Biweekly Update – August 10, 2021

New Announcements:

1.    Registration deadline August 20 – International Master Gardener Conference, 2021 (REGISTRATION WILL NOT REOPEN FOR RECORDINGS)

a.    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:

2.    UPDATED COVID GUIDANCE – Effective August 10, 2021, all individuals at all Virginia Tech and VCE associated facilities located in areas of substantial or high transmission are required to wear a mask in indoor public spaces.  These areas include lobbies, foyers, atriums, hallways, and elevators accessible to the general public.  This mask requirement does not apply to private work spaces, such as an office, work area, or employment meeting space that is not open to the public in the normal course of business. Please review the new COVID-19 Guidance and 4-H In-person Guidance.

3.    EMG Webinar Series: Virginia Natural Heritage Program with Tyler Urgo – Aug 19, 2021 10:00 am

a.    Join Tyler Urgo, the Shenandoah Valley Regional Steward for the Virginia Natural Heritage Program for our upcoming August EMG Webinar. He will share how this program is conserving Virginia's biodiversity through inventory, protection, and stewardship.

b.    Register in advance for this meeting:  

4.    2021 Greater Tomato Contest – August 14, 2021 Prince George Farmers Market: Join the Prince George Master Gardeners for our annual Greater Tomato Contest. More info

5.    Birds in Your Virginia Landscape – August 17, Farmstead Pavilion Northern Fauquier Community Park, Marshall, VA: Join Dr. Robyn Puffenbarger to enhance your Virginia bird watching! Robyn will introduce a number of species you can expect to see in a Virginia suburban landscape and cover topics including population variation based on migration patterns. She will also give you ways to welcome birds safely to your space. Master Gardener Assoc. of Fauquier & Rappahannock Counties. More info.

6.    Native Plant Program and Sale – September 4, 2021 – Farmstead Pavilion, Northern Fauquier Community Park, 4155 Monroe Parkway, Marshall, VA: Join the Master Gardener Association of Fauquier and Rappahannock Counties for our Fall 2021 Native Plant Program and Sale. This sale will focus primarily on woody plants, but also include some perennials.   More info here.

a.    September 4 10-12noon Email your RSVP to:

b.    10:00 am Speaker: Dr. Iara Lacher holds degrees in Botany, Environmental Science and Management, and Ecology. Advocating for native plants for nearly twenty years, she is also established in conservation and planning circles. 11:00 am Plant Sale – Browse plants provided by Piedmont Nursery and Seven Bends Nursery. Delivery of pre-orders.

7.    Preserving Your Bounty – Growing Your Own Food Series – Zoom, September 21, 6 pm: Becky Gartner, B.S. Home Economics Education, Virginia Tech; M.S. Human Nutrition and Foods, Virginia Tech. Register: at: The final session, in the series, will cover the preservation of the bounty from your garden. An overview of food preservation methods, from drying to pressure cooking, including the plusses and minuses of each. Becky will also cover the different equipment used for each method, and the trusted sources for the equipment. Food safety protocols and standards are emphasized to assure the enjoyment of the food. More info.

8.    Registration open for the Mid-Atlantic Urban Agriculture Summit – October 12-14, 2021

a.    On behalf of the planning committee for the Mid-Atlantic Urban Agriculture Summit (formerly known as the Virginia Ag Summit), I’d like to invite you to attend the summit that will be held virtually on October 12-14, 2021. Registration is now open. Please see the link: We’re currently accepting abstracts for poster, oral and panel presentations, as well, so if you you’d like to participate, you can submit the abstract here: Finally, we’d appreciate helping to spread the word about this opportunity.

Old August Announcements

9.    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

10. 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:

11. 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.

12. 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


13. 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

14. 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:

15. 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!

16. 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

17. 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

Posted in biweekly update.

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