT REOPEN for access to recordings only. If you want access to conference recordings, REGISTER NOW.

3.    Gardening Ergonomic – a Zoom presentation – August 16th 7PM

a.    Dr. Natalie Foret, PT, DPT, MTC, CMTPT Join Dr. Natalie Foret, for an educational seminar about gardening ergonomics. For all scenarios in the garden, she will discuss proper form and proper use of body mechanics to protect back, knees, hips, shoulders. In addition, she will review considerations on how to modify to improve ease with gardening and techniques for those who already have an issue or pain. Lastly Dr. Foret will make exercise recommendations for building a stronger core and stretches to improve mobility. To access the Zoom link go to

4.    Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Grant – The Virginia Department of Forestry's Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Grant RFP has recently been released. This grant is designed to encourage projects that promote the protection and enhancement of urban and community forestry ecosystems, tree planting, tree care, and education on tree issues. It is open to municipalities, state agencies, approved non-profit organizations, neighborhood associations, civic groups, public educational institutions, or community tree volunteer groups. Please note that there are two new categories this year: Storm Readiness, Response, and Recovery Program Development, and Outdoor Classrooms. Applications are being accepted through 4:30PM on Friday, August 20, 2021. RFP, application, and budget worksheet on website here:

5.    Recording Available of Douglas Tallamy Presentation If you missed the Piedmont Master Gardeners' June 3 presentation by Professor Douglas Tallamy on the subject of his latest book, The Nature of Oaks, a recording is now available on PMG’s website, For the ticket price of $15, purchasers will receive an email message with a link to the recording and the password for viewing it. With his previous books, Bringing Nature Home and Nature’s Best Hope, Prof. Tallamy has made home gardeners aware of the importance of native plants in sustaining wildlife and healthy ecosystems. In his latest work, and in this presentation, Tallamy explains that oak trees stand out among native flora as keystone plants and support more forms of life than any other tree genus in North America.

6.    Have you ever found a typo in the training handbook? – We are embarking on a handbook update process and need help identifying existing errors in the handbook! If you've ever noticed a typo, error, or other mistake in the training handbook, please let us know! Submit your typos, errors, or other corrections here:


Old July Announcements

7.    Lawn and Garden Q & A, July 16, August 20, 10am-11am 2021, Zoom

a.    Join VCE Horticulture Agent Guy Mussey for an informal Lawn and Garden Question and Answer session live via Zoom. Bring your lawn woes, problem plants, and pests to an expert every third Friday, May thru August. Register here:



Old Announcements


8.    Updated COVID restrictions – The State Office has received questions recently about changes to COVID policies for programming. VCE has updated their guidelines and has posted them to the VCE COVID-19 updates page under 'policies and guidelines'

9.    Support IMGC 2021: There are many ways you can show support for Virginia’s International Master Gardener Conference and help it be successful:

a.    Registering for the conference! Come join us in September, we look forward to seeing many familiar faces, even in this virtual setting

b.    Sharing the IMGC Facebook page ( with your network

c.     Telling other interested gardeners about the event! Our conference is open to members of the public as well as Extension Master Gardeners. IMGC is great way to expose gardeners to the Master Gardener Program!

10. Help scientists! Monitor for disease in your vegetable garden: Do you have a vegetable garden?! Scientists NEED your help to accurately predict the spread of downy mildew. By contributing to this project, you can help Extension researchers advise farmers so that they do not experience crop losses, and so they know when fungicide applications are warranted. Monitoring the spread of plant disease takes all of us working together!!

d.    Downy mildew of cucumber and other cucurbits (cucumber is the most important crop to monitor!)

e.    Downy mildew of basil

11. Better Impact: Important information for you to know as we launch BI: 

a.    We’ve created a helpful video to walk you through the basic use of the system. It’s only 30 minutes long, so please watch it before you use the new system:

b.    Between the training document here and the video linked above, you should have the information you need to get started in Better Impact! Your unit may have additional instructions and training for you, so please watch for communications from your program leads. They have been hard at work behind the scenes getting things ready to go!

c.     If you have questions as you navigate this new system, please contact your local volunteer coordinator or Extension Agent.


Other Announcements:

1.    Send us your announcements! Have you converted educational programs to an online format? You can still submit those announcements for the biweekly email! Submit an item for the biweekly update here.

2.    Follow the State Office on social media: Facebook | Instagram | YouTube

3.    Subscribe to In Season, our quarterly newsletter

4.    View our most recent webinar

a.    View a recording of our most recent state office webinar – Jamie King on urban forestry


5.     Resources for fertilization of lawns and for those involved with Healthy Virginia Lawns programming  

6.    Do you have questions coming in to your Extension Master Gardener program and need to find some answers? Extension Search Resources for EMG Questions